Businesses have quickly switched to allowing employees to work from home. Making their networks more vulnerable now than ever before. Businesses no longer need to be high profile to attract cybercriminals. If your company uses technology to collect data of any kind, that information is worth something, and criminals are willing to find out how much!
You might be thinking to yourself, my company has always made cybersecurity a top priority. That is fantastic news! You are ahead of the curve. However, how conscious are your employees about cyber threats? With more questions than answers out in the world right now, criminals are taking this opportunity to exploit the chaos and gain access to your network through fear. The simplest of interactions with technology can leave your systems vulnerable, making cyber awareness training a must for all businesses!
The importance of cyber awareness training
The key to preventing a breach is making sure that all employees, with access to your computer network, have cyber awareness training. Everyone should understand the risk the company is at every time they click a link or go to an unsecured website. According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Invitations Report, there have already been 407 incidents related to small businesses (fewer than 1,000 employees) this year. Of those breaches, 70% was due to human error.
Training helps to identify commonly used tactics and red flags that every employee should be aware of before using your network. Cybercriminals are getting smarter, using web applications to steal credentials and creating targeted attacks called social engineering to trick employees into a false sense of security. This is the most common way they gain access. Having a solid IT policy in place paired with routine training will make IT best practices front of mind when presented with one of these attacks.
At Endsight, we know avoiding accidents before they happen is your best line of defense. To aid in this effort, we offer free training to our clients, but we highly suggest our clients do not stop there. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect! We recommend implementing programs that test your employee’s skills throughout the year. We use a program that sends emails that look like those cybercriminals would send. This creates a safe environment. It shows how easy it is to fall for social engineering schemes without the damage of an actual security breach thus, allowing them to learn from their mistakes.
First steps to cybersecurity countermeasures
Cybersecurity countermeasures do not stop at installing security software. Instead, it is a balancing act between education and practice. Think of cyber awareness training, like learning how to drive. Before getting behind the wheel, you needed to understand the essential functions of a car and the laws you must follow. Having the same set of rules for everyone on the road makes it easier to avoid dangerous situations. Understanding the fundamentals of cybersecurity countermeasures diminishes the likely hood of making mistakes, which in turn empowers your staff, and keeps your network safe.
The security of your company is everyone’s responsibility. It may sound daunting, but just knowing what good password hygiene looks like, how to verify an email, and if you have secured your devices correctly, improves your network security.
These three areas of cybersecurity seem straightforward, but employees overlook them frequently. Take password security; it is the first level of defense for all programs. However, most employees will pick an easy to remember password over a strong password, especially if they are required to enter it multiple times throughout the day. Their actions are not malicious but could have catastrophic backlash if a breach were to occur.
To make follow through on cybersecurity process more likely, employees should learn why cybersecurity rules are required and how not following them can affect the company. One simple takeaway from a recent cybersecurity presentation we conducted for a client is that anytime you get up from your workstation, you need to lock your computer, even if you are the only one in the room. Why? Doing the same action repeatedly makes it a habit, and cybersecurity needs to be a habit!
The media has made hackers out to be geniuses that can break into any computer, but cybercriminals are just opportunists. Imagine your coworker decided to do some work from a coffee shop. The barista calls out their order. It will only take a few seconds to get from their table to the counter and back, why lock the laptop? In the time it takes to get to the bar, a criminal can grab the computer and runoff. It is much easier to wipe and reset a computer if they do not have to log in to the user. Sure, locked laptops are stolen all the time, but they are less desirable than ones that are unlocked. If a criminal must pick between the two, they will pick easy over difficult every time.
Cyber awareness training is an investment
A simple mistake like clicking a wrong link, downloading a corrupt document, or just trusting the wrong person can harm your business. The damages may cause clients and prospects to move their business to your competitors, or worse, you could get ransomed or fined to the point of bankruptcy. There are also several laws in place, such as the CCPA, that wield hefty fines for companies that cannot prove they have taken all reasonable steps to protect data.
By offering annual employee training and working closely with your IT provider, you are actively taking a well-rounded approach to IT security. You are also showing clients that you understand how valuable their information is and are willing to spend time educating your employees—providing peace of mind that you are doing everything in your power to avoid a breach. So, working with a third-party service on this is worth it.
To guarantee you are setting your business up for success, provide training for your staff before it is too late. An IT support provider who takes security seriously should be able to help with this. Not all IT support is created equal, and “just fine” is not going to cut it anymore. Your IT provider should be actively helping you improve your IT security in relation to both your hardware and your employees! Most cybersecurity training programs are not free but paying a small fee now can save your company a fortune in the end. Please contact us for recommendations on training resources or if you would like to learn more about our services.