Why cybersecurity awareness training is crucial

Why cybersecurity awareness training is crucial

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Information security is usually perceived as being a technology problem, a responsibility of the IT department that no one else in the organization need bother with. It’s perhaps this common belief that’s the single biggest reason why cybercrime is constantly on the rise.

Another common misconception is that cybercrime is all about hacking. In fact, most cybercriminals aren’t even hackers at all, and chances are, they’re not as high-tech as Hollywood movies make them out to be. The truth is, a lot of the tools and techniques are readily available on the dark web, making many of the most successful cybersecurity threats to your business easy to perform, especially when cybercriminals know that they can prey on unwitting targets.

Humans are the weakest link

Most attacks exploit human ignorance and trust, simply because the easiest way to spread malicious software is through a social engineering attack. These are either carried out en masse or launched against a well-chosen singular target to dupe victims into taking a desired action.

While technology solutions like multifactor authentication (MFA) and data loss prevention can mitigate risks presented by social engineering attacks, employees are the first and last line of defense. If your employees can’t immediately recognize the average phishing scam, then it’s just a matter of time before they have their login credentials or other sensitive company data stolen.

Most of us can recognize some of the more obvious phishing scams, such as those writing in terrible English, making absurdly lofty claims, or blatantly asking for sensitive information or even money transfers outright. The spam filters built into email platforms tend to take care of those, and few ever make it to your inbox. The bigger problem is the ones targeting specific organizations or individuals in those organizations.

These so-called spea -phishing scams may occur over email, social media, SMS, or over the phone. Scammers usually masquerade as fellow colleagues, company executives, or other high-ranking business stakeholders or partners, and demonstrate knowledge about the intended victim to win their trust. The scammers will then create a sense of urgency to force the victim to click on a dangerous link, download malware, or give away sensitive information without critically analyzing the source. These scams are incredibly effective to the untrained eye, and they’re the sort of threats you should be preparing employees for.

Taking training to the top level

Cybersecurity training should teach employees to have a healthy dose of skepticism with every website, link, and email attachment. No trustworthy organization will ever ask for sensitive information over email. If their employees do see these messages in their inbox, they should know to closely examine the sender’s email address and make sure it’s not a spoof of a legitimate company. In addition to phishing scams, a lesson on setting long, complex, and unique passwords should be a vital part of your training curriculum.

A great approach to security training is simulating phishing scams and other real-world attacks. You can also add gamification into the mix to make it more fun and engaging, as well as increasing the chances people will take the lessons to heart.

Keep in mind that security awareness training isn’t supposed to be limited to particular groups or departments, it’s something everyone should be involved with. In fact, executives are easily the most attractive targets of all, so they certainly can’t afford to take their ranks and skills for granted. They’re also the ones tasked with choosing and implementing new software and onboarding new employees, hence the even greater need for them to be included.

With frequent cybersecurity training, you can transform your employees from the weakest link into a formidable force against the rising tide of social engineering-driven cybercrime. You’ll also be able to reduce instances of human errors, such as unintended disclosures and improper disposals and deletions.

Quicktech helps small- to medium-sized businesses in Vancouver defend against the latest threats with expertly managed cybersecurity tools and professional guidance. Call us today to find out how you can keep your business safe and sound.

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