A robust cyber security awareness program can be the best line of defence against hackers. This is because the large majority of security breaches are related to employee error. In this article we discuss what a cyber security program is, why they are necessary and what an effective cyber security program looks like.
What is a Cyber Security Training Program?
A cyber-security training program is any form of training that is implemented in an institution in order to educate the employee's on cyber awareness, threats and how to conduct themselves online in a workplace environment.
Why Do Cyber-Security Awareness Training?
The purpose of a cyber SAT program is to educate employee's on the risks of using the internet. The majority, and further increasing jobs in the modern era involve some level of computer competency.
However, there is a danger here that these employee's are not adequately trained on the risks surrounding internet use, and the potential damage both monetarily and to the companies reputation, that they could cause to their business.
Therefore, for all digital companies it should be essential that employee's undergo a cyber security awareness training program. The depth of the program may differ, for example a high-risk pharmaceutical company may have a more intense training program than a company with more publicly available data.
However, it is essential that employee's are trained. Otherwise, the company themselves are at fault for not providing adequate education should any hack or other malicious threat happen.
Cyber Security Awareness Training Course: Evolving Threats and The Need For A Constant Training Program
Scammers and hacker's don't sit still. They are constantly evolving and changing their methods of attack. Once one scam is figured out and avoided, they move on often increasing the sophistication with which they do so, especially due to recent advances in technologies which help them do so.
Therefore, it is necessary to keep up with the hackers. With evolving methods, employee's need regular training so that they can keep up to date with the newer and more sophisticated attacks.
Phishing in 2020: New Methods, Tactics and Mediums.
One of the main areas in which an increasing sophistication has been seen is phishing attacks. Despite everyone being so aware of them they have become a joke, 'You just won a free boat' etc. This has remained the most effective attack vector for scammers.
This is because they have changed their methods. Some imitate companies you use (pretending to be Netflix asking for a renewal of details, or Amazon needing help with a payment). Others use social engineering to pretend to be colleagues (spear-phishing), imitating a CEO or Finance director to request details.
This types of threats are what the end-user needs to remain constantly vigilant of.
How Can a Security Awareness Training Program Help Prevent Phishing?
There's no one size fits all way of spotting a phishing attack or email spoof. That is why maintaining a regular security awareness program is so essential. Rather than suggesting to look out for a specific email or attack vector. Security Awareness programs keep the threat top of mind and help employee's spot phishing attempts much easier.
This has been proven to be a successful way of preventing, or at least drastically reducing the risk of a phishing attack.
Maintaining High Quality End-User Security Awareness
How then, can you maintain high-quality end user security awareness that keeps up with the hackers and scammers?
Often convincing a company to implement a program can be an uphill battle. Many companies tend to invest reactively rather than proactively and this is where the skill problem lies.
For a lot of SMB's the consequences can be devastating, 63% of SMBs Report Experiencing a Data Breach in the Previous 12 Months, with many eventually having to close their doors due to a cyber-attack.
Rather than having to react to a mistake made by an unwitting end-user, time overall will be saved by investing early in education and awareness.
Best Practice for A Security Awareness Program
Making sure that employee's are aware of best practices when using a computer for work related materials is essential. Any details given away, misuse of computers or genuine human error can be a massive blow to any business. Hackers may hold the business ransom (for money, usually untraceable cryptocurrency), steal private data, company data or directly steal finances.
Around 1 in 3 of Americans who use a computer at work also use a computer at home for work, meaning the transition from the office to home computer safety leaves gaps, as they are outside the security network provided for them by the IT department.
During coronavirus this has been accentuated, further increasing the likelihood of somebody working on their computer from home.
Often the human element is considered by hackers to be the weak-link. Even with good malware detection software, encryption, 2FA etc. a hacker can walk straight through the front door of these systems if an employee accidentally gives away company account information.
Making sure that your employee's are trained to the best of their abilities, to recognise threats and to effectively use computers then is a vital part of software security.
Why Use an Automated Security Awareness Training Program?
Automated training platforms are much better at keeping up with the consistently changing tactics of the hackers. This is because they are regularly updated, and specifically designed to target those areas where the end-user is most vulnerable.
The key to this is repetition. Rather than a PowerPoint on induction, or a one-hour training course, Security Awareness Training programs are so effective because they consistently retarget the areas of weakness.
They have other advantages too:
1. They are measurable: This means that you can assess the progress of individuals within the team and identify any weak areas
2. They require less monitoring. As stated before, IT professionals are busy and often have many other tasks that need their attention. By automating the process, it will save the IT manager time and avoid any oversights.
3. They reduce the risk that Security Awareness is sidelined: Many IT managers are busy putting out fires on a daily basis. Teaching the staff about security awareness may not be top of mind when they are tackling their 'to-do-list'. By keeping this process automated it ensures timely delivery.
4. They behave in the same way as the hackers: A hacker will not notify you before sending a phishing email, meaning you need to be constantly on your toes. A meeting about security awareness gives a pretence of a manageable situation, that is something to be learnt once and forgotten about.
Finding the right SAT program for your business, as discussed, is an essential. Why not try out usecure for a 14-day free trial, sign up to 5000 users and make your employee's cyber-safe today.