Your workforce is the first line of defence in the fight against cybercrime. You can install all the firewalls you want, but without training and education, employees could be leaving your business open to phishing and online scams. Under the banner of “making your business more cyber secure,” there are a number of benefits. Starting with the most obvious…
This benefit alone justifies training. Attacks can wreak havoc on a business’s IT systems taking them months to recover. This can cost a business heavily in lost revenue and productivity. How many breaches training prevents is hard to say; testing for this is near impossible. But considering a breach can cost a business many millions, a fraction of that spent on awareness training is a no-brainer.
An ideal world for CISOs is one where the culture forces every employee to be as careful and aware as they are. Regular security training is the closest we can get to that. It leads to better habits that the workforce will follow without question. Far more efficient than sending out the occasional nagging email. Plus, good training engrains a culture of understanding. E.g. when an employee understands why a password needs to be long and complex, they’re a lot less likely to change it to something less secure.
This will vary depending on your industry. If you’re in say, finance, or energy then it’s highly likely to be the case. The financial penalties from regulators can be huge if the law’s ignored. Then, should the worst happen, there may well be grounds to sue for negligence. The modest amount spent on security training is a small price for such a headache.
A security breach can wipe out confidence in your brand in a flash. And even without disaster striking, many a high profile business will only work with organisations demonstrating a high level of cybersecurity.
A good training program can empower the workforce so that they can make security decisions in discreet and with autonomy. Many employees might otherwise feel embarrassed when facing security issues they don’t feel comfortable with. Happy and empowered employees are much more likely to feel satisfied and remain with a company. And employee retention is another blessing to productivity and bottom lines.
A lack of security awareness training is little like leaving a door unlocked. The difference here is that it’s not just your business’s data out in the open. It’s that of one’s clients, suppliers, and everyone involved. It’s a basic courtesy to look after their data is if it were one’s own.
One may dismiss formal awareness training on the grounds that your business already has plenty of other measures in place. But for best results, different departments all need to be on the same page. Without a set training, different groups may start using different principles. And for the best, most secure organisation, training needs to be cohesive and formalised. At the end of the day, it’s a very small price for protecting against something catastrophically large.