What Security-Focused Companies Know About Employee Training

Your most valuable asset—employees—could be your company’s weakest link when it comes to data security.

Employee mistakes are a cyber-criminal’s field day. According to the most recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, two human-error threats—phishing scams and stolen credentials—are the top culprits in data breaches today.

Can you see your employees making any of these questionable security decisions?

  • Opening a seemingly-legitimate phishing email
  • Giving out information over the phone to someone who claims to be a customer
  • Creating a weak password that’s easily guessed

Your well-meaning team members don’t intend to cost you time, money, and the trust of your customers; it’s often an honest mistake. Unfortunately, though, a simple mistake can lead to millions of dollars lost, along with the trust of your customers.

Employee knowledge could be a glaring gap in your security program. Luckily, security experts are all over this. We know that, with a little training, your employees can be empowered to make secure decisions.

Ready to invest in your employees’ security education?

Let’s get started.

Where Should You Begin?

Employee training is a topic you can approach internally or with a third-party vendor. Hiring a third party will likely save resources, as they are experienced with this type of training and have a curriculum you can review beforehand. If you go the internal route, ensure that your program covers all the necessary elements.

The Key Elements Your Employee Training Should Focus On

  • Current examples. Illustrating the possible risk in a real-world way will help frame the urgency of the training topics. National news outlets have reported on countless security breaches caused by employee mistakes. Point to these to show that even an employee scanning an email too quickly can lead to severe consequences for your company and its customers.
  • Top threats. Using resources like the Verizon Data Breach Reportand TrendMicro’s Mid Year Security Roundup, which are both updated regularly, you can pinpoint the most common threats. Equipped with this knowledge, you have a solid starting point for the attacks your employees should be aware of and should know how to identify.
  • No exceptions. Security training is for everyone who has access, including leadership, remote employees, consultants, and vendors. Anyone who has access to your programs and network—not only the employees you see in the office—could severely affect your company’s security. It’s vital that you don’t take an out-of-sight-out-of-mind approach to your training. If requiring your vendors to have security training seems overkill, take a look at the Target breach caused by a third-party HVAC vendor. This breach cost the retail giant a whopping $18.5 million in settlements.
  • Run tests. Your employees will learn more from a real-time test than they will from your [no-doubt excellent] PowerPoint presentation. In a phishing simulation, for example, an employee clicking on a link and seeing that they have been “phished” will be a more memorable event. These hands-on lessons will keep awareness high and click rates low.

The Benefits of Employee Cybersecurity Training

Beyond the obvious—security awareness—training benefits your company in several different ways.

  • Saved resources. An investment in security training has a high ROI, even if it only prevents one attack. Cybersecurity events can cost a company millions of dollars and countless hours of damage control.
  • Added trust. As breaches flood the news, customers want to know that their information is safe. Companies who experience a breach have compromised their patrons’ trust and spend a great deal of time and resources trying to gain it back. Your security efforts retain their trust and show both your customers and employees that you take privacy seriously.
  • A confident employee with cybersecurity training will feel empowered to take action when it comes to possible security events. They will understand what to look for and when something is suspicious enough to bring it to leadership’s attention. Moreover, any time you invest time and resources into your employees, you show them you value their contribution to your company’s success.

You’re reading an article about employee cybersecurity training, so you’re thinking about it, and you’re on the right track! Training is a wonderful investment in your overall security program.

Technology Lab values your company’s security as our top priority. Contact us today to learn how we can help you train your employees for a robust security strategy.