Why Boosting Employee Cybersecurity Awareness is Important?
The latest cybersecurity programs don't guarantee that your business is 100% safe. Believe it or not, programs like antivirus and firewalls make up only half of your defense. No matter how advanced your programs are, your business remains at risk if you ignore the other half of your security.
What I'm talking about, of course, is your employees. Most companies don't realize how significant their impact is on network security.
Team members with poor awareness can open vulnerabilities in your system without realizing it. It will serve as a freeway for attacks that can be detrimental to the company you worked so hard to build.
The 2022 Global Risks Report released by the World Economic Forum clarified this claim. The study discovered that 95% of breaches experienced by businesses occurred due to human error. It means that employees with poor awareness pose a greater risk than outdated security programs.
At Intelligent Technical Solutions (ITS), we help businesses strengthen their defense against hackers with continuous education on cybersecurity.
This article will discuss the importance of cyber awareness for employees. We'll also share tips on what you can do to keep your team updated with the latest in cybersecurity.
Hacking Methods in the Modern Age
Modern cybersecurity programs are no longer enough to protect your business. Gone are the days when hackers rely on software to infiltrate your network. Today, criminals use human vulnerabilities to get through their defenses.
One example is social engineering. This technique uses psychological manipulation to trick users into making security mistakes. It is done with the hacker studying their prey to understand how they think and act. They usually reach out using compelling messages to convince you to give sensitive data or access to your network. Hackers also resort to impersonating colleagues and legitimate institutions to make their message more believable.
Due to its effectiveness, hackers are using this type of attack more frequently.
A study done by Ironscales discovered that 81% of organizations worldwide experienced an increase in social engineering attacks since the start of the pandemic. A critical factor in the rise is the user's lack of knowledge. Not being able to identify such attacks leaves a significant gap in cyber defense.
Social engineering is one of the many attack vectors that exploit the vulnerability of users. As cybersecurity programs develop, you can expect hackers to continue looking for ways to utilize human frailty in their schemes.
Why You Should Invest in Cybersecurity Awareness?
A simple human error can negate even the most effective digital security measures. This is why conventional solutions are not enough to ensure your business's safety.
It's vital that you educate your employees on safe-conduct too. The more your team members know about proper security measures, the lower your risks will be.
The best part? It may even pay for itself! If you're currently paying for cybersecurity insurance, you may be entitled to a discount on your premium. We suggest calling your provider or agent to inquire about this opportunity. Besides, who doesn't want to save money and train your staff at the same time?
In addition, insurance won't cover some forms of cybercrime that rely on a team member's participation. It may fall under human error, for which the wrong carrier or policy won't payout. So, training will help you save money on your premium; it will also help you avoid situations where you won't be covered!
Preventing Cyberattacks with Awareness
According to Checkpoint's research, 2021 saw a 50% increase in weekly attacks on corporate networks. It only worsened as the year reached its final quarter where they averaged an attack frequency of up to 900 per week. It is, of course, easier for criminals to deceive users than to use software to infiltrate your network.
To help you out, we've listed the common attacks hackers use in exploiting human vulnerabilities:
- Phishing - This is the most popular social engineering attack hackers use. They deliver malware disguised as an email, chat, or instant message from an actual business. Their messages convey urgency to trick your employees into doing what they want. It includes providing their credentials or downloading an attachment, which is malware.
- Baiting - This is like phishing, but it involves offering a bribe for private data. The "bait" could come as a digital file or a fake link in an email saying, "check out our new team member policies." Once they go for the bait, the malware is free to infect the computer and its target network.
- Malicious websites/Malvertisement - It involves a fake website hacker created to steal your data. It brandishes logos of businesses to trick its targets into believing it is the actual website of the company they deal with. What hackers want their targets to do in this scheme is to provide their credentials. However, instead of accessing their account, the user is handing their details to hackers.
Prevent breaches by verifying the sources of all your messages, be it email, SMS, or instant messaging. Ensure that your employees know emails containing attachments that they weren't expecting.
Teach your employees how to check URLs. Hovering their mouse over the link can reveal the complete URL in the status bar. Misspelled domain names are often a giveaway that the provided link is fake.
We also suggest creating a firm cybersecurity policy for more robust protection. It will serve as your team's official guide in your defense against cyberattacks. Here are some items that you can include in your cybersecurity policy:
- Different types of cyberattacks and ways to prevent them
- Contingency plans for a cyberattack
- Data recovery process after an attack
- Cybersecurity Awareness Training Curriculum and training path
Of course, the policy needs consistent updating to remain relevant. Moreover, your team should have regular meetings where you discuss and review the policy.
Ready to Invest in Cybersecurity Awareness?
Employees with poor cybersecurity awareness are a significant risk to your business. Cybercriminals can easily sway them to hand over sensitive data or open a breach in your network. But don't fret, as this issue is fixable.
Like your antivirus software, an employee's cyber defense knowledge must get regular updates. Their awareness is as vital as any part of your cyber defense program. As the saying goes, "you're only as strong as your weakest link."
Conduct regular cybersecurity training to build up their knowledge about network defense. We also suggest creating a cybersecurity policy that will serve as a guideline in defending your business.
Moreover, investing in your team's cyber awareness training can create other benefits, such as reduced insurance premiums. Believe it or not, cyber insurance providers offer hefty discounts for companies that do so.
Want to learn more about how you can better defend your business? Read our article 7 Steps to IT Security now!