Why Security Awareness Training is a Top Cybersecurity Investment for Business

Trying to stay at the cutting edge of cybersecurity often means utilizing some of the most advanced tools in the business: nowadays, automation and AI have been integrated into many modern cybersecurity defense systems, allowing them to draw on data from threats around the world to create a more effective and efficient defense.

But while these new trends are exciting, even the most sophisticated cybersecurity system can be circumvented if there's one fatal, and common, flaw: an employee without the knowledge they need to avoid suspicious email.

Why security awareness training matters

Security awareness training is an educational tool designed to inform employees about how to identify, react to and report potential threats.

Email continues to be one of the most common vectors of cybersecurity threats, with employees being sent phishing scams attempting to gather information, emails impersonating a CEO or high-level employee, or delivering malware or ransomware directly to their inbox — and your business' network.

While the more high-level aspects of your cybersecurity can be handled by a dedicated IT team, these email threats are particularly insidious because they rely on basic cybersecurity awareness from every employee. Even if 90% of your workplace has mastered threat awareness, it still leaves an opening for bad actors to get a foothold.

That's why comprehensive — and ongoing — security awareness training remains an essential cybersecurity investment for businesses.

The ROI of cybersecurity awareness training

Many businesses are already making a large annual investment on high-tech cybersecurity solutions, and may be reluctant to add another element to the pile. However, the ROI of cybersecurity awareness training shouldn't be ignored.

Security awareness training is typically cheaper than technology-based solutions, and can help solve for many of the most common — and costly — threats that businesses face, including phishing, data breaches, malware (including ransomware), CEO fraud, zero-day exploits and targeted attacks.

According to Osterman Research's 2019 white paper The ROI of Security Awareness Training, when assessing routine costs of security events compared to the costs of security awareness training, smaller organizations of 50-99 employees are looking at an ROI of 69% while larger organizations of over 1,000 employees can experience an ROI as high as 562%. They elaborated that those numbers only reflect direct costs, and don't include the more difficult to assess costs such as the potential loss of customers, reputation or valuation due to an attack.

What to look for in security awareness training

The best security awareness training is relevant, ongoing, engaging and as needed.

Security awareness training should focus on the relevant security issues for your industry. Stick to the most important bits of knowledge for each employee to digest. Training should also be consistent and frequent — many companies do a large security awareness training info-dump once a year.

Not only is it difficult for a non-IT-inclined employee to digest an hour or more of cybersecurity information, but many employees will forget some elements of their training over time. Receiving smaller amounts of easy-to-understand training once per month or once per quarter is ideal.

A lot of educational tools try to be fun, and fail. But staying engaging is key. Rather than attempting to be funny, keep information short, easy to digest, and use examples that employees can apply to themselves and their lives.

Finally, not all employees will need the same level of cybersecurity training. Some may already have a good background in this information. Many top cybersecurity awareness programs will have integrated tools like mock phishing emails, so that employees who don't react appropriately to the email can get additional training, while those who are already on top of their game can skip the lesson.

Source: iQuanti, Inc.

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Categories: IT Security

Tags: Cybersecurity, Email Management, Email Security, Security Awareness, Security Awareness Training