Training employees to be cyber aware and understand their power and responsibilities in a company is just as important as a security solution.
Senior management sometimes thinks a robust security solution is all it takes to protect a company, but that’s rarely the case. The weakest link is always represented by employees, whose lack of knowledge can inflict more damage than the most sophisticated attack a bad actor can leverage against an organization.
It’s equally true that employees are the first line of defense in a company, which sits in antithesis to the fact that they are also the weakest link. While a software solution is necessary to cover the online and internal protection of any business, employees need “upgrades,” just like software.
One of the main vectors of attack is social engineering, usually represented by phishing campaigns targeting the public or specific employees. They need to be aware of the constant dangers they expose themselves and the company every time they open their work computer.
The well-documented cost of breaches can easily debunk misconceptions about the reputedly high costs of training employees. Depending on the security incident, an organization can go so far as to file for bankruptcy, all because someone opened an email they shouldn’t have.
Training sessions should cover all employees and the basics, such as never opening suspicious emails, clicking on links that seem legitimate, opening unknown attachments, using unsecured devices inside the company networks, providing sensitive information online, and even paying attention to what is shared on social media.
More often than not, in certain industries, organizations have to adhere to specific compliance standards, which require employee training. This is the kind of activity which has to be repeated and updated to cover newer and more sophisticated threats.
Finally, it’s not a bad idea to use employee pen testing to see how many actually apply their training. A company’s security department uses pen testing to lure employees into making mistakes, unveiling problems before attacks. Pen testing should be used to uncover vulnerabilities inherent to human nature.
The value of employee training might be underestimated, but the time and effort spent in training will pay dividends in the future. Any day in which an employee dodges a cyber threat covered during training is a win for the company.