While each of the topics we’ve covered so far in our Phishing Protection Series is important, security awareness training for your end users might just be the most important topic so far. After all, you are only as strong as your weakest link.
The Infosec Institute has a great list of the top ten benefits to security awareness training:
1. Develop a Security-Focused Culture
When you offer training to your employees on a topic, this is communication to them that it’s important. At this level of importance is a natural transition to have safety be one of your culture’s foundations. Regular training instills better habits. When something becomes a habit, people will continue to follow it like it’s second nature. Reinforcing the training with other communications like posters or emails is another way to ensure your culture stays security focused.
2. Empower Employees
When employees feel confident about their interactions with data that must follow security protocols, the less likely they are to cause an incident. Human error is after all the leading cause of breaches and attacks.
3. Protect Assets
A security breach is not only devastating to a company’s reputation, but it’s also a big hit to finances. It’s best to invest in training from the beginning to keep those dollars and protect your assets.
4. Prevent Downtime
Should a breach or incident occur, it takes considerable time to investigate and repair. That’s precious time that your staff has to devote to getting back up and running. This is likely to wreck your workflows and deadlines. Downtime, even for only a few hours, can cause severe disruption.
5. Increase Adoption
Don’t expect your employees to adopt security practices on their own by reading your policy. Training leads your employees toward adoption. They are informed and understand risks once they’ve been through training. With more training comes greater adoption and a workforce-wide awareness, thus enhancing security throughout your organization.
6. Institute Proactive Practices
Your security program should be proactive and preventive in nature rather than reactive. If you are reacting something’s already occurred. By looking at security as something to prevent rather than recover from, there is a shift in perspective. Security awareness training supports this perspective. Employees will learn about specific risks and how to avoid them.
7. Collect Risk Data by Driving Awareness
Gain better knowledge of what types of risk employees are encountering, letting this inform your security strategy. Training facilitates this knowledge. For example, once an employee is aware of what a phishing email looks like, they are more likely to forward it to the security team rather than just deleting it. Employee-reported phishing attempts and other hacking schemes are valuable data.
8. Get Everyone on the Same Page
Security should be cohesive across all employees. You don’t want a bunch of rogue groups using practices they believe to be best. In training sessions, there’s no more guesswork about what the security strategy is and how it needs to be implemented. Getting all parties on the same page is critical for reducing risk.
9. Expand Awareness to Reduce Threats
Security awareness training should be designed to train on real-life threats. Your users then learn how to recognize and avoid attacks, keeping the network secure and workflow moving.
10. Stay Compliant
There are lots of regulations that businesses must adhere. These aren’t optional. Training on these very topics may also be part of your organization’s compliance. To keep all those that handle sensitive information within compliance and the rules, they’ll need training to understand what their efforts must look like. Risking non-compliance could cost you significantly.
Want to know what we use for security awareness training? Our team is a big fan of KnowBe4 for end user security awareness training. Their robust platform is one of the best in the industry for sending phishing tests, running training campaigns, and getting detailed reports about your level of risk. KnowBe4 powers our BrainPhish platform.
If you are interested in learning more about KnowBe4 or BrainPhish, we’d be happy to set up a call or demo! Just contact our office at 404.633.2551.
Next week, we’ll be covering the last topic of this series: multi-factor authentication.