Security awareness is the knowledge and attitude members of an organization possess regarding the protection of the physical, and especially informational, assets of that organization. Many organizations require formal security awareness training for all workers when they join the organization and periodically thereafter, usually annually
Security awareness training is the process of providing formal cybersecurity education to your workforce about a variety of information security threats and your company’s policies and procedures for addressing them. Topics covered in security awareness training often expand beyond the digital world and discuss physical security and how employees can keep themselves and loved ones secure. Such training can take a variety of forms but is most often presented in an online or computer-based format.
Rather than a one-time event, security awareness training is most useful when approached as a critical ongoing practice in the context of a bigger security awareness program. The training and the program are integral to building a culture of security in modern, digitally dependent organizations.
The easiest way to do this is to send all employees regular simulated phishing attacks using various topics like banking, current events, IT, healthcare, social networking and more. If an employee clicks on a link, they get instant feedback they clicked on a phishing link. These clicks get tracked and reported to the program administrator.
The most important difference between training and awareness is that training seeks to teach skills that allow a person to perform a specific function, while awareness seeks to focus an individual’s attention on an issue or a set of issues.
Research has shown that poor security behaviours persist despite staff having attended security awareness training. Cyber security and data protection should be ingrained into every aspect of your organisation. Training alone is not enough to reduce information security risks, which is why it’s so important to implement a security awareness programme.
This programme is ideal for organisations looking to raise awareness of issues such as data privacy, information security and cyber security, and supports the implementation of management systems such as information security and ISO 27001, business continuity and ISO 22301, cyber security, phishing, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and data security..
Security awareness training is critical because cyber threats abound in our always-connected work environments. What’s more, threats are continually changing. The common thread for some of the most significant threats today is people, your employees. Hackers know people can provide soft attack surfaces to make their exploits successful.
The point of security awareness training is to equip employees with the knowledge they need to combat these threats. Employees cannot be expected to know what threats exist or what to do about them on their own. They need to be taught what their employers consider risky or acceptable, what clues to look for that indicate threats, and how to respond when they see them.
2020 State of Privacy and Security Awareness Report revealed that many employees are unaware of key risk factors relating to data security and privacy. Some employees are misinformed or confused about what risky behaviours are; many don’t understand that cybersecurity is their personal responsibility; and even fewer understand sensitive data privacy best practices.
These days, security is everyone’s responsibility. Even seemingly harmless behaviours or small mistakes can have big consequences. Security awareness training helps get everyone in an organization on the same page, reduces risks and incidents, and helps the entire workforce protect their organization and themselves.
The biggest benefit to holding a training session on security awareness is better security. Knowing your employees are prepared and acting with a focus on data security gives you unmatched peace of mind and a confidence that your business is doing everything possible to prevent data breaches. All employees need training on all aspects of their jobs. Data security can't be neglected. Being proactive in making your team aware of security is one of the best things you can do to protect your business.
Combining a confident team with a data security-conducive culture will save your company money. Data breaches can be expensive and having a team that's prepared to prevent them is key to saving your business from the ruinous costs associated with them. Think of security awareness training as an investment. Any cost incurred from holding training will prevent greater cost down the line.
Similar to the cost saved, you'll also save time by implementing training on security awareness. One of the hidden costs of data breaches is the time lost trying to fix it and recover. More than a financial loss alone, your business is at risk to be derailed as you scramble to control the damage. By ensuring that your team is acting vigilantly against cyber threats, you're lessening the chance that you'll have to face a data breach.
As technology use has exploded, a majority of employees have been left to fend largely for themselves in a wilderness of new software, social media, e-mail platforms, and more. That leads to a general feeling of uncertainty around technology in general and data security specifically. By holding official Security Awareness Training, your team can feel confident using the technology they need to. They'll know what to do and what not to do to help protect the business.
Being informed creates a better workplace culture. By establishing data security as a priority, employees can help keep each other accountable for best practices and support each other in safe technology use. Instead of a pall hanging over their heads as they navigate e-mail and the internet, there will be a sense of ownership and confidence in handling their business. Cultivating that kind of culture will pay off in a handful of ways - higher satisfaction, higher retention, and more.