Security awareness training used to be a topic that only specific industries, or enterprise businesses, cared about. But with the rapid increase in cybercrime in the last several years, startups and even small businesses can’t afford to stay ignorant about the massive damage that a single employee could unintentionally cause.
Our guide here will help you answer the essential questions about security awareness training and why you need it for your business.
Security awareness training is used to make sure employees can recognize cyber threats, avoid potentially harmful actions, and take informed steps to protect your business.
Security awareness training can cover topics like identifying suspicious emails, ransomware, physical security for company devices, network security, or other procedures. You want to make sure that the training you provide employees covers any risks they could be exposed to online through their inboxes, social media, or other tools they frequently use for their jobs.
The primary purpose of information security awareness training is to reduce the risk of human errors that result in a data breach. Security awareness training is recognized as a critical method for reducing cybersecurity incidents and protecting sensitive data.
Companies, security frameworks, and even government regulations may also require security awareness. It’s a frequent topic businesses get asked about in vendor security assessment questionnaires. In recent years, multiple studies have demonstrated that human error is a leading cause of most data breaches.
The terms “cybersecurity awareness training” or “information security awareness education” get thrown around in tech or corporate realms. But since cybercrime continues to get worse and cause even more severe disruptions, more and more companies are establishing and emphasizing their security awareness training programs.
Information security awareness training benefits companies by ensuring that employees are training to recognize threats. It can help establish a company culture that understands and values security, further reducing risks to your business.
Not training your employees can have serious consequences. For example, if an employee doesn’t know about phishing emails or ransomware, they could fall prey to these common cyber attacks. A single employee unwittingly opening a malicious file could cause financial and reputation damage to your entire company.
Cybersecurity awareness training ranges in cost from free to thousands of dollars. For a small company, free or inexpensive resources can provide all the education your employees need. For a large company with thousands of employees, they may choose to purchase seats for each employee in a customized training program.
Some companies devote resources and time to develop an educational curriculum in-house. That decision is often based on compliance requirements and the size of the company. However, it can be challenging to create slide decks in-house, develop custom powerpoint training, and launch custom education courses for employees.
If you’re building your infosec program, we recommend starting with free security awareness training materials and videos available online. They are many quality courses out there, including our free security awareness training course, that you can start sharing with your employees now. (Plus we have even more training resources for teams inside the Securicy app.)
As with many topics around information security, understanding security training requirements and threat awareness can feel quickly overwhelming. Ultimately, the best thing you can do is start making progress immediately, even if it is small or incremental. You can improve the effectiveness and depth of your workplace training over time, but providing basic resources goes a long way to building up employee security awareness over time.
You can start by designating an employee to distribute free training materials on a routine basis. Decide what materials you want to provide to employees and what topics are the most critical for your company. This will enable you to expand that to be part of your employee onboarding process, department-level training, and general information that all employees get.
In a complete information security program, you’ll want the program to be included in your security policies and document training procedures.
Making sure that employees are periodically reviewing these documents is an excellent step to improve awareness of their requirements and responsibilities.
Experts in information security say that “people are the weakest link.” Cyberattacks and the approaches used by cybercriminals are continuously evolving. Security awareness training is a significant contribution to keep your employees, business, and customers secure.