Achieving a Strong Security Posture with Security Awareness Training
Although a robust security posture is a key part of any IT infrastructure, it is neglected by many organizations. Cyber attacks are growing more frequent, and the pandemic has only accelerated this. The number of recorded attacks has increased by 300% since remote working became a mainstream business tactic.
A survey by the University of San Diego found that 59% of respondents felt that their organizations were at a moderate/severe risk of suffering from a cyber attack. When you have nobody with the expertise to build a robust security posture, you have to start from scratch and implement security awareness training for all of your staff. Cybersecurity engineers have always been in high demand, so employing these people internally can be a struggle, especially for small organizations.
Luckily, as the nature of cybersecurity technology has developed, so has the ease with which organizations can implement such tools and run them across their organizations almost autonomously.
Many organizations have an IT manager or trusted managed service provider who handles the cybersecurity setup and, as part of an effective IT support setup, monitors the tools that manage incoming security threats and alerts. Devoting this job to one person or an outsourced organization is recommended.
It is most often the end users (i.e., your employees), however, who are the leading cause of cyberattacks. To mitigate the opportunities for threat actors to find ways to breach your data and infiltrate your network, human error must be addressed.
Knowing what types of threats are out there and how to manage them effectively is something that every employee in your organization needs to know. In this article, we’ll discuss the ways cyber attackers exploit a lack of security awareness and, most importantly, the steps you can take toward building a stronger cybersecurity posture within your organization.
How are cyberattacks caused by the weakest link?
When IT pros talk about an organization’s “weakest link” from a cybersecurity standpoint, they’re referring to staff with the lowest-grade knowledge of security. Often, basic security awareness and IT skills are lacking, and in the event of an attack, these team members will not know how to respond effectively. If you haven’t implemented a robust security posture across all of your endpoints, human error will stand out to threat actors as an attractive point of entry.
Achieving a robust security posture requires the implementation of an information security program, which is a series of best practices your organization can implement to mitigate threats to your critical operations. Critical operations include data management, customer confidentiality, and threat intelligence. These things have to be protected continuously to run at full capacity.
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Cybersecurity awareness training tips
To implement a successful information security program, you have to involve everyone in your organization. As we said, the weakest link in cybersecurity is the end user, and you can only have an IT setup if the people monitoring it know what threats could emerge and how to fight them.
Your staff must know what threats are lurking outside of your network, as well as the motives of threat actors—financial gain, control, espionage, etc. Once the nature of common threats is established, you should make your employees aware of any cybersecurity measures they can take to decrease the likelihood of an attack taking place. Some common measures you can implement into your security awareness training:
- Take a cybersecurity risk assessment to locate any shadow IT activity or software vendors in use that may put your data at risk.
- Regularly update passwords.
- Always update approved software patches once they are approved by your IT department.
- Initiate a staged data breach or cyberattack to assess how certain individuals identify and respond to threats.
- Amend employee user access to critical data and software (preventing non-admin users from making changes to data, files, operating system preferences, etc.). This step is all about teaching your staff to use only the applications they need for critical tasks.
Along with these measures, you should invest in a robust threat intelligence tool or some type of automated cybersecurity software that tracks threats, changes to data, and incoming network traffic. At least 93% of cybersecurity professionals believe that for organizations to stand the best chance of fighting against cyber threats, they need to combine human efforts and cybersecurity technology.
The benefits of achieving a robust cybersecurity posture
Combining a robust information security program with proper security awareness training will greatly improve your organization’s ability to prepare for, spot, and respond to traditional and emerging cybersecurity threats.
A few of the benefits of making cybersecurity awareness a key element of organizational culture:
- Better management of data. Your organization will be able to better navigate decisions to move or amend critical data operations. This will not only minimize the threat of a data breach, but it will also mitigate any privacy concerns that may be raised by authorities, customers, or employees.
- Long-term cost savings on cybersecurity. A strong, organization-wide focus on cybersecurity awareness greatly reduces your exposure to financial loss.
- Increased trust from clients. If you make your security awareness training public, it can help build and maintain customer trust in your organization. This is especially important if a data breach has already affected your organization. The same goes for a data breach suffered by a competitor. Reacting to these events will show clients (and prospective clients) that you are responding swiftly to emerging threats in your industry.
- Faster decision-making. You want your staff to carry out tasks confidently. Security awareness training will empower your employees to recognize threats and respond to suspicious activity like phishing emails and dangerous URLs. With full security awareness, employees will be better equipped to avoid compromising organization data or placing critical operations in the line of attack.
Suffering from a cyberattack or data breach can be catastrophic. To mitigate these risks, you must deliver the necessary knowledge base and tools to the rest of your team. Cyberattacks are predicted to continue growing as the pandemic leaves us with little alternative to remote working. Because of this, the requirement for cybersecurity awareness training becomes more critical to your organization.
Building an information security program will empower your employees to make decisions more confidently. The combination of human effort alongside a robust security posture is the only way to minimize the risk of cyberattacks affecting your organization. Full security awareness training will ensure that you maintain customer trust and keep control of your critical data and operations.