Why Staff Awareness of Cyber Security is Important
Cyber security is an ever-evolving and increasingly complex issue that organisations must take seriously. The emergence of new technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and AI, has opened up a range of new threats. One significant cyber risk is human error – the weakest link in organisational security – which can be addressed through staff awareness, education and training initiatives.
Organisations can protect themselves from cyber threats by investing in robust technical solutions such as firewalls and antivirus software. But simply having these safeguards in place isn’t enough; it’s just as important for employees to understand the importance of taking responsibility for their own cyber security. This means educating them about potential risks and raising their awareness of how they can help to protect the organisation from a cyber-attack.
The importance of staff awareness doesn’t only apply to high-level executives or tech-savvy staff members. Employees should have access to basic training on cyber security issues and know what actions to take if they suspect their device or account has been compromised.
Your People are the Key to Risk Reduction
The statistics below reinforce the risk of not focusing attention on staff awareness of the cyber threat:
- 91% of attacks by sophisticated cyber criminals start through email
- Emotional “lures” are entertainment, social, reward or recognition
- Only 3% of malware tries to exploit an exclusively technical flaw – the other 97% instead targets users through social engineering
- 15% of people scammed will be targeted again within the year
- Human error is the number one cause of data breaches and data loss
- By the end of 2021, the annual global cost of cybercrime to businesses reached £4.85 trillion
- Cybersecurity spending reached £139 billion in 2022
- The cost of cybercrime is 47x the investment by organisations to protect themselves
- Only 52% of employees receive data protection or cyber security training
- More than 50% of businesses don’t have the budget to recover from a serious data breach or cyber attack
Organisations should consider implementing training courses “on Cyber Security” with refresher sessions at regular intervals to keep knowledge levels up-to-date. By using interactive educational tools such as quizzes and gamification exercises, businesses can ensure that all employees are aware of potential risks and take steps towards protecting themselves and the company from harm.
Cyber criminals are always looking for ways to exploit vulnerabilities, so it pays for businesses to stay ahead of the game when it comes to security measures. In addition to installing technology solutions, organisations must invest in proper staff training initiatives that make employees aware of potential threats and empower them to know how to keep systems safe from attack.
Best Practices for Promoting Staff Awareness of Cybersecurity
- Provide regular cybersecurity training and education
- Use simulations and phishing exercises to test staff awareness and reinforce best practices
- Promote cybersecurity awareness through regular communication (e.g., emails, newsletters, posters)
- Hold regular staff meetings to discuss cybersecurity concerns and updates
- Create a culture of security by prioritising cybersecurity policies and procedures
- Ensure cybersecurity is integrated into all aspects of the business (e.g., employee onboarding, vendor management)
- Invest in technology that promotes staff awareness of cybersecurity (e.g., tools that detect and block malicious links and attachments, multi-factor authentication)
In today’s digital age, cybersecurity is more important than ever. While businesses may invest in the latest cybersecurity technologies, staff awareness of cybersecurity remains one of the most critical components of an effective cybersecurity strategy. Failure to prioritise staff awareness of cybersecurity can result in data breaches, downtime, legal liabilities, and reputational damage. By providing regular cybersecurity training and education, promoting cybersecurity awareness through communication and culture, and investing in technology that can help encourage staff awareness of cybersecurity, businesses can reduce the risk of cyber threats and protect their sensitive data and systems.