Picture this, you’ve just installed one of the most expensive, state-of-the-art security system there is to protect your home. A phenomenon in the tech world, it combines motion detection, heat sensors, intrusion barriers, hair-trigger alarms, sophisticated locks—the whole nine yards. This system will frustrate and bewilder the most experienced criminal. Unfortunately, such a system can actually be defeated pretty easily. “How’s that?” you may ask. For example, let’s say the criminal just came to a house, rang the doorbell, and asked to come in. And they were let in. Not recognizing that he was dangerous, or assuming he was someone else, they brought him right inside. Or maybe just unlocked the doors and gave him complete freedom. How about this, they just left a key to the house and the codes to the alarm in a nice little box on the front porch.
Seems silly, right? Well, you’d be surprised to know it happens all the time in different organizations, and businesses all over the world as people fall victim to malware, ransomware, spamming, social engineering, and several other types of cyberattacks. According to recent studies the most vulnerable link in an organization’s efforts towards cybersecurity prevention is none other than the human element–their staff. Team members fall for this regularly because they have not been properly trained on how to notice the different types of security threats, how these threats may reveal themselves, or even how to respond in the event of an attack.
Strong security policies, password management, adequately configured hardware, and the latest security software are essential. You definitely need a properly configured firewall to keep criminals out. You’ll need programs to keep viruses and other harmful software from entering. You’ll also need certain security services to watch out for suspicious events. However, all of these efforts might as well be useless if staff are not properly trained to deal with the ever-changing world of cyberthreats. You can have top of the line antivirus software, and a user can still accidentally install something harmful. You can buy the most expensive firewall, but if you allow someone permissions to your computer, they have access to your entire network.
People aren’t perfect, staff can and will make mistakes. They trust fraudulent identities, fall for tempting “clickbait,” and can become trapped in many other sneaky schemes of a cybercriminal. These seemingly small mistakes can unfortunately expose the company’s sensitive data and lead to great financial loss.
The best safeguard against cyberthreats is a combination of the right resources, practices, and staff training.
So, how do you proceed in obtaining the proper training for staff?
The Importance of Security Training
First things is realizing the importance of security training. We need to be prepared to deal with these real life threats. Professional athletes, doctors, teachers and other professionals are consistently training and learning to make certain that they are at the top of their game. Likewise, staff must also train to make sure that they do not put the company at risk of a cyberattack. It comes to no surprise that most individuals are busy with work and life. This gives no room for error when it comes to being responsible for providing adequate security training.
It’s crucial that everyone gets proper training. Anyone who touches a computer or has access to data should be trained. This includes board members, staff, part-time volunteers, and interns. With networking being vital to most companies, just one person’s mistake can have devastating effects on everyone involved. So, train everyone.
Trainings should be recurring and ongoing. Companies should be in a rhythm of constructing, enforcing, evaluating, and repeating training. Training shouldn’t be looked at as a “one and done” program. Security experts have furthered the concept of “people patching.” We are used to software patching. We routinely update our software with patches or upgrades to fix bugs or provide new abilities. Likewise, we should provide continuing cybersecurity training to our people (“people patching”) so they can always be prepared to handle new and developing threats, approaches, and tools.
Strategies for Implementing Trainings
There are multiple types of trainings available
- A simple lunch-and-learn or monthly staff meeting is an opportune time for a security training session that touches the basic recommendations for how you can help keep your data safe. This training is a brief “one-time” meeting that tries to cover the most important content quickly and effectively.
- Another option that offers more in-depth training would be video lectures. These are much more comprehensive but are not interactive.
- There are online programs that offer interactive training sessions followed by short quizzes to ensure you know the content. These programs give examples of the many types of realistic scenarios and attacks and assist the user in learning to spot threats and methods being used.
It doesn’t matter which style you choose, but it is crucial that you build a culture of accountability and encouragement and to reward staff for their efforts and identifiable learning.
How to determine if your training was effective.
After spending time and money on training staff, how do you know if it was worth it? Look back and see if your company has experienced security threats in the past, then compare how frequent they were and the type of threats experienced prior to training versus security threats experienced after implementing training. With the use of online programs, you can instantly check how effective the training was. Take for example, email security, you would be able to monitor the staff’s ability of giving up sensitive data to a scammer. There are some programs that actually send fake emails to your staff and can identify those individuals who click the wrong items or respond. This type of process allows you to determine the issues and enables you to have specific training for those in need of additional help.
A Roadmap to Quick Security Training
It can be overwhelming when implementing a cybersecurity training program, but it is just a question of creating a structured process and being persistent in committing to ongoing training. You’ll see below we have provided a quick and easy, step-by-step roadmap to help:
- Point out these specific threats in your company and create content to address those areas.
- Determine how you will present the training content, e.g., face-to-face training, online education, etc.
- Create a requirement timeline with employees in order for them to complete these trainings, submit quizzes etc.
- Provide the training according to schedule and request feedback.
- Conduct tests to determine the effectiveness of training.
- Modify training as needed to increase its effectiveness.
Schedule these trainings often as an ongoing business practice.
Cybercriminals are ruthless. They are consistently seeking out new ways to expose weaknesses in your network or holes in your staff’s knowledge. You must “fight fire with fire” in this era of technology and commit to training each staff member how to acknowledge and handle correctly these cyberthreats. By keeping this one commitment you can quickly clean up any weak areas your company may have towards cyberthreats.