One of the most critical cyber defences an organisation has is a well-informed, vigilant workforce. The human element, unfortunately, can often be a weak point in an organisation's cyber security armour. The need for robust security awareness training—particularly phishing and general cyber security awareness—is vital.
There are some misconceptions about these training programs, which can prevent businesses from fully leveraging their benefits. Let's debunk some common myths and reveal the facts about security awareness training.
Fact: Cyber threats do not discriminate based on the size of an organisation. Smaller organisations often have fewer security protocols, making them attractive targets for cyber criminals. Security awareness training is crucial for all organisations, regardless of their size.
Fact: While firewalls, antivirus software, and other technical defences are essential, they cannot fully protect against social engineering attacks, like phishing, which manipulate human psychology. The human factor is often the weakest link in security, making awareness and education key to preventing such attacks.
Fact: Cyber threats evolve constantly, with criminals devising new methods and techniques. As such, security awareness training needs to be ongoing to keep employees updated on the latest threats and safe practices. Creating a culture should be the aim of any SAT program, not just compulsory viewing that can promote fatigue.
Fact: Cyber security is not solely the IT department's responsibility. A single unaware employee can inadvertently cause a security breach, endangering the whole organisation. Everyone, from top-level management to the newest employee, should participate in security awareness training.
Fact: Phishing emails have become highly sophisticated and can easily pass for genuine communications. Regular phishing awareness and simulation can help employees recognise subtle signs and respond appropriately when they suspect a phishing attempt. SMS and voice message scams (Smishing and Vishing) are also a threat as not all employees will be familiar with the different ways that they can accidentally reveal too much and cause a breach.
Fact: The cost of a cyber security breach far exceeds the investment in security awareness training. It's not just about potential financial loss—reputational damage can have long-term consequences. As for time, many effective training programs are designed to be concise yet impactful, minimising disruption to regular operations. Simulations and bite sized training, as well as awareness in the workplace can slowly create a culture of security and reduce your risk, and it doesn’t have to be at the cost of productivity.
Understanding the facts about security awareness training can pave the way for creating a robust, educated workforce capable of acting as a strong line of defence against cyber threats. By conducting regular, smart training, organisations can significantly decrease the risk of costly and damaging cyber security incidents.