Cyber Security Awareness: What, Why & How
Increasingly, cyber attacks are posing a threat to businesses online. To mitigate against this risk, organisations need to put measures in place to prevent financial loss, legal penalties and regulatory action.
Having software and testing in place are two ways to prevent attacks. But cyber security awareness is arguably one of the most effective ways to safeguard your website.
In this blog post, you’ll learn what cyber security awareness is, why it’s important and ways you can start making changes in your business today.
What is Cyber Security Awareness?
Cyber security awareness involves having an understanding of the cyber threats that exist online. It also includes knowing how to prevent these threats from damaging your business, and what you need to do in the event of a cyber attack. In short, it supports understanding, prevention and remediation.
Awareness is important for both individuals and businesses. It includes employees who work in an office and those who work from home, as both can be vulnerable to cyber attacks.
The level of awareness each individual or department needs depends on what role they play in the organisation. For example, web teams will need more specialist technical knowledge. In contrast, other employees require general awareness, tools and resources.
Why is Cyber Security Awareness Important for Businesses?
82% of security breaches involve human elements, according to a 2022 Verizon report. This includes human errors like clicking on phishing links and misuse of tools and software.
Therefore, it is important to educate employees so that they have the tools, knowledge and resources to be able to prevent security breaches.
Cyber security awareness also empowers your workforce, so they can feel more confident in knowing how to recognise, prevent and deal with different cyber threats.
The consequences of a cyber attack could be devastating for your business. They can lead to financial losses, legal penalties, damaged reputation, loss of customers, and regulatory action. In fact, the average cost of a data breach is £3.5M, according to IBM.
What’s more, an attack could leak sensitive files and customer data. As a result, you could be in breach of data protection laws, including GDPR.
3 Ways to Increase Cyber Security Awareness
There are many ways you can increase cyber security awareness in your business, including:
Everyone in your organisation can benefit from training. No one, no matter their seniority, is immune from attack. In fact, senior employees are more likely to be targeted, because they have access to sensitive financial data.
By equipping your workforce with knowledge, you can mitigate risk and prevent financial loss. Not only that, it will increase employees' confidence, especially if they don’t work in technical roles.
2. Continual Learning
Once your employees have attended training, learning shouldn’t stop there. Cyber security awareness is a continual process. In fact, they’ll likely retain the information better if they re-engage with the topic again and again.
One way to do this is by celebrating European Cyber Security Awareness Month in October. This is a great way to reinforce the key information from training, so people are regularly reminded of what they need to do to prevent attacks.
3. Access to Resources
As well as celebrating awareness days, you could give employees access to resources. For example, you could pay for online courses, books, reading materials and more. This way, they have information on-hand whenever they need it, so they can feel confident in following best practice.
How to Get Started With Cyber Security Awareness Training
Assess Your Needs
Ask yourself these questions:
Who needs to be trained in the business?
What level of training does each team need based on their roles?
What is the potential risk of a security breach, and what training do we need to mitigate this risk?
Based on your needs, set goals for the training.
What will success look like?
What outcomes do we want to achieve?
Next, start researching training providers. Here are some key things to check for:
Do they cover a broad range of topics, including basic awareness, prevention and how to deal with security breaches?
Is the provider compliant with regulatory demands?
Are the people delivering the training experts in their field?
Does the provider offer reporting, so you can track employees’ progress?
Get Buy In From Employees
Once you’ve chosen a provider, you need to engage employees in the training programme. In your communications, stress the importance of cyber security awareness and the risks of a security breach. That way, they’ll understand why they need to complete the course.
Also, encourage leaders to be champions of cyber security awareness in the business, so they can empower employees to follow best practice.
Once the training has been completed, don’t stop there! As we’ve mentioned, make sure you re-engage employees by providing access to resources, and celebrating awareness days.
Assess the Impact
After a set period of time, assess how effective the training has been. Has it helped you to meet your intended aims? For example, has the number of cyber attacks in your business decreased over time?
Benefits of Cyber Security Awareness Training
Cyber security awareness training helps you meet regulatory demands, so you’re not in breach of GDPR, for example.
If your organisation is trained in cyber security, and you publicise this externally, your customers will feel more confident that their data is secure.
Employees will feel more confident, and know exactly what to do if an attack takes place.
Cyber attacks can cost your business millions. By investing in training, you can prevent financial losses.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Cyber Security Awareness Month?
Cyber Security Awareness Month is a month dedicated to raising awareness of cyber security best practices. It’s the European Union’s annual campaign, and is coordinated by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) and the European Commission. You can learn more on the European Cyber Security Month website.
When Does Cyber Security Awareness Month Take Place?
October every year. The European Union started organising the event in 2012, and it has taken place yearly ever since.
The EBC Group Solution
Our cyber security awareness training at the EBC Group is designed to train employees at all levels. We help your organisation to understand the dangers of poor security habits, and reduce the risk of an attack.
Our training can be tailored to your unique needs, and covers many topics including risks, threats, mitigation and remediation.
EBC Group Cyber Security Solutions