Why Security Awareness Training is an Essential Part of Your Cybersecurity Plan

Cybersecurity attacks are frequently a result of employee error. Conducting regular security awareness training as an essential part of your cybersecurity plan will prepare the warriors on your front line of defense and help stave off disaster. 

Cybercriminals are actively targeting small businesses. In fact, 43% of all cyberattacks, which include phishing, malware, and ransomware, target smaller ones. These can be debilitating, leading to operational downtime and costly recoveries.

Luckily, we know that 95% of cyberattacks are a result of human error, which means that business owners can and must conduct regular staff training and rally corporate culture around security to fortify their guards against bad actors.

Security awareness training empowers team members with the knowledge to enthusiastically identify and thwart cybersecurity threats. Companies that invest in employee training often see huge reductions in malware, viruses, and attacks because they’re empowering their workers to identify and respond to threats. 

It can be invaluable to incorporate security awareness training during onboarding and then conduct regular training sessions throughout the year, particularly ahead of the busy season.

Now let’s dive into the importance of security awareness training.

It Tests Employee Knowledge  

Just as you might take a security assessment to get a temperature read on your security infrastructure and defenses, training gives you a baseline on your team’s cybersecurity knowledge. By investing in security awareness training, such as The Practice Protect University, you can find out how your team stacks up in terms of security education and enthusiasm. 

This information can be crucial in helping you identify where weaknesses may exist so you can work on mending those gaps and craft effective training programs.  Since workers are on the front lines of this effort, we can’t stress enough how important it is to cultivate company enthusiasm through training. If your staff is excited and vigilant, you’ll rest easier knowing that you have vastly reduced one of the biggest points of entry for cybercriminals. 

It Increases Awareness of Social Engineering 

Social engineering is the art, through psychological tactics, of getting people to perform an action or divulge confidential information. Some of the most sophisticated hackers can find ways to appeal to human psychology as part of malicious acts of deception. Victims of social engineering might click on a compromised link or give away personal information. 

By incorporating social engineering into a training plan, companies are exposing their employees to every potential threat, even the most deceptive ones. This is critical when taking into account that 99% of email campaigns require some level of human input to work, such as clicking on a link. The more knowledge your team has about the types of manipulation out there, the more on-guard they’ll be when tricksters find their way into the company inbox. 

It Prevents Downtime and Reduces Threats 

Cyberattacks can prove expensive due to operational downtime and costs of recovery. For smaller companies that are hit particularly hard, they can even be fatal. A whopping 60% of small businesses go out of business within the first six months of falling victim to a data breach or cyberattack.

Since security breaches can take days to notice, investigate and resolve, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding this altogether if you’re providing regular training to staff. By empowering them to notice and report potential threats, you may be able to discover an attack earlier or quash it before it becomes a problem. 

By conducting training ahead of the busy season, you’ll be able to guarantee peak vigilance during the most sensitive weeks of your operation where disruption of any magnitude could have a devastating effect on your bottom line.

It Empowers Your Team  

Investing in your employees through hands-on workshops and education will empower them to do their part in protecting both themselves and the company from cyberattacks. Rather than feel encumbered by corporate security policies, they’ll lean into them with newfound understanding and appreciation. And best of all, your team will know how to identify even the most deceptive attempts to steal private information or confidential company data and feel moved to alert your IT team or cybersecurity partners if they discover something suspicious. 

If the entire company is staying on top of its game through effective training practices, you’ll be able to move through all your important seasons without worrying that a sudden hack or breach is going to shove your operation offline. Best yet, the more efficiently you can operate, the better the services and experiences you’ll provide to clients, who will feel safe knowing their important personal and financial data is kept securely in your hands. 

Take Your Cybersecurity to the Next Level

Not sure where to start? Take our free CPA security self-assessment to see how your company shapes up in defense of data breaches and cyberattacks.