The fastest growing crime in the U.S. is one you can’t physically “witness” with your own eyes: cyber theft. At least 54% of U.S. companies reported being the victim of cybercrime in 2016 (up from 44% in 2014). If you’re not diligent, cyber criminals will find a way to hack in right under your nose.
The good news is that you already have eyes and ears all over your organization — your employees! Your best defense against a cyberattack on your business is to have a savvy, diligent staff in place with knowledge of current cybersecurity practices. To achieve this, it’s imperative to invest in cybersecurity training.
There are two main types of cybersecurity training every business needs: awareness training and security training.
The two contain overlapping concepts, but they are distinct trainings, and both are necessary to ensure your business is prepared to face cyberthreats. Here’s an overview of the difference between cybersecurity awareness training and security training — and how to implement both to keep your business protected.
Training in the field of cybersecurity awareness involves teaching not only members of the IT department, but all staff to adequately determine if a given situation is a risk. Awareness training also teaches employees to recognize when to alert an expert to address a threat.
Security awareness training should follow three key guidelines:
1. Train the Basics
Zero in on the main causes for alarm that an employee may encounter on any given day. This should include lessons in the dangers of phishing emails, suspicious downloads, and basic privacy agreements. By focusing on what to look for in cyberattack methods, you’ll empower employees to play an important role in keeping the company secure.
2. No Man Left Behind
Proper training is all-inclusive. From top management all the way down to interns or part-time employees, every member of your staff needs to undergo cybersecurity awareness training. Anyone who has access to a company device is at risk of falling into the trap of a cyberattack, or leaving the company vulnerable to an attack through negligence.
3. Relate Consequences
Clearly explain the magnitude of these threats — not just how the cyberattacks can occur, but the overall damage to the business if a security breach were to happen. This should include an outline of the personal consequences if parties within the company are found responsible for an attack.
While cyber awareness programs teach your staff how to recognize a threat, security training takes it one step further by teaching key employees how to combat one. A good security training program takes individuals through in-depth protocols for countering known cyberthreats. This deeper, technical training is not for your entire staff, but for specific individuals in your company who will be called to deal with security threats in a timely manner.
It is incredibly important, in terms of intellectual property protection, to have these employees trained in all aspects of security. With more corporations integrating cloud technologies, security protocols for cloud-based systems have become integral, and your IT department and company’s executives should be familiar with the best practices for using the cloud safely.
While your own training program should be tailored to your specific business and industry, four elements of successful security training remain constant:
1. Data Breach Response Plans
Just like you prepare for emergency situations with specific plans in case of a building fire, a natural disaster, or a break-in, your company should be prepared with a plan in case of a data breach. Even in the best of circumstances, with a fully trained staff at your disposal, a security breach can still occur. Creating a response plan can make or break your corporation. Your security training should go over in detail how to put together a response plan and what elements to include. All of the staff members in this training should aim to know this plan like the back of their hands, as they’ll be the ones most likely called to act upon it in an emergency.
2. National Compliance
National guidelines like HIPAA, PCI DSS, and ISO are in place to aid your company in keeping your security standards high. Your security training should not only go over what the current protocols are, but should also offer employees techniques for how best to stay up to date on these protocols. The national guidelines will change and grow in response to evolving forms of cybercrime, so it’s crucial to have a knowledgeable team that will ensure your business stays up to the standard and alerts you whenever protocols change.
3. User Activity Monitoring
While your staff can be one of your biggest assets in staying alert for potential threats, individual staff members can also present a risk to the company. When it comes to staff use of company devices, awareness is key. Security training should give your security personnel the tools and knowledge they need to monitor user activities on the network and ensure healthy security practices are followed. This training should also lay out how the company will respond if it’s determined that an employee is failing to use proper cybersecurity methods.
4. Security Patches
As quickly as cybercriminals can muster up new ways of breaking into software, network providers are working diligently to come up with ways to stop them — these are called software patches. Patches are released by the provider of your software, and it’s your security team’s job to implement those patches into your current network. By staying up to date on the most recent network protection patches, security employees are able to ensure both software and hardware protection from malware and other cyberattacks.
Sentek Global is a cybersecurity company that helps organizations discover their vulnerabilities, take protective measures, establish response plans, and fight attacks against the organization’s digital assets. If your organization needs cybersecurity assistance, get in touch with us today.