Online threats are a reality for any size business, corporate entity, or nonprofit organization. Even the strongest security defenses and authentication programs require a second level of support—ensuring timely decisions are made at the moment from the people who use them.
October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, which makes it a great time to double-check your internal operating procedures and training preparedness for one of a hacker’s most common attack vectors—your employees.
The digital threat landscape today is extensive and constantly evolving. More than 90 percent of successful data breaches start with a spear-phishing attack. This is a small, focused campaign that consists of focused background research around a specific target who is then tricked into believing an ask is legitimate. In the United States alone, ransomware attacks cost an estimated $915 million in 2020.
Digital Data and You
As the world continues to work in the digital realm, increasing amounts of data are both created and consumed. On a personal side, you check your bank statement, pay your phone bill, order groceries, and access multiple websites every day. On a professional side, you fill out applications, complete background checks, share bank routing information for your paycheck, and more.
Rather than being stored in a paper filing cabinet onsite somewhere in an office, most of that personal and highly valuable information you provide for your job is stored digitally. Depending on your employer, digital data may be housed in a private, hybrid, or public cloud.
The Rise of Cybercrime
Cybercriminals are motivated, sophisticated, and agile in their methods. In July of 2020, social media giant Twitter experienced a data breach due to a phishing scam. Hackers were able to gain information about the company’s internal processes, giving them access to high-profile, verified Twitter accounts. According to a 2021 article outlining cybercrime and cybersecurity statistics, there had been more than 92 million new malware samples as of June, and almost 50 percent of business PCs and 53 percent of consumer PCs that were infected once, got re-infected within the same year.
Different size organizations cope with different problems, but the biggest threat to an organization is employees who are unaware, unsuspecting, or could be considered careless with their decisions regarding being responsible digital consumers. Security applications, policies, and procedures work to mitigate online data risks but employees are often the most challenging piece within the security chain. From email phishing, vishing, spyware, or ransomware campaigns to tailgating or physical attacks—experiences where a cybercriminal scouts a physical space and infiltrates a network manually or using a device like a flash drive—social engineering is developed to deceive people into granting attackers access to organizational data or perform financial transfers to fraudulent destinations.
The Importance of Cyber Security Training
There are several applications and programs available to help you and your organization understand the current threat landscape. At Trace3, we trust KnowBe4 as our preferred Security Awareness Training partner. Our employees complete annual training via videos and quizzes that help to raise awareness, provide examples, offer insight, and share best practices for working in a digital world as well as provide daily feedback on any questionable or suspicious emails, communication requests, and interactions that could be related to fraud attempts.
A strong cyber security training program will lead to 5 important outcomes:
- Drive/Raise Awareness – When employees are aware of the evolving threat landscape they are better equipped to notice and identify digital threats and report them to your IT and Security teams.
- Reduce Threats – With greater awareness comes a reduced risk that something like a phishing or vishing attack will be identified and properly ignored.
- Prevent Downtime – There is always a span of time where operations pause or slow due to a data breach. If you can stop the breach from happening, operations are left to run as normal with continuous uptime.
- Ensure Compliance – There are rules and regulations to follow in the digital world, and compliance is a major factor. With proper cyber security understanding, you can reduce the likelihood of compliance impacting issues.
- Improve Customer and Employee Confidence – People live in the physical world, but they are also very alive in the digital world as well. Proper cyber security training allows employees to understand their responsibility to the organization, coworkers, clients, and customers as well as how their personal lives can affect their professional lives.
What can you do? Organize a cyber security training for October—it’s always a great time to train and retrain your workforce in cyber security best practices. To learn more about cyber security and the power of cyber security training for your organization, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.