Cybersecurity awareness is an ongoing challenge for many businesses. It can feel like an arms race, as every new security solution has led to hackers developing ways to bypass them. Companies reported an average of 31% more attacks in 2021 than in 2020, meaning the frequency of online crime is also trending upward. Even small businesses are being targeted, making cyber threats a concern for everyone. With attacks becoming more varied, awareness has become one of the best defenses.
What Is Cybersecurity Awareness?
Cybersecurity awareness means being aware of daily digital threats. Risks can come in many forms, whether checking your work email or casually browsing the internet. Yet, many security problems can only happen if a user interacts with it. That can include clicking a link, downloading a file, logging into a hacked website, or giving away sensitive information. The type of awareness needed depends on a person’s role within a business.
An end-user should be watchful for attacks like phishing scams, which often come in emails. In contrast, the IT team will be aware of the latest challenges at a technical level. That makes it their job to provide a secure infrastructure for people to use. Cybersecurity strategies involve work and awareness by all sides to reduce the chance of a major incident. End-users need to be aware of threats, making them less likely to fall for them. Meanwhile, IT companies provide solutions to ensure many threats don’t reach end-users in the first place.
Why Is Cybersecurity Awareness Important?
Like any workplace safety strategy, cybersecurity awareness is used to reduce the chance of an incident. While some types of training may only impact the individual, a cybersecurity mistake by one person can damage an entire business. Damage cannot always be undone, making a proactive approach vital to protecting businesses.
In March 2021, a blockchain company lost nearly $620 million in cryptocurrency in just two transactions. The hackers used a phishing strategy with fake LinkedIn job listings, allowing them to access the transaction network. Not only are cybersecurity breaches costly, but they can also hurt the reputation of a company or brand.
Should Cybersecurity Awareness Be Increased for All Employees?
It’s not enough for management or the IT department to stay informed; cybersecurity threats can impact all levels of a business. It takes only one person with enough access to damage an entire infrastructure. Any employee could be a target, no matter what role they fill, making education the best counter. The more aware people are of different attack methods, the less effective they are. A combined year-round effort can help maintain a safer business environment.
What Strategies Can Improve Cybersecurity Awareness?
Awareness training programs:
Being informed is the most critical first step, which is how training programs can help. People can only be aware of threats if they know they exist. Quick sheets can be used to educate employees on what to watch for, good habits to use, and what to do when they come across something suspicious.
Much like a fire drill, cyber drills are designed to test the cybersecurity capabilities of a business. They’re unannounced and can target different aspects of a company. It can help detect high-risk employees, IT vulnerabilities and give people hands-on experience. As a result, reaction speeds can be improved without the risk of a real cyber-attack.
Even with proper training and occasional cyber drills, it’s easy for cybersecurity to take a back seat. People are focused on doing their jobs well, and some may assume it will never happen to them. It’s worth having a monthly reminder, which can include an example of a notable recent breach, to keep it on the radar.
Cybersecurity awareness month:
Cybersecurity awareness month is observed in October of each year. It was started in 2004 by a joint effort of the National Cyber Security Division and the National Cyber Security Alliance. While year-round steps are important, it’s a good month for a bigger company-wide push.
Cybersecurity threats can come in many forms and often during the most unexpected times. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell if an email, phone call, or website is legitimate. Due to that, people are getting caught by new schemes which target the least informed. That’s made cybersecurity awareness more important than ever, not just for businesses but also for personal devices in people’s homes.
The best thing for any business is to teach cybersecurity awareness to its workforce. An IT consultant can provide input into the best strategies and solutions. Regardless of approach, awareness training is a key step for any company that wants to stay protected. Many attacks won’t work if people don’t fall for them in the first place.