The Importance of Cybersecurity Training for SMBs
January 31, 2024
Today’s advancing digital landscape has provided Small and Midsize Businesses with an incredible opportunity to thrive quicker in their industry through various online solutions. However, this immense access to different technologies has exposed small businesses to risks that could harm them before they grow.
The importance of cybersecurity cannot be overstated in today’s rapidly-evolving digital era. To protect your buisness from various threats, you need a collective effort from all your employees, especially non-tech ones who lack the knowledge and experience to fend themselves against cyberattacks. You can use training programs to arm your employees with the right know-how against all known and emerging cybersecurity threats.
Read below to learn more about providing cybersecurity training programs to your employees. Discover all the benefits, the best practices, and all the helpful tips when doing so.
Why Providing Cybersecurity Training Is Important
Aside from protecting your sensitive company data like online savings bank accounts and business plans, providing cybersecurity training will help your business achieve the following benefits.
Minimise human error
Human error is the leading cause of many cybersecurity threats. Without the proper knowledge, employees could unknowingly click on suspicious links and download malware. They could also set weak passwords, connect to unsafe Wi-Fi, believe threat actors, and do various steps that risk your company’s data.
A secure working environment should not have room for human error. Educating your employees on the latest practices for fending off any cybersecurity threats will help minimise attacks caused by human error. Aside from employing robust software against different threats, reducing human error will help strengthen your cybersecurity countermeasures.
Maintain business trust
A cybersecurity breach is detrimental to your company’s reputation. Suppose customers and partners know that hackers can easily penetrate your systems. In that case, their trust in your business will significantly reduce, ultimately affecting your company’s performance.
Empowering your workforce with the best know-how in cybersecurity is best to maintain your trustworthiness in the market. This exercise will showcase how you prioritise security for everyone involved, improving your credibility and business relationships.
Save time and money
Without proper knowledge, inexperienced employees will always be easy targets for a hacking attempt, resulting in downtimes that significantly affect your workplace productivity. In addition to that, your tech department will spend more time and effort putting out fires instead of focusing on improving your databases, servers, and other digital infrastructure.
Through cybersecurity training, you empower your workforce and save significant time and money by preventing costly recovery efforts from hacking attacks, especially financially damaging ones like Ransomware. Arming your employees with proper knowledge will allow them to fend off any threat before it could cause severe damage to your system. Because of that, your employees will minimise their downtime and focus more on their tasks.
Crucial Tips When Providing Cybersecurity Training
If this is your first time providing cybersecurity training to your employees, there are various practices you can do to ensure success. Here are some of the best ones you can try.
Provide hands-on training
Aside from knowledge assessments like written tests, another way to make your cybersecurity training more memorable is by providing hands-on experiences to your employees. Simulations or exercises provide opportunities for employees to encounter what these attacks would look like in real life and apply what they learn from training.
You can provide hands-on training to employees in various ways. For one, you can use programs that simulate cyberattacks, like phishing attempts or malware infections. These programs use real-life scenarios in a safe testing environment for cybersecurity practices. Other ways to offer hands-on training are role-playing exercises, interactive videos, and trivia games. You can experiment with these options and try a different one per session.
It would also help to provide a reward system to make training more enticing to some employees. You can provide certificates, gift cards, or monetary rewards to employees with excellent assessment results.
Determine risk scores
When conducting cybersecurity training, you must calculate each employee’s risk score based on their assessments. Doing so will help you gauge your training’s effectiveness and identify how safe your systems will be moving forward. It will also allow you to make the necessary adjustments to improve your subsequent training programs if most of your employees produce disappointing scores.
Provide regular training
Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving along with modern technology, meaning there might be a new attack in a year or two that your employees are unprepared for.
Providing cybersecurity training must be a continuous effort. You must constantly educate your employees with the latest security protocols and techniques to help maintain a secure digital environment for your business.
Ideally, providing cybersecurity training for employees every four to six months is best. This is the right way to ensure that your employees are updated with the latest know-how in cybersecurity.
Meanwhile, besides providing regular updates on the latest threats to watch out for, offering refresher courses on previous training is helpful. This is to help maintain a significant risk assessment score and ensure your workplace is secure against new and existing attacks.
Gathering employee feedback is another way to gauge the effectiveness of cybersecurity training for different areas, from understandability to engagement. Doing this will help you identify any rooms of improvement that you can address for your succeeding training programs.
The best way to gather comments is to provide post-training surveys and polls. Encouraging your employees to leave honest reviews is vital to ensure your collected data will help elevate your subsequent sessions.
Make training accessible
Some employees might want to revisit your training materials to refresh their knowledge of the latest cybersecurity threats. You can provide digital and printed copies of your programs after every session so they can have on-hand guides to help strengthen their countermeasures in case they encounter a hacking attempt.
Additionally, you must always support your workforce’s desire to elevate their cybersecurity knowledge. For instance, some employees may be reluctant to join such seminars and workshops because most require a significant application fee. Removing that obstacle will make these programs more accessible and help employees pursue a more aggressive cybersecurity experience.
What To Include in Your Cybersecurity Training
Here are some of the best areas you can start with when offering cybersecurity training to employees for the first time.
Training employees to detect threats is the most basic yet necessary area you must include in your programs. You can provide a step-by-step guide on identifying any red flags associated with common attacks like phishing, malware, and denial-of-service (DOS) attacks.
Your programs must also include emerging ones that might become an issue later. Doing so will make your workforce prepared for existing and new threats.
Aside from detecting hacking attacks, you must provide helpful tips on preventing them. This is an excellent way to eliminate threats early, avoiding any escalation that requires a lot of manpower and resources.
Passwords are often overlooked, but they are a company’s first defence against many cybersecurity threats. Many hackers commonly target passwords to penetrate a system and gather sensitive information. Unfortunately, most employees typically set passwords that are easy to guess, making them likely vulnerable to a malicious actor guessing their passwords or to hackers armed with tools like credential stuffing.
Providing password management training will help your employees understand the importance of a strong password combination. They can also learn how to craft the best combinations that hackers will have difficulty cracking.
You can also educate them about tools like two-way authentication factors and password managers to take their password strategies even further.
The rise of remote work has made employees more susceptible to cyberattacks, especially when they connect with public networks. Public Wi-Fi connections are generally unsafe because they lack private networks’ protection. Connecting to one opens many opportunities for hackers to penetrate unsuspecting users.
Educating employees about these networks will help protect their sensitive data whenever they work in coffee shops and other public establishments. This will help minimise risks and elevate your cybersecurity even if your workforce is scattered elsewhere.
Aside from detecting and preventing cybersecurity threats, employees must know how to generate a thorough incident report to help IT departments boost their efforts to create a robust company system. These reports must describe various hacking attacks that speak the language of a tech professional to help in-house experts eliminate these threats quickly.
Elevate Your Business Cybersecurity
Providing cybersecurity training is crucial for companies of different sizes to protect themselves in today’s highly interconnected digital environment, where various threats have become more challenging to detect.
The key is to always make your programs engaging and up-to-date with the latest practices in cybersecurity. It also helps to track your workforce’s knowledge and experience and make an effort to improve them to ensure that your business is always protected against hackers.
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