Why are we seeing these staggeringly high numbers among our teams’ front lines? New data from email security vendor Tessian, in its Psychology of Human Error report, highlights several ways your team members can compromise the security of your environment. One of the most common is clicking on a phishing email at work, whether because they were distracted when they clicked or because the email looked legitimate.
Security solutions can’t entirely protect an organization when its employees aren’t continually concerned about cybersecurity. That’s why companies need to take a human-first approach to building a culture of security.
The best way to go about this is to start with a security awareness training program designed to help your team understand threats and how to defend against them. Programs should be tailored to your organization and cover the most pertinent risks.
Here are three of the most common risks and training opportunities your organization should be educating employees on today:
Cybercriminals typically enter networks when someone clicks on or downloads a malicious item from a phishing email, text message (SMSishing), phone or voicemail (vishing), or social media post. All employees should know the signs of a phishing attack and how to report it when they spot one.
Beyond your policy covering social media use at work, your team should know how to keep their data secure while they’re sharing online. Training should be provided on connecting securely at home, including using a VPN and why public Wi-Fi can expose them to security risks.
Employee response to a security incident, whether malicious or accidental, can make or break your company. Your team needs to know what to be on the lookout for and should have the training to be empowered to say something to the correct individual.
After you have identified your team’s exposure risk categories, a security awareness program should be built using these four pillars:
Recognizing the need for a security culture starts from the top down and requires buy-in from all departments. Educate your team on the current risk of the organization by implementing a spear-phishing attack test to determine what percentage of your employees are phish prone. Why? The bad guys are already doing it, so if you don’t do it, they will be the only ones with the information. Plus, you can see how your team stacks up against your peers — the results may shock you.
Content is king. As humans we all learn in different ways, so match your content to different roles in your organization. Take the time to create content that is fun, engaging and, most importantly, effective. Today training is available in a variety of different ways, including phishing tests, webinars, superhero-themed posters and even video games.
Give your employees the power to build new behavior patterns by offering them proactive replacement behaviors. For phishing simulation tests, reward team members who report simulated phishing attacks to the correct individuals. For those who click, direct them to a landing page that educates them on how to detect a phishing attempt in the future, as well as additional training opportunities.
Security awareness training should not be measured only on a completion rate. Although this rate is used for compliance, it rarely tells the whole story. The program is also not a once a year “check the box” event — just as cybercriminals evolve, so should your training program.
It is no secret that most SMB leaders wear a variety of different hats in a day’s work. Although you may be able to successfully get a security awareness training program off the ground, it only becomes effective if it is continuously carried out and tailored to match the state of the threats it is facing. An expert has the tools to continuously produce quality materials that align with today’s topics in ways that are proven to engage your team.
You need to plan for the worst because cybercriminals do their research and are just waiting for the right moment. That means if your network can be exploited, it eventually will be. Not sure where to start? Ask a professional for help.
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