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Do my employees need security awareness training?

Before you read any further, there’s one essential piece of information that you must take away from this post: the best technology in the world will not stop your business from being vulnerable to a data breach.

You can purchase state-of-the art software, invest in antispyware and antivirus, install firewalls, but you will not be able to prevent attacks on your IT systems. These things are not preventative measures – they simply minimise risk to your data once there has been an attempt to access it. There’s one thing, however, that businesses can do to to pre-empt attacks and minimise the possibility of malicious interception of their systems: security awareness training.

Put simply, people are often the weakest link in the cyber-security chain. Security awareness training is your business’s best shot at tackling security threats at the first possible instance.

Here are three reasons why your employees need security awareness training.

Human error accounts for two thirds of data breaches

According to a report last year, 62% of incidents reported to the ICO were caused by human error. Whether it’s a mistake as simple as sending documents to the wrong email address, or an employee falling for a phishing scam, human error is the biggest threat to your business’s IT systems. Security awareness training is a vital tool in informing your employees on the risks of poor cyber hygiene. Recognising phishing emails, understanding the risks ‘bring-your-own-device’ (BYOD), and knowing how to securely share and dispose of data are just a few simple key things that security awareness training can help with.

It might seem that many of these points are common sense, but research shows us again and again how users aren’t aware of how their poor practice – such as weak passwords – puts data at risk. In 2016, ‘123456’ and ‘password’ topped the list of the most common passwords for the sixth year in a row. People won’t learn unless you teach them, and seeing as phishing scams are getting smarter year-on-year, isn’t it important that your employees are too?

Your business is subject to strict regulations

Whether you’re a huge multinational company like Yahoo or a small start-up, every business has data that is valuable to hackers. This knowledge alone should be enough for businesses to invest in preventative measures, such as security awareness training, but unfortunately for many businesses it isn’t. Many organisations only take cyber security seriously if they a) have the time and budget, or b) are subject to regulations that force them to do so.

Fortunately (yes, we mean fortunately), the introduction of the GDPR next year affects essentially almost every business currently in operation, including yours. If you process the data of EU citizens in any way, you’re subject to it – you don’t necessarily have to be the data controller. And with fines of 4% of global turnover or €20 million, the cost of investing in security awareness training is pretty insignificant.

It could be more expensive not to

Speaking of cost, it’s important to realise that security awareness training is an investment in your business. In the instance of a successful data breach, your business could lose a lot more than the time and money spent on training. Not only could your business be subject to the colossal fines, you could lose even more than just a percentage of your takings. With any security breach, there’s a serious risk to a business’s reputation. CISCO’s latest annual cyber security report found that 22% of breached organizations lost customers, with a large percentage of these losing 20% of their entire customer base. Security awareness training is a simple measure that could prevent a domino effect which could have the potential to close down your organisation.

Want to find out more about what Falanx Cyber Defence can do for your business? Get in touch here.


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