What Is Employee Security Awareness Training? Do I Need It?
Like most business leaders you probably shudder every time you see a news story about a cyber attack. You may be crossing your fingers and hoping that your business won’t be the next victim. You may have shored up your IT infrastructure security and wondering what else you can do.
At Kelser, we hear this question a lot. One of the key elements we include in our managed IT service offering is employee cybersecurity awareness training. Now, before you assume that I am here to sell you on managed IT or working with Kelser, let me explain.
At Kelser, we know that managed IT isn’t the right solution for everyone. Rather than try to sell you our services, we believe in providing the information business leaders like you can use to keep your IT infrastructure safe, efficient, and available, whether or not we work together.
Different, right? Here’s the thing: we know technology is critical to every business.
It’s imperative that you find the right people to care for your IT. Whether that is an internal staff or an outside provider, you need to make the decision that is right for you. Armed with the information you find in articles like this one, you’ll be in a better position to get the services you need.
What Is Employee Security Awareness Training?
Employee security awareness training is a regularly scheduled program of training modules (featuring a combination of simulation exercises and information delivery) designed to keep employees abreast of the latest cybersecurity tactics and tricks. They don’t need to be long, but they do need to be effective.
Could you imagine sending your staff out to direct traffic without providing some kind of training? The same is true of cybersecurity. How can we expect employees to identify and thwart cyberattacks if we don’t give them the training, education, and tools they need to recognize and stop them.
By keeping cybersecurity awareness top of mind for users, you engage them as a highly trained human firewall for your IT.
It is in the best interest of every organization to provide the information users need to keep information safe, understand their role and responsibility, and take action against the latest threats.
How Much Does Employee Security Training Cost?
If you are like most business leaders, you are already doing a cost-benefit analysis in your mind. I get it.
Before we go any further, let’s address the cost question. Depending on the number of employees in your organization and the frequency of training (more often is always better), you can expect to pay around $5 per user per month.
For this relatively small investment, (especially when compared to the financial and reputational cost of a breach,) you help ensure that your employees are prepared to recognize and appropriately respond to the latest threats.
How Often Is Employee Security Training Needed?
The honest answer is that it depends on your organization’s cybersecurity risk.
In general, most organizations will benefit from monthly training to keep the topic top of mind for users. But for organizations with very minimal cybersecurity risk, quarterly training might be enough.
Two warnings about assessing your risk:
- Be honest about your risk. If you underestimate, you will regret it.
- Even small organizations are targets of cyber criminals. Check out this article to learn Top 3 Cybersecurity Threats For Small Businesses (& How To Stay Safe).
With the constantly changing threat landscape, the best way to keep up is to provide employees with ongoing access to the information they need to identify and thwart threats.
The more often these messages are repeated, the better protected your organization will be.
In fact, a Harvard Business Review article (Where Companies Go Wrong With Learning And Development) highlights the value of spaced repetition as a learning tool and the demonstrated link between periodic exposure to information and retention.
Why Is Employee Security Awareness Training Important?
A quick internet search indicates that anywhere from 70 to 95 percent of cyber attacks infiltrate an organization via email. Crazy, right?
While most criminals rely on email, others use the telephone or social media, and some will even try to gain physical access to your facility. Ransomware, phishing, baiting, and quid pro quo are just some examples of social engineering ploys.
Let’s get back to the most popular approach: email. It used to be easier to spot a malicious email. Grammatical or spelling errors were telltale signs that something wasn’t quite right.
As cybercriminals use more advanced tactics, it is more difficult to spot an imposter.
Even the most seasoned (and cynical) employees can fall victim to what appears to be an urgent, personal email from someone pretending to be a company executive, bank representative, or government agent.
Keeping security awareness at the forefront can prevent incidents that jeopardize customer and employee data security, harm the organization’s reputation, and cause financial loss.
Who Needs Employee Security Awareness Training?
With the frequent occurrence of data breaches, it is in every organization’s best interest to provide regularly scheduled, effective cybersecurity awareness training for all employees.
Wondering what options exist for providing training? Read this article: Cybersecurity Awareness Training: Why It's Important & How To Take Action Today.
The Bottom Line About Employee Security Awareness Training
As we draw close to the end of this article, you have a clear understanding of employee security awareness training. You know what it entails, how much it may cost, frequency options, why it’s important, and who needs it.
The bottom line is that the best cybersecurity awareness training for your organization is the one that employees will understand, value, and use in their daily activities.
Still unsure? Read this article: 3 Topics Every Cybersecurity Awareness Training Must Include.
Looking for steps you can take now to keep your data safe? The answers you need are in this article: How Can I Keep My IT Data Safe? (5 Tactics To Implement Now).
Or, if you want to know more about Kelser’s managed services, which include employee awareness training, click here.
Wondering if managed IT is right for you? Take the short quiz below: