Ten benefits of security awareness training
Great training is the bedrock of engaged employees. Engaged means they are aware of and follow directives. Without training, employees could be making serious mistakes, especially in the realm of security. Security training allows organizations to influence behavior, mitigate risk, and ensure compliance. There are countless benefits of initiating security awareness training in your company.
Looking at the evolution of security awareness training, the regulations and protocols are more complex than ever. This is mainly attributed to the sheer size of data produced, which is estimated at 2.5 quintillion bytes a day. The sophistication and growing numbers of hackers also dictate the need for security awareness training. It could be the difference between a ransomware attack and business as usual.
There’s really no question that training yields benefits. Let’s take a look at the top 10 benefits of security awareness training.
1. Develop a security-focused culture
When you offer training to your employees on a topic, this is communicated to them that it’s important. At this level of importance is a natural transition to have safety be one of your culture’s foundations. Regular training instills better habits. When something becomes a habit, people will continue to follow it like it’s second nature. Reinforcing the training with other communications like posters or emails is another way to ensure your culture stays security-focused.
2. Empower employees
When employees feel confident about their interactions with data that must follow security protocols, the less likely they are to cause an incident. Human error is after all the leading cause of breaches and attacks. Research that examined breaches from all of 2015 found human error as the number one culprit at 37%.
To reduce the chance of human error and empower your staff, security awareness training is the solution. This training will teach them how to protect the company when using technology so there’s no guessing about what security steps should be taken.
3. Protect assets
A security breach is not only devastating to a company’s reputation, but it’s also a big hit to finances. According to the IBM Ponemon 2017 Cost of Data Breach report, the average cost is $3.62M. That’s $3.62M that you could have put into other projects. It’s best to invest in training from the beginning to keep those dollars and protect your assets.
4. Prevent downtime
Should a breach or incident occur, it takes considerable time to investigate and repair. That’s precious time that your staff has to devote to getting back up and running. This is likely to wreck your workflows and deadlines. Downtime, even for only a few hours, can cause severe disruption.
5. Increase adoption
Don’t expect your employees to adopt security practices on their own by reading your policy. Training leads your employees toward adoption. They are informed and understand risks once they’ve been through training. With more training comes greater adoption and a workforce-wide awareness, thus enhancing security throughout your organization.
6. Institute proactive practices
Your security program should be proactive and preventive in nature rather than reactive. If you are reacting something’s already occurred. By looking at security as something to prevent rather than recover from, there is a shift in perspective. Security awareness training supports this perspective. Employees will learn about specific risks and how to avoid them.
7. Collect risk data by driving awareness
With more awareness of security risks, employees be a source of great insight for collecting risk data. Risk is a moving target in technology. Gain better knowledge of what types of risk employees are encountering, letting this inform your security strategy. Training facilitates this knowledge. For example, once an employee is aware of what a phishing email looks like, they are more likely to forward it to the security team rather than just deleting it. Employee-reported phishing attempts and other hacking schemes are valuable data.
8. Get everyone on the same page
Without official training on security, different departments or locations of a business may be employing different principles. Security should be cohesive across all employees. You don’t want a bunch of rogue groups using practices they believe to be best. In training sessions, there’s no more guesswork about what the security strategy is and how it needs to be implemented. Getting all parties on the same page is critical for reducing risk.
9. Expand awareness to reduce threats
Security awareness training should be designed to train on real-life threats, like the OWASP Top 10. Your users then learn how to recognize and avoid attacks, keeping the network secure and workflow moving. Without this kind of training, your users won’t be as up-to-date on cybersecurity dangers and could, without malice, expose the company’s system to viruses and hacks. Put the onus back on the employee by giving him/her the knowledge to respond better. You need your employees to have these skills, so it’s a true investment in your staff. When they are prepared, you should expect less threat activity.
10. Stay compliant
There are lots of regulations that businesses must adhere to. These aren’t optional. Not only does the training guide employees on how to stay compliant in relation to legislation like Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Training on these very topics may also be part of your organization’s compliance. To keep all those that handle sensitive information within compliance and the rules, they’ll need the training to understand what their efforts must look like. Risking non-compliance could cost you significantly. Security awareness training is integral for a successful compliance program.
There is no doubt that security awareness training is a good move for your organization. Its benefits are plentiful, and they help you reach your security goals. Whether you have a program in place that isn’t effective or need to start one, consider that each of these benefits can all work together to minimize risk and enable your employees to make more informed decisions, leading to a healthier security program. It’s easy with the Infosec IQ platform. With over 2,000 security awareness training tools, you’ll find modules to fit any need. Start a free trial today!