Cybersecurity awareness training teaches employees how they can help defend the company against data breaches and cyberattacks. This training often covers several topics, which may vary depending on what the company considers relevant to its cybersecurity strategy.
Why is cybersecurity awareness training so crucial?
“The Psychology of Human Error” focuses on the role that users' mistakes play in cybersecurity breaches. It offers the following statistics:
- 85% of data breaches could be attributed to human error.
- 43% of workers are certain they have committed an error that compromised their own or their company’s cybersecurity.
- 25% of employees admit to having clicked on a phishing link while they were at work.
Cybersecurity awareness training addresses human error and seeks to reduce the risk it poses to your organization’s cybersecurity. It helps your staff recognize and avoid dangerous online behaviors, such as downloading files from untrustworthy websites. The activity also teaches them the correct response to a cyberthreat. For these reasons, cybersecurity awareness training can prevent cyber incidents or reduce their impact on your business.
What topics should cybersecurity awareness training cover?
The following topics are relevant to all types of businesses:
Data from Verizon reveals that more than 80% of hacking-related data breaches happen because of lost or stolen passwords. Therefore, your company’s cybersecurity awareness training program should instill strong password habits, such as:
- Creating complex passwords that are unique to each online account
- Never repeating previously used passwords
- Never writing down passwords on notebooks or Post-it notes
Cybercriminals use messages to trick victims into divulging sensitive information or downloading malware. Most phishing attacks use emails to deliver the scam, but some cybercriminals have begun using text messages or social media messaging platforms as well. What makes phishing a prevalent and persistent threat is how adaptable it is. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic led to pandemic-themed phishing attacks that exploited people’s fears and desperation for information and treatment.
Your cybersecurity awareness training program should cover telltale signs of phishing messages. It must also teach your staff appropriate responses to such scams, such as avoiding clicking on attachments in suspicious emails and promptly reporting such incidents to IT personnel.
Some comprehensive security awareness training programs include periodic simulated phishing emails to test whether or not staff click on links in the fake phishing emails. If they do, it can be an indicator that your staff need more training on how to spot phishing attempts.
Your employees’ portable storage devices, such as flash drives, memory cards, CDs, and external hard disks, could carry malware. If they connect these devices to your office computers, these could infect your entire network and compromise your business’s data. What’s more, these devices are easily lost and stolen, which can be very dangerous if they contain sensitive business information.
For this reason, your training program should identify what these devices are, the risks of using them, and how to use them safely. You should also recommend alternatives, such as using the cloud as a convenient storage solution.
Many companies allowed more staff to work remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But even though things are gradually returning to pre-pandemic normal, hybrid or remote work will be much more common going forward. Your training program must therefore include best practices for working safely from a remote location.
This topic should cover appropriate behaviors, such as avoiding free but unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, especially when accessing company data. It should also educate your team on using secure solutions, such as virtual private networks, and the importance of physical security. Simple steps such as enabling a password-protected screen saver to time out after a period of inactivity can help prevent others from accessing sensitive data when a computer is left unattended.
Malicious apps and malware can find their way into your employees’ personal mobile devices and compromise your business’s cybersecurity, especially if these devices are also used for work. These devices may also be lost, stolen, or hacked.
Make sure your cybersecurity awareness training program covers mobile security best practices, such as downloading apps only from official app stores and avoiding suspicious websites. Your staff must also learn to properly secure their devices by enabling biometrics or pin codes to lock their devices, never leaving their devices unattended, and storing their devices in secure locations when not being used, among other measures.
These are just some of the most pertinent topics to discuss during cybersecurity awareness training. For recommendations on other subjects you need to cover and to ensure the best results, partner with IT experts like Fidelis . Our cybersecurity specialists have the knowledge and experience to help your staff understand how they can maximize your business’s defenses from various cyberthreats.
Meanwhile, find out if you’re implementing your cybersecurity strategy right when you download this free eBook today.