With so many cybersecurity services, platforms and tools available to enterprises today, we wondered which of them business leaders would prioritize if they had to choose. To find out, we asked our LinkedIn community which initiative they considered most important to their business. Interestingly, out of the four options we provided, our audience selected employee training as the clear winner, with 56% of the vote.
Surprised? We were, too. But it makes good sense. The fact that most respondents chose employee training highlights the critical role that employees play in helping to maintain a strong cybersecurity posture for the business. Because cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving, it only takes a single mistake by an employee to compromise the security of the entire organization. By providing employees with regular training and education on good cybersecurity practices, businesses can mitigate the risk of human error and improve overall cybersecurity awareness.
Given the overall poll results, it appears most businesses understand the need to prioritize cybersecurity training so their staff can be prepared to do their jobs online safely and with minimal risk to the enterprise. Here are six tips for making employee cyber training more effective:
- Establish a culture of cybersecurity: Creating a culture of cybersecurity in the workplace ensures everyone is aware of and feels responsible for prioritizing cybersecurity across the organization––and sees how it affects the company's overall success. This can be achieved by setting and communicating clear cybersecurity policies and procedures and encouraging employees to follow them.
- Offer regular training: Providing regular, ongoing cybersecurity training keeps the topic front and center. Training can take the form of workshops, seminars or online self-paced modules; and should cover a wide range of topics, including identifying phishing emails, password management, data protection and mobile device security.
- Use real-world scenarios: Providing employees with real-world scenarios makes the training more engaging and relatable. Scenarios can be based on actual reports of cyberattacks, with employees being trained on how to identify and mitigate them.
- Use gamification: Gamification can be an effective way to make cybersecurity training more engaging and enjoyable for employees. It involves turning the training into a game, where employees can earn points and rewards for completing tasks or answering questions correctly.
- Conduct phishing simulations: According to Deloitte, 91% of all cyberattacks begin with a phishing email to an unsuspecting victim. Phishing simulations can help employees at all levels identify and avoid phishing scams. Simulations involve sending fake phishing emails to employees and monitoring their responses. Employees who click on the fake email are redirected to a training module to help them identify and avoid similar attacks in the future.
- Stay up-to-date: Because cyber attackers are relentless and continually evolving their strategies, it's essential to stay up to date with the latest threats and trends. Doing so enables the business to provide relevant and timely training. Additionally, regular cybersecurity assessments can help identify areas where more training is required.
The Hughes poll on cybersecurity initiatives underscores the value of training employees to identify and mitigate cybersecurity threats. If you’re wondering about the rest of our results, 20% chose Firewall & Unified Threat Management (UTM) as the most important cybersecurity initiative they could implement. Here, we were surprised that the vote wasn’t even higher given that firewalls and UTM are generally considered to be foundational elements of cybersecurity. Perhaps respondents felt that these technologies were already in place and providing a baseline for thwarting traditional threats.