7 reasons why employee awareness is vital to your business

Critically, the cost US companies bare due to data breaches is an average of  $8.19 million a year. Accordingly, human error is the leading cause of 90% of these breaches. However, the following statistics alone does not convince the importance of security awareness training. If not read on.  Only 1 out of 9 businesses provide cybersecurity training to non-IT employees. 

To illustrate, 30% of the training given during cases is not mandatory. However, growing incidents of breaches in the news, consistent reminders and even staggering facts are not enough to convince many about the benefits of security awareness training.  Why, then, is security awareness training still so important today? Here are 7 reasons. 

1. Prevent breached and attacks 

UPDATE: The 10 Biggest Healthcare Data Breaches of 2020, So Far

The primary reason is the most obvious one, that is to prevent breaches. However, the precise number of breaches security awareness training prevents is difficult to quantify. In an ideal world, we’d be able to run a controlled trial comparing those who received training and those who didn’t. Nevertheless, this might be a step too far for most organizations. What we can do however, is to demonstrate the ROI of security awareness. It is possible to compare the number of incidents before and after awareness activities. The resulting metrics can be used to gain an indication of ROI. Data breaches can cost millions, which is evident from all the statistics reported. Meanwhile, security awareness training is relatively inexpensive. It doesn’t take much to get positive returns. 

2. Build a culture of security 

Security culture is utopia for a chief information security officer (CISO). However, such a culture is notoriously difficult to achieve. Security awareness training is the first step in the right direction. Overall, creating a culture of security means weaving security values into the fabric of your business.  Training that covers situational awareness (why someone might be at risk), plus work and home-life benefits is a good way to bring people onboard. In addition, advanced training platforms can help monitor and develop a culture of security, making people your first line of defence. 

3. Make technological defences more robust 

Technological defences are a valuable weapon in preventing breaches. But technological defences require input from people. Firewalls need to be turned on. Security warnings need to be acknowledged. Software needs to be updated. Accordingly, few businesses today would dream of operating without technological defences. And yet, without security awareness training, technological defences cannot achieve their potential. Likewise, attackers today rarely bother with breaching a company’s technological defence. Targeting people is far easier to gain access into the protected networks.

4. Give your customers confidence and protect your reputation 

Clients and consumers are increasingly aware of cyberthreats. They watch the news just as much as we do. They need to feel safe and secure and have confidence that their data is safe with you. A business that takes measures to improve cyber security will be better able to generate consumer trust. And a trusted business is one that clients tend to stay loyal to. This isn’t conjecture. A recent survey by Arcserve, shows that 70% of consumers believe businesses aren’t doing enough to ensure cyber security. This is more important if you are custodians of critical client data such as operators of the legal, engineering, or accounting industry.  

Nearly 2 out of every 3 consumers would likely avoid doing business with an organization that had experienced a cyberattack in the past year. Clearly, clients pay attention to security credentials. When you introduce security awareness training, your clients see you as being more responsible.  

5. Compliance 

To be clear, compliance alone is no reason to introduce security awareness training. Those who introduce training solely to comply with regulations risk doing the bare minimum. Still, more and more regulators are demanding specific industries implement security awareness training. For instance, the manufacturing industry is required to comply with a plethora of regulations such as the  ISO27001 series.  

Compliance can be a happy by-product of security awareness training. Those who introduce it become more secure and, in many industries, meet regulatory requirements. 

6. Be socially responsible as business 

As WannaCry and NotPetya demonstrated in 2017, cyberattacks can spread at rapid speeds. The more networks that become infected, the more at-risk other networks become. And one network’s weakness increases the overall threat for others. 

The absence of security awareness training in one organization makes other organizations vulnerable. Security awareness training doesn’t just benefit you. It benefits your customers, your suppliers and everyone else linked with your network. 

7. Improve employee wellbeing 

It’s well-documented that happy people are productive people. So, it’s worth remembering that security awareness training doesn’t just keep people safe at work. It keeps them safe in their personal life, too. 

For the most part, this particular benefit remains unseen. If security awareness training does what it’s supposed to do, it isn’t just an employer benefit. It’s an employee benefit, too. 

Try out this quiz to see where your security awareness quotient lies. Get your employees to try it to know how vulnerable or strong your human firewall is.  

Here is some food for thought 

Cybersecurity education for employees: Learn what works

Dakota Strickland

Dakota Strickland

Dakota is a network security expert who over the last decade has been helping client maintain high performance networks while keeping their data secure.