Why Your Organization Needs Internet Security Awareness

Almost all successful data breaches share one variable in common: human error. Human error can manifest in various ways, from failing to install software security updates on time to having weak passwords and giving up sensitive information to phishing emails. According to the 2021 IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report, compromised credentials caused the most breaches, are responsible for 20% of breaches at an average breach cost of $4.37 million.

With human error being the driving force behind an overwhelming majority of data breaches, there can be no doubt that educating employees is a very important part of a strong cyber security strategy. Internet security awareness training encourages employees to understand IT security issues, identify security risks, and learn the importance of responding to cybersecurity issues. Your employees can be your organization’s strongest asset in strengthening internet security when equipped with the right tools and knowledge.

Internet Security Awareness

What’s Internet Security Awareness Training?

Internet security awareness training is a type of training that focuses on educating staff about potential IT risks and vulnerabilities. It gives people the ability to identify any security threats when working online and with computer systems.

Cybercriminals use various sophisticated methods to hack into systems, with newer methods being created all the time. To limit the risk of exposure, employees need to be trained in identifying potential risks, protecting sensitive information, and mitigating the chances of criminals accessing personal information and accounts.

Benefits of Internet Security Awareness Training

1.   Create Awareness

Many data breach incidents arising from human error occur because people don’t know better. Although it’s impossible to eliminate the risk of human error, creating cybersecurity awareness within an organization can help drastically reduce the likelihood of a cybercrime caused by an employee mistake. A solid internet security awareness training program will drive awareness and instill the knowledge and confidence in employees to recognize security threats when they’re presented and how to properly respond and escalate issues.

Helping your employees to understand the full implications of their actions (and inactions) will make them more mindful of their activities on the company network. For instance, knowing the risks of accessing sensitive data through public Wi-Fi will rein in the tendency of any employee to engage in this practice. The more your employees know, the better they can serve as a defense mechanism for your business and the more proactive you will be with your cybersecurity measures.

2.   Build a Security Culture 

A culture of information security and compliance begins with informed employees who can recognize and identify information security threats, understand and avoid the risks, and make better data protection decisions that ultimately reduce your organization’s risks and protect your clients and customers.

Internet security awareness training can help create a security culture where everyone in the organization feels internet safety is part of their job and has the knowledge to protect the company’s data, infrastructure, and apps. It helps your employees understand information security risks, sound information protection practices, and how their individual actions and behaviors can impact information security in your organization as a whole.

3.   Ensure Compliance

Regulatory compliance violations are not an option if your business handles personal, sensitive, or classified information. If you mishandle records, it could have a detrimental impact on your business. For example, HIPPAA compliance violations can cost you anywhere from $100-$50,000 per violation, not to mention the legal ramifications and reputational damage you are likely to endure.

Adopting an internet security awareness training program will ensure your employees are familiar with compliance policies and understand how to handle sensitive data and information, adding another layer of security to your business and bolstering your compliance efforts.

Internet Security Awareness Best Practices 

  • Conduct recurrent training: Many security awareness training programs ignore education best practices, delivering training in one-off sessions that overwhelm employees with information. For training to stick and be effective, it needs to be persistent and delivered regularly in small doses to fit employees’ busy schedules.
  • Training has to be engaging: Your employees have limited attention spans, and you need to ensure that their training isn’t just going to make them fall asleep. Interactive training courses that use image and video content are far more effective than hour-long PowerPoint sessions. Training should also not come in yearly sessions, which your employees will forget a week later, but recur regularly throughout their work-life in a brief and easily digestible format.
  • Internet security awareness training should be relevant: Your training should be continual, aiming to update your employees with the most recent developments in the cybersecurity industry, including new threats and improved protection measures. For your internet security awareness training sessions, grab any opportunity to base them on real incidents, either at your company or reported in the news. Statistics, no matter how powerful, are easy to forget. But people will always remember the lessons of an incident involving people they work with and circumstances they can relate to.
  • Everyone should be involved, including executives: No one is immune from mistakes or from being targeted by cybercriminals. In fact, senior employees are more likely to be targeted by attackers because they represent higher-value targets with access to sensitive information that attackers find valuable. Top-down buy-in and participation are required for the most successful security awareness training programs.
  • Testing after training: It is essential to have a process to measure training efficiency. For instance, conducting phishing exercises is one such practice. Employees who fail a phishing test should be given additional, context-sensitive training to address the uncovered deficiencies in the test.
  • Be constructive, not punitive: It’s been proven that rewarding good behavior works much better than punishing mistakes. Fear of reprisal only leads to grudging concessions, not the deeper buy-in you want. And when people are afraid to admit a misstep, they look for ways to hide what they’ve done, which can only increase your company’s risks.

Secure Your Organization Today with Orion Networks!

Your people shouldn’t be your organization’s weakest link when it comes to internet security. In fact, they can be your greatest resource when they are aware, knowledgeable, and motivated! At Orion Networks, we provide comprehensive and highly effective internet security awareness training in Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland geared towards raising awareness of cybersecurity threats, reducing the risks associated with cyberattacks, and embedding a culture of internet security in your organization.

Our internet security awareness training is informative, educational, and interactive, allowing employees to enjoy their experience and put learning into practice. From phishing and malware attacks to remote learning and password best practices, our training allows custom-tailored programs based on the size and scale of your organization. Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation security review of your organization’s overall security strategy.

Thanks to the team at GenerationIX in Los Angeles for their help with this article. Learn more about their services at https://www.generationix.com/it-services-los-angeles/