In the past few years, cyber-attacks have taken on many forms. From financial fraud, ransomware, loss of sensitive data to IT infrastructure damage, the list goes on. The aftermath of every attack is devastating for businesses, and individuals.

Cybercrime has become big business. Cybercriminals are always looking for innovative ways to extract confidential information from us. One of the techniques that have given cybercriminals the upper hand to find interesting ways to enact criminal activities has been the use of technology and human psychology. Now days, cyber threats use human behaviour as part of a multi-pronged attack. They play tricks with our mind, in order to full their pockets. What’s more, these cyber-attacks are targeting every kind of business, irrespective of size. Some of the most targeted industries are Healthcare, Finance and IT. In fact, 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses.

But there is always a way to fight back, and it’s by ensuring cyber security awareness training.

It’s rightly said that “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”. If cybercriminals are using human behaviour to trick you into performing actions that will harm the business, then you can always fight back with knowledge.

An educated workforce on cyber security is the most powerful tool you can have to protect your business. It’s important to recognise that cyber security is not just an IT personnel issue, but it is everyone’s issue.

Cybercriminals personalise their attacks according to department or job role. Let’s say a CEO is targeted via a different message than the HR employee. Anyone can be part of the attack. Therefore from the top C-level executives to interns- everyone needs to be part of cyber security training.

But what benefits can cyber security awareness training bring?

Cyber security awareness training can bring a whole host of benefits to the organisation. Let’s look at how it can benefit certain individuals inside a business.

1. The Chief Executive

As Chief Executive of an organisation, you’re responsible for the reputation of your  business, revenue, staff and so on. So when a cyber-incident occurs – the CEO is hit the hardest. Investing in Cyber security awareness training allows you to develop a cyber-secure work culture.

One of the ways of ensuring that you will never suffer CEO fraud is by ensuring that all your employees understand this security threat. The security culture needs to start from the top and then rest will follow. Having a smart companywide, security awareness training program in place will reap many benefits including:

Building companywide awareness

Ensuring security minded culture in the company will benefit not just C- level executives, but also entire the organisation.

Cost benefits

Cyber-attacks affect businesses in multiple ways, from financial loss, reputational damage to loss of customers. However, the ROI on cyber security awareness leads to prevention of cyber-attacks, and a decline in costs incorporated due to attacks.

Did you know? Small businesses spend an average of $955,429 to restore normal business in the wake of successful cyber-attacks. Preventing a cyber-attack can normalize your operation and avoid any downtime.

Safe brand and reputation

Ultimate outcome of security awareness is to have security culture and have a safer brand reputation. As a CEO, you are in the best position to encourage your employees to create a security culture and lead by example.

2. Finance Officers

The main motive behind any cyber-attack is money. Cybercrime costs small and medium businesses more than $2.2 million a year. 

The finance team is the most targeted as they handle the finances of the business.  Cyber-attacks affect the profits, shares and overall investment plan of any business and the finance officer will be answerable to the investors and clients for any company loss.

As a finance officer, you can influence and encourage security awareness throughout the organisation and make sure the cyber security costs are not added in the annual budget. Cost is the bottom line for any business and when a cyber-attack strikes the pain is felt by those in the finance.

How can financial officers benefit from security awareness training?

Return on investment (ROI)

Security awareness training can be tailored according to your business needs. Cyber security spending will exceed $1 trillion from 2017 to 2021 , cutting security cost for your business has become top most priority for the finance department.  Introducing security awareness training will mean you have good investment compared to the cost of a cyber-attack.

Risk Management

Having security awareness training as part of risk management can give you a pathway to have employees engage in risk management process.

 Avoid fines and lawsuits

Preventing cyber-attack by educating your workforce will help you avoid fines and lawsuits on data protection.

3.  The Employees

Employees are an asset to any organisation; let’s face it without them the business would not run. But when it comes to data leakage is the biggest risk. Cybercriminals take advantage of employees’ lack of awareness, and use it to trick them into falling for phishing. 55% of organizations identify privileged users as their greatest insider threat risk. (Source: Observe IT)

But if you have a well-educated team of staff, together a business can easily prevent cyber-attacks.

Security awareness should be part of a daily routine, until your team are a human shield. It’s the most powerful way to not only protect your business but also helps employees to protect them personally.

Here are some tips on how you can make employee awareness training engaging:

Avoid Jargon: Make sure your training speaks in a laymen language. Avoid industry tech jargons to keep the interest level up.

Gamify it: Don’t make the training boring, convert the class training into games and fun group activities.

Fast and relevant: Tailor the training according to their job roles.  Only then employees will be interested and learn fast. Let’s say don’t give too much technical training to a non IT employee.  

“It is no longer enough to create a secure infrastructure for information. Organizations must also address the human factors of Cyber security by cultivating an informed and proactive workforce”.

 Your employees are the 1st line in your effort to keep your business cyber safe. By educating employees on the threats, will turn them back into your greatest assets. Investing in security awareness training gives your business long term benefits.