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October 17, 2022

An End User’s Guide to Cybersecurity Awareness

An End User's Guide to Cybersecurity Awareness

Cyber security threats are growing year on year. And the statistics are alarming. A 2022 study by Thoughtlab found that: 

  • The average number of cyber attacks and data breaches increased by a massive 15.1% from the previous year in 2021.
  • 29% of CEOs and CISOs and 40% of chief security officers admit their organizations are unprepared for a rapidly changing threat landscape.

A survey by Anchore found that 62% of organizations were impacted by attacks on their supply chains. The most concerning finding of all, however, is probably the one reported by IBM – 95% of IT breaches are caused due to human error.

While your company is doing the right thing by using a managed IT services company to handle all your tech needs including security, your first line of defence is providing cybersecurity training to members of your staff. Read on to learn what cybersecurity awareness covers.

What is cybersecurity awareness training?

Cybersecurity awareness training is a structured program that helps employees understand and avoid IT behaviours that lead to security breaches. They learn to recognize and avoid phishing attempts and social engineering attacks that look like they come from credible sources along with spotting potential malware or ransomware attacks. Most importantly, cybersecurity awareness training helps your employees understand the importance of adhering to your company’s cybersecurity and data policies and how to report even the smallest of suspected breaches.

Cybersecurity awareness training is vital for every employee, even more so for those at executive and management levels as they have more access to sensitive data and are therefore, more likely to be targeted.

Topics covered in cybersecurity awareness training programs

There are several essential topics that are covered during cybersecurity awareness training programs that your employees will find useful not just at work, but also protect them in their personal lives. They include:

Passwords, access, and network security

While this may sound basic (which a lot of it is!), basics are often ignored for being simple. This training allows employees to understand the different levels of access granted including what administrative access entails and why sensitive data access should never be shared. It also covers what strong passwords look like, how to update them regularly, and how to use password managers to keep up with frequent password changes. With people working from home, or on the go more frequently, understanding network security is a vital part of this training. They learn what types of networks allow for secure data transfers and which ones don’t. They can also learn how to use VPN connections for secure data transfers.

Phishing and social engineering

Phishing and social engineering attacks have a high level of success as they look like they come from credible sources. Users learn to understand how social engineering techniques work and identify phishing scams. This will help to avoid inadvertently giving out sensitive information that can result in heavy expenses to your company. The training will also help employees understand how they can be targeted on their personal social media and learn how to use it safely.

Physical and device security

Cybersecurity isn’t just limited to the World Wide Web. Whether your employees use their own devices for work or company owned ones, they need to be aware that their devices like their personal mobiles and tablets can be used as entry points to your company’s secure network. Additionally, leaving devices unlocked and unattended can put immense amounts of data at risk. Cybersecurity awareness training helps your employees ensure their devices are always secure.

Your employees (the end users) are your human defenders in a world of cyber attacks. Training them to understand how real the threat is can keep your company safe and save you a lot of money in the long run. Book an appointment with us and see how APEX 365 can help.