It seems we can't go a day without hearing about another major security breach. It's become so commonplace that it's almost de rigueur to hear of some company or government agency falling victim to cybercrime. The fact that these attacks are occurring with alarming frequency should be a wake-up call to all of us — it's no longer an issue for the fringe minority — it's now everyone's problem.
The fact is, every organization, every system, and every network in today's interconnected world is vulnerable. As such, we've got to start thinking about cybersecurity differently. It needs to be part of a bigger picture — one that requires everyone to do their part.
The goal is simple: make it so costly and time-consuming for the bad guys to attack us that they'll go elsewhere, perhaps looking for easier targets. There are many ways we can work together on this -- from policy changes at the government level to education and awareness initiatives in the private sector -- but we must take our collective security posture to a new level.
And make no mistake: This is an economic issue at its core. As more and more attacks make headlines, the financial repercussions on cybercrime victims are mounting. The market for cyber insurance continues to grow, with estimated insurance premiums increasing by 20 percent in 2020. In fact, we're seeing a real shift in how companies are managing their risks: Cyber-insurance is now part of their risk management strategies. It's not simply an afterthought when it comes to going public or being consumed via acquisition.
When we look at the problems both large and small, the solutions become relatively straightforward. We can't allow our industry to be held hostage by cybercriminals or cyber attackers, and we must all ensure that the best practices and technologies are in place to help drive change. As part of this effort, I'm proud to see that through our educational programs like CyberSec training and the CIS Critical Security Controls, we're educating security professionals so they can help lead their organizations in the right direction.
It's not an exaggeration to say that cybersecurity is at a crossroads — but if we all do our parts, the future will be a bright one. And, if all goes well, we might just make it through this critical time without any more major breaches.
Educating Employees on Cybersecurity Best Practices
One of the best ways to increase your organization's overall cybersecurity posture is by encouraging employees to take an active role in cyber defense. You can begin by educating them on security best practices, then giving them the tools they need to comply at work and home.
So whether you're a small business or part of a large corporation, it's important to understand what your role is in the fight against cybercriminals.
Why Educate Employees?
Education has an enormous impact on how effectively a user can create strong passwords, detect phishing emails, and protect sensitive data from leaving the workplace by accident. By providing your employees with regular security training, you can improve their awareness of cybersecurity issues and best practices that will help to keep them safe in two important ways:
The education itself creates a culture of understanding and appreciation for information security within an organization, which is arguably its own reward. For instance, employees who understand that phishing is a major threat and how to detect it will be less likely to fall prey to these kinds of attacks.
So just by having the training available, you can improve your security posture significantly — but there are other benefits as well.
The training also serves as an opportunity for organizations to give specific steps for employees to take to be more secure in their personal lives. By doing this, you're giving individuals the tools they need to protect themselves when they leave work and move onto other activities online.
Make Use of Security Awareness Training
To make employee training practical and useful, employers should have a plan of action that includes at least the following elements:
Keep in mind that this is just a basic framework for security awareness training — by working with an experienced organization, you can follow these steps to make your own program even more comprehensive.
The Importance of Security Awareness Training
Although some people may be concerned that making employees aware of cybersecurity issues could decrease overall productivity, the reality is that when done correctly, security awareness training can actually increase efficiency and profitability for the organization. That's because there are many advantages to having a well-trained and proactive workforce:
This kind of program creates an environment where security is second nature. When employees know how to protect themselves at work as well as they do at home, they're less likely to fall victim to the kinds of social engineering attacks that can give cybercriminals easy access to sensitive data.
Training users on how best to protect themselves will also reduce the time and resources you need to spend addressing security incidents as well — in today's IT environment, there are many different ways your company can be attacked, and it's important to have a team of employees who can keep your network safe.
When you give your team members the knowledge they need to secure both themselves and the internal data, they can take proactive steps to make sure that no compromises occur — such as ensuring that data is properly destroyed before disposing of it, using strong passwords management techniques, and more.
In a time where cyberattacks seem to be occurring on an almost daily basis, it's more important than ever for employers and employees to work together to improve their security practices. By taking steps like introducing regular training programs into your organization, you can help foster a culture of information security.