Should Employee Training include CyberSecurity?

Attomus / Blog

Today we have another guest post, this time by Rhea Murray writing exclusively for Attomus.

Let me start by stating the obvious - it pays to offer continuous and comprehensive employee training. A Life with Health CEO Aimee Tariq explains why in her article ‘4 Big Benefits of Improved Employee Training’. She outlines how such an initiative provides a quicker pathway to productivity, enhances employee engagement, improves employee retention, and helps ensure long-term profitability.
And in this increasingly digitalised world, offering digital skills training has become a must, with tech writer Daniel Ling noting in the blog ‘Professional Development in Today’s Digital Landscape’ how training in anything related to tech and digital marketing “can fill skill gaps,” in turn “ensuring relevancy in fast-evolving areas of knowledge." This applies to all your employees regardless of where they are in the business spectrum — a nervous first jobber, a mid-level employee, or an influential decision-maker.

Relevancy in different areas, though, need not come at the expense of safety, especially in the digital realm where work is often conducted (saving in the cloud, using cloud-based services) and business is usually transacted (as in eCommerce and online registrations). In other words, you must make sure that your team has a working knowledge of cybersecurity, and one way to ensure that is to include cybersecurity training in your employee development programs.

cyber criminals are targeting the UK

This is now truer more than ever in light of the UK’s high level of exposure to and potential impact from cyber-attacks — something confirmed recently by the National Audit Office. That’s due to the country being “one of the world’s most open and most digital economies,” which then makes it “vulnerable to attack from hostile counties, criminal gangs and individuals.” And currently cybercrime in the UK is at an all-time high, with the National Cyber Security Centre having dealt with a record 723 cyber attacks over the past year, of which 194 are coronavirus-related.

Even worse, one attack can have wide-ranging ramifications, as it can adversely impact, among other things, business continuity, intellectual property, personal integrity, and professional integrity. Ultimately, preventing that attack is the responsibility of everyone, from upper management to those in the lowest rungs of your organisation. Indeed, cybersecurity is everybody’s business; the problem is, not everyone knows enough about it to adequately do their part.

This is where cybersecurity training will prove helpful, as it will not only orient your employees about the importance of cybersecurity, but also the effects that cybercrime can have on your organisation. These include potential lawsuits from data breaches, money laundering, and sensitive information getting into the wrong hands. In turn, this heightened awareness of cybersecurity and its ramifications can lead to increased vigilance among your employees in doing their part in keeping the organisation from being an easy target of cybercrime.

Just as importantly, cybersecurity training will acquaint your staff with enough knowledge to minimise, if not prevent entirely, cyber breaches on their end. The best part is that cybersecurity training for employees need not delve into the technical nitty-gritty of cybersecurity (the domain of IT staff). Instead, all it has to offer is training on basic cybersecurity principles, like the following:

  • Recognising and handling suspicious emails and links
  • Using the internet prudently and judiciously
  • Exercising vigilance when using removable devices
  • Spotting scams and third-party social engineering
  • Utilising strong password and authentication systems
  • Employing virtual private networks
  • Encrypting files and sensitive documents
  • Connecting to secure network

All of this training is bound to pay off handsomely for your organisation, as it can avoid cyber attacks that can potentially be crippling financially — like the WannaCry ransomware incident in 2018 that cost the NHS £92 million. In total, cyber attacks cost UK businesses £34 billion, and they can potentially be a death knell for small businesses with very little capital to wear such a storm.

This is why investing in cybersecurity training for your employees is a must, so you can give your employees and your organisation an extra layer of protection against cyber criminals.

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