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Making a Pitch for Increased Security Awareness Training

A sportswriter once suggested to Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax that major-league baseball players shouldn’t need six weeks of spring training to prepare for the season. Koufax responded: “People who write about spring training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball.”

His point was that even those at the top of their game must regularly sharpen their skills to remain prepared, competitive and productive. It’s the same reason everyone in your workforce needs regular cybersecurity awareness training.

For all the systems and processes organizations put in place to protect their networks, employees are ultimately the last line of defense against most cyberattacks. Cybercriminals long ago figured out that it is easier to trick people with social engineering scams than to hack their way through layers of network security.

Almost all of the leading cyber threats target people rather than systems. According to the Verizon 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report, 84 percent of breaches target humans using social engineering and business email compromise attacks. All it takes is one user opening a malicious file or link to cause a security incident.

What Is Social Engineering?

Social engineering is a modern form of the age-old con game in which hackers exploit the inherent “niceness” of the average person in order to carry out cyberattacks. Phishing scams mimic legitimate emails and websites to trick users into falling for the scam. Hackers may also pretend to be employees or trusted insiders who need information for a seemingly legitimate purpose.

Security tools are of little use in combating social engineering. While some advanced tools can spot behavioral anomalies, a better approach is to stop social engineering from happening in the first place. Every employee in your organization should be trained to spot social engineering techniques, and understand the steps they need to take to prevent cyberattacks and protect sensitive data.

Without appropriate training, employees may be inclined to give out their passwords, share data with outsiders and engage in other activities that undermine security. Employees who violate security policies through ignorance or carelessness can exact a tremendous cost on the organization by compromising private information.

How to Implement a Training Program

Training programs should help users understand social engineering techniques and promote security best practices. The training should include an overview of the company’s security policies and procedures for reporting a suspected breach. Security should be covered in training for new employees and in ongoing refresher classes for all employees.

Documented security policies and employee training help organizations meet regulatory compliance requirements as well as boost network security. In fact, security training is required by several government and industry regulations.

In developing a security training program, organizations should begin by determining the goals to be met. Rather than addressing a broad range of security issues, focus on those threats that could have the greatest impact on the organization. Make sure employees understand security policies and the importance of complying with them. Depending on their roles, certain employees may also have specific responsibilities for protecting sensitive data.

IronLogix can help you implement high-quality security training without the headaches of developing your own program. Our Breach Protection Platform features interactive training and an Employee Vulnerability Assessment (EVA) to help you evaluate your staff’s knowledge. It also includes dark web monitoring to determine if your organization’s sensitive information has been posted on cybercriminal sites.

Cybersecurity isn’t just the responsibility of a select few. Everyone needs to be vigilant to prevent a costly security breach. SSD’s cybersecurity team can assess your organization’s security risks and help you develop smart strategies for protecting your systems and data.

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