This is a guest post by Caroline Black. Caroline is a cyber security specialist and technology blogger. Heavily invested in risk prevention and damage control, much of her time goes into educating other tech users and staying up to date on the latest threats.
Security begins from the ground up. No matter how aware leadership is of imminent danger, it means little if employees on the proverbial “floor” aren’t up to the challenge. Providing training is the first step in risk prevention and considerably cheaper than cleaning up the aftermath of a data breach.
Setting policy simply isn’t enough. While many businesses have rules for employees to follow, it is necessary to provide education to promote understanding. Training gives employers a chance to share their values with the rest of the company and to instil a sense of purpose behind changes in policy and protocol.
Ensuring employee longevity with training saves money in the long run and is more important than ever as the number of windows into your business’ data continues to rise as more devices interface with company property.
Failure to prepare can be disastrous and may reflect costs you may be unwilling or unable to pay.
Rising Cost of Breaches
The most obvious reason to invest in cyber security training is the increasing cost of data breaches. There are two forces driving an increase in cost related to cyber crime:
- Increases in the number of breaches
- Rising legal costs
Each year, the total number of breaches has increased. The area most affected by increases is healthcare, which is not surprising considering how easily health records can be used to commit fraud and identity theft. Unlike most other forms of record keeping, health records contain highly personal information that isn’t easily separated from the actual person.
Small businesses are also major targets, with their historically weaker security proving enticing for hackers seeking easy prey. These businesses also suffer far more seriously from the costs of data breaches because smaller companies typically can’t afford the legal fees and penalties needing to remediate data loss.
Notably, many data breaches are preventable. There’s no doubt that cyber criminals are getting more advanced, but most threats are simply user errors. From clicking on links designed to phish for login information to falling for scams, the source of these breaches is often something very basic. Some simple training can go a long way.
Another problem with inadequate cyber security training is employee turnover. Those employees who lack the skills necessary to maintain a quality required by the company inevitably end up either quitting or being let go for their mistakes. In some cases, it truly isn’t their fault.
By providing the vitally needed training, employees will hold their positions longer and become more valuable pieces of the company. Rather than being the causes of major data breaches, they instead become the sources of defense against growing internet insecurity.
There’s a lot to be said for employee longevity. As business needs become more technical, it becomes that much more important to invest in and retain workers with the right skills. Recruitment often takes a long time and proper preparation can take even longer.
In short, going light on cybersecurity training investments for employees both new and old just doesn’t make long-term sense in a company hoping for success.
Third Party Devices
One last area of interest is the increasing trend for companies (particularly those operating without a central office) to allow or even require employees to provide their own working devices. From a cost perspective, it makes sense to not purchase devices for every new employee the company adds.
But in allowing workers to utilize their own hardware, the company becomes vulnerable to a host of security concerns. Anything stored locally is at risk if the right security measures aren’t taken by employees. For instance, employees not utilizing a VPN while accessing through public WiFi are highly susceptible to packet sniffing attacks (a tactic used by hackers to intercept data).
The average worker is totally unaware of the risks they pose to their employer without the right training. This goes both ways—employers not appropriately educated will be unable to spot the coming dangers and guide their workers in the right direction.
For all those reasons and more, training is the simple solution. No doubt it might be beneficial to provide company devices for all employees, but that’s certainly not as cost effective as granting the necessary skills and software to avoid pitfalls.
Invest in Success
Spending money on employees doesn’t always look attractive—the goal of any business, after all, is profit. Yet investing in great employees by providing training in the field of cybersecurity is an unavoidable cost in today’s technologically-laden society.
Failure to make this leap is increasingly costly. Rising legal fees, dramatic increases in the number of hacks on businesses both small and large, and the unavoidable reality that employees will use their own technology while working all come together to create the perfect storm of risk to your success.
Don’t get caught holding the bag when disaster strikes. Invest in success for your business and your employees by requiring the entire company to undergo cybersecurity training. Just be sure to include yourself!
Image credits: Pixabay