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Training employees is the cheapest, easiest way to boost your cybersecurity. Your employees are your first line of defense against as threats, and they are also your greatest asset.
Employee cybersecurity education is a proactive measure employers can take to help defend your business. Today, cyber education is vital regardless of how many people work for you. The 2023 Oh Behave report found that 94% of respondents said they changed their behavior after attending cybersecurity training. Over a third started using multi-factor authentication and half said they became better at recognizing phishing!
Here’s why you should start an employee cyber education program today!
The impact of cyberattacks on businesses
Just because your business is small doesn’t mean it isn’t a target for cybercriminals. A recent survey of small business owners in the United States and United Kingdom found that 61% said they’d been the victim of a successful cyberattack within the last 12 months. The average cost of a data breach cost a record $4.45 million in 2023, according to IBM and Ponemon. Overall, the World Economic Forum estimates that the annual cost of cybercrime to the global economy will hit $10.5 trillion (with a t) in 2025. Managing cyber risk is important for everyone, especially small businesses.
Small businesses aren’t immune because they are often seen as easy targets due to their limited cybersecurity posture. This is why employee training is a powerful tool to prevent or mitigate these attacks, turning the weakest link—human error—into a line of defense. The 2023 Verizon DBIR report found that 74% of all data breaches included human input, meaning human error, privilege misuse, the use of stolen credentials, or social engineering (like phishing) was involved in the breach. But as we found out in Oh Behave, training has an outsized impact.
Benefits of employee cyber education
Don’t look at cyber training for your employees as a way to check compliance checkboxes; training is an investment in your overall security and success. By imparting knowledge and skills, businesses can empower their employees to recognize and respond to potential threats. Not only does this boost the organization’s security posture, but it also enhances your employees’ awareness, confidence, and productivity.
A well-trained workforce contributes to the overall reputation and trustworthiness of the business. Customers and partners increasingly value security measures, and knowing that a company prioritizes cybersecurity through employee education can instill confidence and strengthen relationships.
Cyber training challenges
While the benefits are clear, businesses often face challenges implementing effective education programs. Common barriers include a lack of time, resources, or employee motivation. Importantly, more and more cyber training programs aim to be accessible and fun but still full of knowledge. Consider flexible training options, such as online modules that employees can complete at their own pace. You can help overcome the challenges by making cybersecurity a priority for management.
Employee cyber education best practices
To ensure the success of a training program, formulate a plan to design, deliver, and evaluate your employees’ cybersecurity training. Try to tailor the content to the specific needs of your business and use real-life examples to make the material relatable. We think interactive elements, like games, can help engage employees.
Crucially, understand that fostering a culture of cybersecurity involves ongoing effort. Incorporate regular updates on emerging threats, simulated phishing exercises, and create an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting potential security incidents. Regular evaluations of the training program’s effectiveness enable businesses to adapt and improve continuously.
Cyber education is good for business
Training your employees in good cybersecurity practices isn’t just a recommendation, it is a necessity for businesses looking to thrive in the 21st Century. The benefits—improved employee awareness, confidence, and productivity, along with enhanced reputation and trustworthiness—far outweigh any challenges your business might face. With a trusted training program and an overall cybersecurity awareness, small business owners empower their teams to become the first line of defense.