A data breach harms business reputation and has a long-term impact on your organization. In 2021, the average cost of a data breach was $4.24 million. Furthermore, global spending on security risk management tools and services were predicted to reach $150.4 billion by the year's end.
Combining IT security tools with security awareness training will significantly improve your organization’s cybersecurity posture. Effective security risk awareness training requires covering essential topics to reduce human error, minimize security vulnerabilities, and avoid data breaches. Let’s explore these basic requirements:
Core Cybersecurity Areas
- Network Security: Implementing policies, procedures, and configurations in hardware and software to safeguard the integrity of your computer networks and data.
- Email Security: Using procedures and techniques to protect email accounts, content, and communication from unauthorized access, loss, or any form of compromise.
- Mobile Security: Protecting mobile devices (such as smartphones and tablets) and the networks they access from IT security threats.
- Internet Security: Using technical and non-technical measures to protect users and user data when accessing and navigating the Internet.
- Cloud Security: Implementing policies and procedures that safeguard cloud computing systems and their users.
- Physical Security: Protecting personnel, hardware, software, networks, and user data from adverse physical actions and events.
These cybersecurity areas also require targeted security risk awareness training. Your company’s IT security training sessions should address the following topics:
Security Awareness Training Topics
1. Phishing Attacks
Phishing is where hackers use emails to trick recipients into believing that the messages came from legitimate sources. These emails often contain a link to click or an attachment to download that installs malware on their computers.
Alternately, the hackers may ask for confidential information to commit fraud. Another type of phishing attack is “spearphishing,” which is designed to trick a specific individual (unlike phishing, a general “bait” to everyone in your company). Following cybersecurity best practices minimize the risks of phishing attacks.
Vishing or voice phishing tricks victims over the phone to extract confidential information. These vishing attacks or scams focus on bank and credit card accounts, unsolicited loan offers and investment deals, lottery, Medicare, social security, or IRS scams. Ensure that your staff is security-conscious and safe.
Malware is malicious software that has code designed to gain unauthorized network access and cause extensive damage to data and systems. This adverse software enters via phishing, email attachments and downloads, and devices like flash drives. Malware refers to several categories of harmful software such as:
- Spyware collects users’ activity data without their knowledge.
- Ransomware disables access to your data until the hackers receive a ransom.
- Adware sends out unwanted advertisements.
- Fileless malware changes your operating system’s native files.
- Trojans are malware in disguise - destructive code hiding as good, helpful code.
Security awareness training and anti-malware endpoint agents can combat this problem.
4. Social Engineering
Social engineering relies less on technical means and more on human psychology to trick victims into revealing sensitive information. For example, instead of hacking an endpoint, the cybercriminal may impersonate IT personnel and trick an unsuspecting employee into divulging their login credentials. Following a trust and verify protocol will significantly reduce IT security risk.
5. Password Security
Strong passwords that combine upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols, or are complex phrases, are harder to hack. It's important to not repeat or recycle password credentials across multiple accounts.
Security awareness training should emphasize creating complex passwords (or passphrases), changing them regularly, and keeping them secure to prevent unauthorized access.
6. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
MFA is another layer of protection to control access to your company’s proprietary and confidential data. MFA uses several factors to verify the user’s identity when trying to access an application, website, or another resource. MFA is quite helpful in thwarting hacking attempts. This is how MFA typically works:
7. Web Safety
We rely on the internet for several activities such as work, shopping, and other personal tasks. Security awareness training ensures that your staff follows cybersecurity best practices to keep proprietary and user data safe from online threats.
8. Mobile Safety
Mobile devices are vulnerable to cyberattacks, as they hold a wealth of personal data that hackers target. Train your employees to protect their personal and business mobile devices with complex passwords and only connect to secure Wi-Fi networks.
9. Encryption to Secure User Data
Cybercriminals can intercept user data from communication channels. Encryption maintains confidentiality by converting data to an encoded version that is then decoded with a unique decryption key. This key is either generated before or at the time of encryption.
You can use encryption to protect your company’s data in storage and during transmission. Combining encryption and MFA helps to control access to your network and confidential data.
10. Data Backup and Recovery
A robust data backup and recovery protocol will secure your company’s digital assets and minimize operational disruption should a cyberattack occur. Several backup options are available to create your organization’s business continuity/disaster recovery (BCDR) program.
Implementing security awareness training that addresses these and other topics will boost your organization’s cybersecurity profile.
Net Friends is Your IT Security Partner
We understand the importance of having robust cybersecurity measures in place. Net Friends is the preferred Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP). We will help you implement security risk awareness training and IT security tools to safeguard your business operations.
Our SOC 2 Type II certification makes us different. It drives our commitment to put security first in everything we do. Contact us today to discuss how we can improve your organization’s IT security, protect your business reputation, and help you exceed your strategic goals.
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