Held yearly, October is Cyber Security Awareness Month for many nationals worldwide. With more than 4 billion people accessing the Internet at any given time, experts say that the World Wide Web (WWW) can pose a security threat to anyone. For instance, let’s consider iSecure LLC as one of those cloud security givers. Whereby iSecure LLC has spent more than a decade in security support.
While protecting both its within-reach and outside clients. And its President Annette Warren says security threats don’t just happen in the office. Threats can come in many different forms. That’s why knowing the risks and taking steps to protect yourself is essential. They run from infiltrations on infrastructure and data breaches to spear phishing to brute force and other security threats.
Online threats are varied, and they don’t discriminate organizations from individuals when looking for a target. You’ve likely heard the term “cyber threat” thrown around in the media. But what exactly are these cyber threats? From what you should share online to protecting your personal information and data privacy on social media, iSecure ( iSecurenet.net) offers simple ways to stay safe.
iSECURE utilizes intelligence, process, and experience to architect creative solutions that proactively protect each client. Threat vectors are assessed to determine the potential for compromise, and the resulting analysis is used to craft a world-class solution that addresses inherent vulnerabilities across the entire infrastructure. Now, let’s learn more about Cyber Security Awareness.
Getting To Understand What A Business Cyber Security Awareness Process Entails
Technically, Internet Security Awareness or Cyber Security Awareness refers to how much end-users know about the Cyber Security Threats their networks face. As well as the risks they introduce and mitigating security best practices to guide their behavior. Some organizations could also seek to reduce the human element risk (end users). Notwithstanding, there are various cybersecurity threats.
Learning machine control and animal movement was followed by “cyber,” standing for “computerized.” The 1990s brought around a new cyber-related term, “Cyberspace.” It emerged to define an invented physical space that some people wanted to believe existed behind the electronic activities of computing devices. Today, “cyber” refers to cybernetics, describing the understanding of science.
Equally important, the term is almost exclusively used to describe information security matters. Cybersecurity Threats are malicious acts that seek to damage data, steal data, or disrupt digital life in general. They include threats like Computer Viruses, Malware, Password Attacks, Data Breaches, Phishing, SQL Injection, Man in the Middle (MITM), Denial of Service (DoS), and other related threats.
Various criminal hacking, ransomware infections, and the technologies to prevent them exist. As such, cyber security awareness training is the key to protecting your organization. Indeed, according to Ponemon Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2020, 23% of data breaches were caused by human error. We still wonder why business employees pose such a significant security risk.
Understanding Why A Strategic Cyber Security Awareness Plan Is Essential
First, any organization’s staff is essential to its day-to-day operations. For one thing, they represent the business, deal with customers, and handle sensitive data. Thus, if they fail to protect that information adequately or violate data subject rights, your organization faces myriad problems. Usually, such data and information are protected by the CCPA & GDPR Compliance Consent policies.
The data policies include regulatory action, potentially sizable fines, and long-term reputational damage. What if customers and stakeholders don’t trust you to handle information responsibly? Of course, they may move to your competitor for similar or related business service solutions. Meanwhile, depending on the nature of the data breach, you could suffer various forms of disruption.
For example, should employees fall for a phishing scam, their accounts could be compromised. Not to mention, through just a single infiltration, the attacker may also target other staff members. Similarly, employees with poor password practices could jeopardize the security of their accounts and the organization’s profiles. Or rather, the confidentiality of sensitive business data files.
Cybersecurity awareness includes knowing the latest security threats and the best practices, such as understanding the dangers of clicking on a malicious link or downloading an infected attachment. As well as interacting online, disclosing sensitive information, etc. Security awareness training programs help to enhance your organization’s security posture and tighten its processes.
The Ultimate Cybersecurity Awareness Month Training Purpose
It’s worth mentioning that Cybercriminals are constantly evolving and devising new methods to exploit vulnerabilities to steal valuable data from businesses. Additionally, they look for some loopholes to manipulate human behavior and emotions. It is no surprise social engineering attacks like Phishing, spear phishing, business email compromise (BEC), etc., are so successful.
Well-educated and trained employees can quickly identify these threats, significantly reducing the risk of cybersecurity incidents and helping prevent data breaches. Security awareness training helps stop threat actors and promotes an organizational culture focused on heightened security. Cybersecurity awareness training is a necessity for the survival of any business or organization.
First, cybersecurity awareness training is critical to an organization’s security strategy. Second, it encompasses various tools and techniques to inform and equip employees about security risks and how to avoid them. It helps them understand the cyber-risks your business faces daily, their impact on your business, and their roles and responsibilities for the safety and security of digital assets.
Resource Reference: Cybersecurity 101 | A Strong Password Guide & Other Measures
Although there are technologies that can mitigate the risk, the cybersecurity awareness month stipulates a few methods to secure yourself. Ultimately, relying on employees to use them appropriately would be best. As well as to avoid mistakes that undermine the security practices you have in place. Technically, cyber security training is the most effective way of educating your team.
This is Coupled with the steps they should take if they are unsure about what to do in specific scenarios. For such reasons, that’s why Cyber Security Awareness Month is important. So, let’s learn more about the history of Cybersecurity Awareness Month and some of its essential roles. Eventually, in 2009, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano launched Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Back in 2010, the kickoff of Cybersecurity Awareness Month also included the launch of the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. CAMPAIGN too. President Obama’s proclamation for the month consists of STOP. THINK. CONNECT. as the cybersecurity education and awareness message. Also 2010, NCSA began moving the month’s launch to sites nationwide. The idea was based on feedback.
This NCSA and DHS idea was based on feedback from various stakeholders that the many aspects of cybersecurity should be better articulated. At the same time, this made it much easier for other groups to align with specific themes. Some key themes have included education, cybercrime, law enforcement, mobility, critical infrastructure, and small and medium-sized businesses.
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Cybersecurity Awareness Month aims to educate and inform the community about the various threats in the digital world. Consider threats like cyberattacks, data breaches, identity theft, phishing, malware, and more. The campaign aims to empower individuals and organizations with the knowledge and tools to protect their digital assets, personal information, and online privacy.
In particular, the cybersecurity awareness month was launched at an event in Washington, D.C., Becoming the highest-ranking government official to participate in the month’s activities. Subsequently, in the following years, quite a lot has occurred. Ever since, the leading administration officials from DHS, the White House, and other agencies have regularly participated in such events.
Starting in 2011, NCSA and DHS developed the concept of weekly themes, as shown below. The collaboration of NCSA and DHS on Cybersecurity Awareness Month Appeal is one of the many successful public-private partnerships vital to cybersecurity.
Remember, although Cyber Security Awareness Month runs in October each year, it’s role play should continue daily. The goal is to make cybersecurity easy. It now includes the participation of many industry participants—especially those that engage their customers, employees, and the general public in awareness. Still, it has even considered college campuses, nonprofits, and groups.
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As you’ll notice, the (Complete Staff Awareness E-learning Suite) package contains all the basic e-learning programs. Combined with your continual awareness campaign, it will boost your employees’ understanding of various topics. And as an annual package, you can roll courses out throughout the year. Mainly to keep staff awareness as a central part of your business.
At the same time, it helps avoid the risk of overloading employees with too much training in one go. On the one hand, since the combined efforts of NCSA and DHS have been taking place, the month has grown in reach and participation. On the other hand, the awareness is a grassroots campaign in many respects. Not forgetting, the month’s effort has grown exponentially.
The Ultimate Cybersecurity Training Best Practices For Beginners
As it’s put in the recently released National Cybersecurity Strategy, “Today, end users bear too great a burden for mitigating cyber risks. Individuals, small businesses, state and local governments, and infrastructure operators have limited resources and competing priorities, yet these actors’ choices can significantly impact our national cybersecurity. Learn a few online privacy tips for kids below:
Despite having best-in-class defense systems and measures, many organizations still experience security breaches. Unfortunately, human error has often contributed significantly to many breaches. According to Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report, more than 80% of breaches involved the human element, including social engineering, errors, and misuse of stolen credentials.
In response to this data and other industry trends, the Cybersecurity And Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (home to Staysafeonline.org) are trying to simplify messaging while keeping things positive regarding this year’s awareness month messaging. Did you know the theme for October 2023 is “It’s easy to stay safe online?” Now you know!
Most cybercriminals and cybersecurity threat actors exploit this weakness to infiltrate an organization’s networks and systems. This is where cybersecurity awareness best practices come in. Moreover, the goals for this year are to make actionable steps positive, approachable, straightforward, and back to basics. This year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month will focus on four key behaviors.
Such as follows:
- Enabling multifactor authentication
- Using strong passwords and working with password managers
- Updating software application platforms
- Recognizing and reporting phishing
As webmasters who have held enterprise roles as a state government enterprise CISO, CTO and CSO, and agency CIO, we agree that this simple cybersecurity awareness messaging is on track. During the years we worked as the CISO and chief strategist for security awareness company Security Mentor, we heard similar feedback regarding the importance of simple messages.
It’s all about messages that are brief, frequent, and focused on delivering content in a fun way that is engaging and relevant. In addition, we also agree that there are practical steps that everyone (individuals and businesses) can take to protect themselves online—we need to get that word out. Still, most people want you to teach them things they don’t know to improve their online security.
Resource Reference: Top 5 Cybersecurity Risks Management Strategies For Business
Generally speaking, a strategic cyber security awareness plan is all about a reminder of what needs to be done security-wise. Whether online or offline, remember that an effective staff awareness program should complement how people work rather than create rules that hinder employees’ ability to get their jobs done. The objective is to support them in obtaining essential skills.
As well as gaining the knowledge required to work and to be all-knowing when to raise any security threats and attack concerns. Our only fear with the continuous cybersecurity awareness approach is that some cyber-attacks are somehow hard to detect and stop. So, what do you need to know? In that case, consider the following key strategies to implement in your security plan.
1. All employees at every level of the organization should receive training
Of course, no one is immune from mistakes or being targeted by scammers. Senior employees are proportionally more likely to be targeted by scammers. With the likes of business email compromise schemes because they represent higher-value targets.
2. Training should occur multiple times a year
Staff awareness training must be performed regularly to ensure the knowledge is embedded. Let’s take a research case scenario from a study presented at the USENIX SOUPS security conference last year to demonstrate. Well, it found that employees who went six months or more without phishing awareness training become increasingly prone to phishing. And therefore, they’re very likely to fall victim to scams. Besides, it would be best to consider how your employees work.
3. In terms of how your employees work, the main questions to ask are;
One, what are your employees’ workflows? And, two, what obstacles do they face when performing certain activities? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you understand the types of awareness training they need. To help you do this, you should include people with knowledge of local working environments. More so in creating cyber security policies. These are the day-to-day rules that employees should follow – in addition to the guidelines outlined in your awareness training courses.
4. Don’t be overly critical when employees make mistakes
It’s tempting to firmly reprimand anyone who makes an error – despite receiving awareness training. However, experts warn against this. Always remember that employees are rarely motivated by fear. Thus, it will make them less likely to report mistakes when they occur. Although you should be strict about employees taking awareness training. Ideally, these courses should come with tests to ensure that staff has understood the content – you should use errors as a learning experience.
5. Look for ways to complement staff awareness training
Conversely, you can still do things in addition to training courses – to boost your staff’s understanding of cyber security. For instance, you might consider placing posters around the office. That’s if you’re still office-based – or creating email signatures containing security tips. Likewise, pocket guides, presentations, and learning nudges provide additional ways to bolster your staff’s knowledge of Cyber Security Threats, and they might come in handy as well.
In a nutshell, security awareness training programs help to enhance your organization’s security posture and tighten its processes, thereby paving the way to building a more resilient business. Cybersecurity awareness must be an organization-wide initiative to be most effective and beneficial. With cybercrime continuing its upward trend, cybersecurity is a top priority for businesses of all sizes.
The Steps To Implement A Cyber Security Awareness Strategy
A single person’s momentary lapse in judgment, use of an outdated password, or errant click on a suspicious link should not have national security consequences. Likewise, our collective cyber resilience cannot rely on the constant vigilance of our most minor organizations and individual citizens. Nevertheless, we must consider what each front-line computing user needs to hear and do.
Still, we agree that we need to make online security easier to understand and clear on how to act. This year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month encourages individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace. As well as stressing personal accountability and the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity. Do Your Part, #BeCyberSmart!
Technically, creating a staff awareness training course from scratch is a very tough task. And as a result, that’s why many organizations choose to outsource the process. Not to mention, the courses should cover a broad range of topics. Including general information security best practices, the threat of phishing, and GDPR compliance. So, is your organization among the rest?
Is it among those moving to remote working on a part- or full-time basis? In most cases, you should consider some critical staff awareness training courses to start your security team quickly. More so, that specifically looks at the threats of home working. At the same time, almost every ICT Governance understands the importance and benefits of these courses. Below are the other tips.
(1). Consider the best approach and critical requirements
Regarding staff awareness, the one-size-fits-all approach isn’t appropriate for all organizations. For your staff awareness training program to succeed, you must consider all the diverse needs of the culture of your business and tailor the training accordingly.
(2). Set program metrics to easily measure success
But, before you implement a staff awareness program, you need to ensure it can succeed. And then, after that, decide how to measure that success. This means you must decide on all vital and needful metrics you’ll require or use. Then, take measurements to determine a benchmark before you start.
(3). Be thorough in your staff’s awareness training
Beware, staff awareness training for the GDPR does not mean simply briefing your employees about the regulation. Instead, it should comprise a thorough but considerate program. In general, that ensures all employees understand your organization’s solid practices. As well as the procedures for processing personal data.
(4). Engage your staff
Next, engaging staff training is critical to your program’s success. Incorporating thought-provoking activities will also give your team a clear understanding of the essential changes. More so, those introduced by the GDPR and the requirements that will affect their day-to-day work. One such tremendous and common technique to make security awareness programs more engaging for participants is ‘gamification.’ Whereby it uses behavioral motivators taken from games. Such as rewards, competition, and loss aversion.
(5). Focus on behavior, not knowledge
Equally important, employees must understand how the content applies to them in their everyday roles to change their behavior. But, to bridge the gap between knowing and doing, you must provide your staff context for what they are learning. As well as clear and realistic examples they can follow. By doing so, you’ll help foster a much-needed cultural shift. A culture in which security becomes a part of everyday operations.
(6). Time it right and Play the long game
There may be an urgent need to train your workforce, but this doesn’t mean your awareness program should be deployed in haste. Instead, consider a phased rollout, allowing you to meet some immediate requirements, after which you can refine and improve the program. For long-term success, your staff awareness program should be an ongoing process that begins at induction. Then again, it is reinforced by regular updates throughout the year and whenever staff-related security attacks occur.
Pro Tip: Since we are a good associate of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month for allowing the writing of this blog, there’s some good news for you! As such, you can save up to 15% on toolkits, self-paced training, and staff awareness e-learning courses. After all, your company’s cybersecurity strategy is only as strong as your weakest link — your employees.
Of course, we guess you still wonder: How can applying cybersecurity awareness in your business or organization’s workplace come in handy with details to protect yourselves? We’ll explain everything you need to know in this blog guide. As mentioned, held in place every year since 2003, October has been recognized as National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM).
The Cybersecurity Awareness Month effort was brought to life by collaborating with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance. NCSAM was created to ensure that every individual stays safe and secure online. When Cybersecurity Awareness Month first began, the awareness efforts centered around various forms of advice.
Like updating your antivirus software twice a year. As well as the steps to mirror similar efforts around changing batteries – like in smoke alarms during daylight saving time. Your organization must invest in cybersecurity training, tools, and talent to minimize risk and ensure company-wide data security. A well-defined cybersecurity awareness training can help significantly reduce risks.
As well as minimize the cost and number of security incidents in your organization. Remember, ignoring or not conducting cybersecurity awareness training regularly can have severe consequences for your business, such as legal penalties, financial loss and cost of remediation, loss of intellectual property, damaged company reputation, loss of customer trust, and more.
You may also consider these references:
- An Ultimate E-learning 12-Month Support Package
- GDPR and Data Protection Act Staff Awareness E-learning Course
- Cyber Security For Remote Workers Staff Awareness E-learning Course
- Simulated Phishing Attack And Staff Awareness Training Programme
- IT Governance Resource Hub | Free Resources On Various Subject Areas
That’s it, ladies and gentlemen! The key to protecting your organization is cybersecurity training. So, create a solid security strategy for your business using some of our guides above. But do you think the awareness is helpful to you, your organization, or even your team force? Feel free to share your opinions, thoughts, suggestions, recommendations, or questions in our comments section.
However, if you need more support from our Cyber Security Awareness team, you can Contact Us and let us know how we can help you. Now that you’ve learned quite a lot from the guidelines above, please share it with other readers. You are also welcome to Donate to support what we do and to motivate our creative content writers for their fantastic blog posts and articles.