How to Promote Cyber Security Awareness

Build an Effective Workplace Cyber Security Awareness Program 

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. Cyber Security should be at the forefront of every business leader’s mind in 2022. Incidents of cybercrime are on the rise in both number and scale. But it takes more than an IT guy to ensure the safety of a company’s digital assets and information. Increasing awareness of cyber security in the workplace is a surefire way to combat the uptick in cybercrime. 

In August of this year, it was reported that Google put a stop to a series of HTTPS Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks which peaked at 46 million requests per second. This attack was 76% larger than the previously reported record. A layer 7 DDoS attack sends traffic to consume resources, hampering a website’s ability to deliver content. The scale of this attack was unprecedented; an intricately orchestrated attack by multiple IP addresses from many places around the world. But despite this, thanks to their knowledge and skill, Google was able to thwart the attack. 

But it isn’t just big companies like Google that are at risk of cyber attacks from malicious hackers. There are many types of cyber attacks, from phishing to malware to DDoS. Data breaches are an everyday occurrence and with more companies working remotely and more automation, hackers have more opportunities to access valuable information than ever before. 

What is Cybersecurity Awareness? 

Cybersecurity Awareness means having an understanding of how to protect your digital information, data, assets, etc, from malicious hackers. At a company, this involves empowering every person in your organization to take the steps necessary to protect themselves from cyber security threats. Through a variety of training, tools, resources, and credentialing, employees learn the knowledge necessary for maintaining a secure digital environment. Cyber security awareness in the workplace means that all parties are aware of the types of threats out there, are able to recognize them, and understand how these threats can impact the company. Knowledge is power. A better-informed workforce will be more apt and better equipped to be proactive about their own digital security, thus protecting the company as a whole. 

Cybersecurity Awareness is Critical 

We’ve all learned the importance of using strong passwords, but does everyone in your company follow this guideline? Does everyone use a unique password for different work accounts? And does everyone know the risks of not doing so? Data breaches happen every single day and it’s often due to human error and negligence that they are able to carry out. And cracking passwords is not the only thing hackers are up to. Hackers are SAVVY. As technology changes and adapts, so do hackers. They attack via multiple forms of malware, phishing, Man-in-the-middle, DDoS, SQL Injection, and so many more. Hackers are in every country, seeking new ways to exploit security weaknesses and vulnerabilities and then demand money for the return of YOUR confidential data and information. According to the World Economic

Forum (WEF), in the Global Cybersecurity Outlook, they report that the cost of cyber attacks has grown to approximately $3.6 million per incident in 2022. That same study indicated that it takes an average of 280 days to identify that a theft took place and respond to it. 

And it isn’t just financial theft. Other types of theft are occurring that are often not thought about; intellectual property, espionage, data destruction, core operation attacks, and disabling critical infrastructure are other significant cyber attacks against organizations. These types of cyber attacks can have far-reaching catastrophic impacts on organizations. Not only will they have major financial consequences, but they can also increase your insurance premiums, negatively impact credit scores, disrupt operations, and result in loss of customer trust, loss of contracts, and loss of intellectual property. It is vital to an organization’s security that every member is able to discern between the types of potential threats, is perceptive of possible threats, and can appreciate the risks. 

Steps to Build Workplace Cybersecurity Awareness 

1. Prioritize A Cybersecurity Awareness Program 

Do not wait to start a company-wide initiative to identify and fix weaknesses. Use a fine-tooth comb to assess everyone’s current cybersecurity knowledge and practices and hone in on any departments or people that need better cybersecurity training. Establish a plan to fix any vulnerabilities and put a course of action together for the future. 

2. Engage Management 

Involve higher-ups in your organization to ensure a top-down influence on all employees. Make sure every manager of every department is involved in carrying out your initiatives to boost cybersecurity awareness. This will demonstrate the importance of cybersecurity awareness and best practices and that it should be a priority for everyone. 

3. Use Policy & Procedure to Promote Cybersecurity Best Practices Clearly define the who, what, and why of your cybersecurity awareness program and make this information available to everyone. In addition to typical company operations, policies should be designed and procedures followed that ensure the digital security of company intellectual property, financial information, employee and customer personal information, and all other data. This should include policies and procedures for email, browsing, use of mobile devices, remote access, and anything else that could open up vulnerability to data breaches. All employees should have access to this information. 

4. Implement Cybersecurity Policy From Day One 

Make cybersecurity training part of the onboarding process for all new employees. 5. Ongoing, Mandatory Cybersecurity Awareness Training

No one needs to become a cybersecurity expert. But everyone should be building awareness of cybersecurity on a routine basis. In having ongoing training, employees will be adept at recognizing the warnings and reporting anything suspicious early enough to mitigate potential threats. Training need not be a strain on your budget. There are many resources available to create affordable internal training programs or send one or two people to earn certifications to be conduits of information for the rest of the company. In 2022, it’s not about if an attack will happen to you, but when. So whichever way you work it, build awareness across the board. And make it mandatory. 

6. Cybersecurity Drills 

How do you know for sure if Toby from accounting is going to fall for a phishing scam? Simulate a phishing scam. Providing a variety of cyber attack scenarios gives employees a better understanding of how easy it is to get scammed. It also offers the opportunity to see a variety of ways attacks can occur, improving their ability to discern suspicious activity when it occurs. 

7. Keep Cybersecurity Awareness Training Engaging 

Use print media, emails, and company newsletters as visual reminders. Use posters to show response avenues in the event of suspicious activity, good password practices, and other policies and procedures. Share cybersecurity news as it pertains to your industry to keep staff current and engaged. Alternate types of training with a combination of videos, print resources, and interactive games to keep it interesting. Make training more effective by avoiding technical jargon and targeting people with training pertinent to them. 

The sheer prowess of hackers combined with the multitudinous avenues with which they act is menacing. We may not be able to stop malicious hackers from evil-doing, but we CAN teach ourselves and those around us how to avoid falling prey to their attacks. A cybersecurity awareness program is essential to keeping an organization digitally secure. Cyber Phoenix has a variety of courses to get your training program off the ground.Our Common Cybersecurity Attacks and Defense Strategies course teaches you to recognize the most common and most devastating attacks occurring today. This relevant, timely information is your best weapon against attackers; learn and understand the latest strategies that can and will be used against you. Armed with the knowledge to recognize the attacks, you will be prepared to defend against them. You will transform yourself and your personnel from your greatest vulnerability to your greatest asset in defending your cyberspace. Cyber Phoenix can help you get started.