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Cyber Security Awareness Training is Everyone's Business

Fraud, spear phishing, executive impersonation and wire-fraud scams are just a few of the attacks that target people rather than systems.

Although “technical hack” still occurs, security researchers agree more and more attacks are now focused on individuals being targeted in their emails. Many of these attacks are difficult to be stopped by even advanced email filters.

Businesses have robust firewalls, anti-virus softwares, and other cyber security programs protecting the network, but they are not enough to prevent data breaches, cyber attacks, and internal threats.

So, we’re left in the unfortunate situation where, for certain types of cyberattacks, the end user is the most important layer of defense. However, in many organizations, the prevailing view among leaders and employees is that IT security is the sole domain and responsibility of the technology staff.

In reality, there are as many different cybersecurity specialties as there are different physician specialties. It is not possible to hire one physician to treat all patients. To mitigate cyberattack, executives should not expect to hire one specialist to effectively cope with all cybersecurity needs. For example, cybersecurity managers are needed for strategic leadership, to manage the risk analysis process, educate the workforce, and develop programs. Security architects and engineers design solutions and implement new technology. Other security professionals operate the technical systems, manage vendors and  audit/monitor results. All of the professionals above require different training, certifications, skills, and experience.

Even if you have all the above professionals, leaving the security to them still creates a major gap between the reality of the threats and the defenses in place, which sadly leads to successful attacks against organizations every day. The stack truth is that cybersecurity is everyone’s business. All users of cyber systems must be involved in cyber protection.

Sometimes referred to as the human firewall, a motivated and cyber-aware workforce is as important as the technological defense of the organization. The good news is, relative to other cybersecurity expenditures, a robust security awareness training program is fairly inexpensive, especially when considering the amount of risk, it mitigates. The major challenge is securing the executives buy-in and organizational-wide commitment.

A good security awareness training program should be conducted annually followed by periodic refresher sessions. A properly prepared training program should focus on topics that are important to individuals as well as the business. The package should be practical, interactive and lively. A half day programme should suffice, generally, lengthy and crowded programmes are assessed to be counter-productive. Focus should be on what to do, why and how. This helps to keep the learners engaged and motivated.

Training should focus on identifying the types of attacks which cyber systems users are most likely to encounter. If cybersecurity is a clear priority for leadership, the entire workforce will take it more seriously. This begins with company leaders seeing the opportunities to be lost in business discontinuity following any major cyberattack compared to costs involved in preparing the workforce against the threat.

Cyberattack is a potential “killer risk” for businesses, governments and individuals. Cyber security awareness, prevention and protection training is a solution no serious entity should ignore.

Jacob Adeosun

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