What is cyber security awareness and how can it benefit businesses?

3 months ago

As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Human error has consistently remained one of the leading causes of cyber security incidents and data breaches. Moreover, cyber security threats are consistently adapting and maturing making them hard to avoid. However, businesses can fight back and protect themselves against security threats. Partnering with an MSP like Milnsbridge, adopting an SOE (secure operating environment), implementing next-gen antivirus and raising awareness around cyber security within your team are all fundamental aspects of IT security. 

What is cyber security awareness? 

Cyber security is essentially the ways in which data, software and online systems are protected from cyber threats such as malware, viruses and hacking. By extension, cyber security awareness enables an individual to understand what cyber threats are and the damage they pose to a business. On top of this, cyber security awareness should also provide an individual with steps to prevent a cyber security incident. 

What are the types of cyber security awareness? 

There are many ways that cyber security awareness can be conducted within the workplace. These include: 

  • Training 
    As previously pointed out, human error accounts for a majority of business cyber security incidents. With this in mind, some organisations proactively participate in cyber security awareness training. This training could be a third party such as an MSP outlining the ways to spot cyber security issues and the vulnerabilities that cyber attacks often target. 
  • Simulations 
    Some businesses send out a fake email to employees containing a dodgy link to simulate a real phishing scenario. The program will then capture which people clicked the link and they will subsequently be flagged to complete cyber security training. 
  • General awareness and education 
    More general and ongoing awareness is also an option. Partnering with an MSP such as Milnsbridge means you have a range of cyber security resources at your fingertips including engineers, a Service Desk and written content outlining ways to avoid cyber crime and how to spot a phishing email.  

Why is this important? 

It is no longer sufficient to assume your team understands cyber security. It is a concept that is continually changing and sophisticating to avoid security measures. Therefore, ongoing and rigorous compliance and awareness is imperative for any business. This doesn’t just protect your team; it also protects your business. Data breaches can result in costly downtime. Sensitive company data and client information can also be scraped, published or sold, irreparably damaging your reputation and trust. Adding another layer of complexity are privacy laws such as the Notifiable Data Breach scheme and the European GDPR laws. These laws prescribe certain actions and responsibilities that must be carried out following a data breach. Moreover, the GDPR laws can also carry fines for non-compliance.  

Creating awareness of cyber security threats within your team can therefore negate entirely avoidable security incidents. In turn, you can avoid costly downtime, the risk of losing client trust and getting entangled in privacy laws.

Infographic highlighting the cost of cyber crime on businesses
The cost of cyber crime to Australian businesses via Australian Government cyber crime resources

What kind of things will you encounter in cyber security training?  

The type of training you will encounter in a cyber threat awareness programs will mostly consist of things to do with human error. This could include behavioural patterns and common mistakes. Some of the things you could encounter in cyber security training might include: 

  • Phishing scams and email spoofing 
    Phishing and email spoofing are some of the most common security risks within businesses that are entirely reliant on social engineering and human error. An example of a phishing/spoofing email may be receiving an email seemingly from your boss asking you to click what seems like a zoom link for example. The link will then subsequently download a virus onto your computer and encrypt the sensitive business data stored on the device. These types of threats are incredibly common and can simply be avoided with basic training. To read more about how to spot a phishing email click here. 
  • Password malpractice 
    Another incredibly common cyber security issue is password malpractice. Password malpractice includes weak passwords (easy to guess, not complex), reusing passwords, incorrectly storing passwords and sharing login information within an organisation. Neglecting to instill password policies can result in passwords easily becoming compromised or guessed, subsequently resulting in unauthorised access to sensitive company data. 
  • Dodgy links 
    Clicking dodgy links can still snag unsuspecting people. Most prevalently, dodgy links trick people in spoofed emails that appear to be coming from a trusted and known sender. Simple tricks such as hovering over a suspicious link to see whether the link and address match up could be promoted in cyber security training. Other social practices such as calling or checking with the sender before clicking a suspicious link may also be promoted. 
  • Carelessness 
    Lending company devices out, accidentally BCC’ing and other typical human behavioural mishaps can also account for security incidents. However, these practices may not always appear to be dangerous to an individual. Cyber security training can reverse behavioural practices that can weaken an organisation’s security. 

Beyond awareness 

Cyber threat awareness reduces the risk of human error causing a security incident within your organisation. But being aware of risks and how to prevent them is just aspect that makes up a wider secure operating environment. Partnering with an MSP such as Milnsbridge Managed IT Services ensures that your security is seamless and up to date. An MSP can also provide your business with top-of-the-line products such as next-gen antivirus, threat intelligence as well as compliance and testing services. To read more about Milnsbridge’s Managed Security Services, click here. 

Cyber security awareness programs is a worthy investment. Hoping that your team can spot a threat is no longer enough. It is in an organisation’s best interests to raise awareness and education around cyber threats in order to protect their reputation and data. If you would like to know more about your cyber security footprint or Managed Services in general, call us now on 1300 300 293. 

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