Why Employees Need Cybersecurity Training

When it comes to cybersecurity, many businesses find themselves several steps behind hackers. IT teams are among the first in the line of defense against attacks, making it crucial for them to understand current trends, emerging threats and potential vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity training prepares your IT staff to face the growing challenges associated with network management and data protection. That said, IT staff are not the only individuals who need cybersecurity training to protect their organizations. Many other “non-IT staff” who happen to be “super users” with highly privileged access are constantly under attacks by hackers who are drooling over passwords and system access to commit their fraud scheme through phishing attacks and other social engineering methods.

Rapidly Changing Threat Landscape

Hackers are getting smarter and more elusive, but they don’t need to be well-versed in cybercrime to do serious damage to business networks. Thanks to community activity on the dark web, any enterprising amateur can buy malware and deploy it with little or no modification across the complex collection of devices many modern companies are using. Remote work, the increased adoption of cloud services and a growing reliance on AI and machine learning is creating networks that reach far beyond the walls of corporate offices, and it only takes a single infected device to cause widespread havoc.

Hackers can also utilize dark web services, termed “crime-as-a-service,” to test attack codes and get help modifying their creations to fly under the radar. Such malware is still being deployed using well-known methods like phishing, but other types of threats are becoming more common. From “swarm” attacks relying on self-learning technology to an increase in cryptojacking and cryptomining, your IT team needs to become familiar with hackers’ new tricks. 

More Vulnerabilities, Fewer Patches 

The August 2018 Threat Landscape Report from Fortinet revealed 96 percent of firms have experienced at least one severe exploit, and the number of zero-day attacks appears to be on the rise. Zero-day vulnerabilities are newly discovered issues for which software companies haven’t yet had time to release patches, and these are of particular interest to hackers. 

With nearly 104,000 vulnerabilities identified in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) index, your business likely hasn’t patched every possible area of weakness across your network. When you add in the problem of zero-day attacks, just about every organization has some form of vulnerability about which it should be concerned. You need a savvy IT team with the skills to detect potential breach activity and launch the appropriate countermeasures. 

Numerous Threats from Insider Errors

Human error is responsible for 95 percent of breaches, which is why insider threats are such a big concern for any business. Simply educating employees about phishing scams could prevent the majority of attacks, but as hackers begin to use AI technology to create increasingly realistic spoof emails, your staff needs more than basic security training. 

Bringing cybersecurity education beyond the IT team ensures your employees know what hackers are up to and enables them to work with the IT department to detect and report potential threats. When employees recognize scam emails and other unusual behavior on the network, they can report it to IT staff right away, minimizing the chances of a full-blown attack. 

Identity and Access Management Challenges

Handling user identities and controlling access requires your IT team to:

• Assess and address other potential vulnerabilities 
• Create appropriate protocols to manage complex workflows 
• Ensure proper provisioning and deprovisioning 
• Manage privileged access
• Purge orphaned accounts 

Tools are available to automate several of these processes, but since IT administrators are among those with privileged access, they need to understand the risks associated with accounts granting high-level entrance into the network. 

Compliance Isn’t Enough

While compliance is important to avoid penalties and provide peace of mind for your customers regarding how their data is handled, it’s far from adequate when it comes to protecting your network. Your IT team needs to know more than how to meet compliance standards if they’re to be equipped to handle emerging threats.

Did you know most compliance standards are already two or more years out of date before they’re issued? By the time widespread adoption of these “new” regulations is achieved, hackers have developed additional threats not covered by the guidelines. Plus, hackers are well aware of how compliance standards work and can use them to map out attack plans based on the vulnerabilities a “compliance-only” policy is likely to create. Therefore, it’s essential to go beyond compliance and create security protocols your IT team can follow to stop hackers in their tracks regardless of whether a particular type of attack has been addressed by regulators. 

Ongoing cybersecurity training keeps your IT team on top of emerging threats and minimizes the risk of your company falling victim to a breach. By providing additional training for the rest of the staff, you empower every employee to work with confidence and contribute to protecting the data and applications on which your daily operations rely. The benefits of cybersecurity education outweigh the costs of breach remediation, making training one of the smartest investments for businesses.

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