The first step in ensuring your company’s information is safe is being aware of the security risks your business faces every day.
The computing industry is forever changing and information security is becoming a core factor in every aspect of business. However, with changes occurring on a day-to-day basis, it can be tricky for companies to keep up to date, and can leave businesses out of the loop, and in regards to IT security, vulnerable to attack.
With this in mind, in this article we’ll be taking a closer look at security awareness training, finding out what it is, why it is useful, and which top certifications you or your employees can gain to ensure your business’ sensitive information is safe.
What is Security Awareness Training?
Security awareness training is a key part of business infrastructure, and revolves around training and educating staff about IT security. This can include policies, procedures, certifications, and training sessions, which employees can use to ensure they are handling data correctly and making use of top security practices.
Security awareness training is essential for good business practice, as it was recently discovered by IBM that a whopping 25% of all security breaches are actually caused by employees.
For some smaller businesses that don’t handle large amounts of sensitive data, this can be as simple as making sure staff do not leave computers unattended without locking them, or ensuring passwords are not shared.
In larger businesses, or companies that deal with sensitive information such as banking details or consumer data, security awareness practices will need to be more stringent. This will likely require the training and certification of key staff members to ensure standards remain high.
What Makes Security Awareness Training So Important?
In an ideal world, businesses could trust that with a few simple passwords their information would be safe from harm. However, in reality we all know that some malicious individuals and groups will go to great lengths to get their hands on your company’s data, which can then be used to scam, harm, and profit from your customers and client base. In some cases, it can even cause a media scandal.
This means that staff are a key line of defense in the battle against data criminals, and should be properly utilized to keep cyber-attacks at bay. In order to do that, they need the proper training.
Your Next Security Awareness Training Steps
For some small businesses, or businesses which don’t tend to handle secure data, a simple staff briefing or training meeting every few months is likely to suffice.
However, larger businesses or businesses that frequently utilize sensitive information need to up their game, and should ideally have a team of highly trained security professionals that can administer necessary training to the wider workforce. This team should also be the first people you call should a breach occur.
There are a variety of courses to choose from, and they vary in experience level as well as specialism.
For example, if your business model incorporates the use of cloud systems or databases, having a security professional focused in this area could be more beneficial than a technician qualified in general security practices.
In general, the training option selected will vary from business to business, but overall some of the top security certifications include:
- EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- CompTia Security +
- MCA Microsoft 365 Security Administrator
- MCSE: Core Infrastructure (Security)
- (ISC)² CISSP
- MCA Microsoft Azure Security Engineer
- Comptia Advanced Security Practitioner
While some experienced individuals may be able to pass the exam(s) required with some home study, for many professionals an accompanying training course is essential. This can sometimes be a worry for small businesses, who often cannot do without a core member of their team. However, many training services offer both onsite and offsite learning, meaning your team member can be close at hand at all times!
A training course is also essential because it ensures that participants have an in-depth understanding of the subjects studied – and not a targeted surface-level view as those which take the exam alone may have.
Investing in the Future
For some smaller or growing businesses, the cost of comprehensive staff training may seem expensive at first, but it is important to remember that you are investing in the future of your company and your staff.
Remember that one well-trained and certified individual can bring your whole team’s knowledge and understanding of security awareness up to standard, and can effectively train your workforce in best practices.
When it comes to IT security, it truly is worth investing in preventative measures such as staff training. It is almost guaranteed that the cost to your company will be far less than the cost of a severe security breach, which could lose not only vital business data, but customers.
A breach can even damage your overall credibility and consumer perception which can take years to recoup and can even cause a business to fail. Helping your staff become aware of security risks is the first step in preventing a breach.