Cyber crime will cost companies an estimated $10.5 trillion by as soon as 2025, according to a recent study. Keep in mind that this number isn’t in total – that’s the cost that organizations around the world will collectively face every single year. That’s up from just $3 trillion from a few short years ago in 2015. If you needed a single statistic to underline the importance of cyber security for businesses and personal users alike, let it be that one.
But to make matters worse, according to the State of Cyber Security Report issued by the Ponemon Institute, small and medium-sized businesses in particular are the prime targets for these attackers. Roughly 66% of those who responded to a survey said they had experienced some type of cyber attack within the last 12 months. Not only that, but about 45% said that their existing processes were ineffective at mitigating these attacks. At that point, becoming a victim of a hacker or other individual with malicious intentions isn’t a question of “if” but “when” – pointing to a situation that needs to be addressed at all costs.
That, in essence, is why the importance of ongoing cyber security training and education is vital. There is no organization that is “too small” or “too inconsequential” to attract the attention of these rogue actors. Likewise, there’s nothing you can really do to prevent becoming a target. But you can go a long way towards stopping yourself from becoming a victim, which is really what cyber security training and education are all about.
The Power of Cyber Security Training: Breaking Things Down
Not too long ago, a study was conducted to try to determine where this influx of cyber attacks were coming from. While it’s absolutely true that a significant percentage of them began with outside actors – meaning people from outside your organization who want to do you and your people harm – an alarming 60% were actually the result of “company insiders.”
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the attacks were malicious in nature. Yes, it’s true that an employee who suddenly leaves your organization could take an incredible amount of valuable data with them. But about 15.5% of the cyber attacks looked at in the study were caused inadvertently.
To put it another way, if you want someone to be able to defend against something like a phishing attempt, they need to know
A) what one looks like, and
B) what to do if that rogue email should suddenly wind up in their inbox.
If you don’t want someone to click on a link in an email from a suspicious sender or download an attachment, they need to be expressly trained about this kind of thing. The stakes are far too high to leave any of this to chance and you really cannot assume that people are bringing this type of information with them on-the-job.
Another study breaks things down further, indicating that human error is behind most of the successful cyber attacks that have taken place over the last few years. As many as 95% of all cyber attacks were the direct result of a phishing scam, for example. But to make matters worse, about 78% of employees say that they’re well aware of the risks of clicking on something like a suspicious link in an email… but they’re probably going to do so anyway.
That’s another one of the major reasons why investing in a cyber security course or similar training seminar for those in a leadership position is always a good idea. Not only will it help instill within them the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully navigate the dangers of the digital era, but it will go a long way towards protecting everything you’ve worked so hard to build at the same time.
Note, however, that this isn’t just important for your rank employees. Successful cyber security plans begin with company leadership and work their way down. Courses like those outlined above give organizational decision-makers the ability to recommend a cyber security leadership plan, for example. They instill within them the skills needed to develop a cyber risk mitigation strategy that takes into account the unique threats that they face. They allow them to build a practical, holistic understanding of cyber security and its inherent value – which in and of itself is the most important goal of all.
In the end, remember that cyber security is not something you “do once and forget about.” Cyber security training and education will be just as important a year from now as it is today. All of these lessons need to be installed within your workers on a regular and ongoing basis if you’re going to be able to stay safe moving forward.
Author | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!