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  • 12 September 2023
  • 5 min read

Why is employee awareness important?

Why is employee awareness important? The role of eLearning courses and awareness materials and how to address employee awareness gaps.
FAQ Series Why is employee awareness important

The importance and significance of employee awareness in relation to robust cyber security measures cannot be overstated.

Common cyber threats are constantly on the rise and, rather worryingly, they are becoming more sophisticated and relentless with each passing day. We must also keep in mind that new threats and risks are popping up every single week; for example, in 2023 we have seen the increased use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and deepfake technology in devastating cyber-attacks.

This escalating threat landscape demands a proactive approach to cyber security, and one of the most critical components of this strategy is employee awareness.

Why is employee awareness important?

Cyber security is not solely the responsibility of the IT department. It is a collective effort that involves every employee within an organisation. This is where the importance of employee awareness comes into play.

  • Human error as a top threat: If there is one consistent fact everyone in the cyber security space is aware of, it is the 95% of cyber breach responsibility attached to human error. This percentage has been consistent for many years and, in truth, is going to stay that way. Employees often unknowingly engage in activities that compromise security, such as clicking on malicious links, falling for phishing scams, or mishandling sensitive information. Human error will always be one of the leading causes of data breaches and cyber incidents, but employee awareness is how we can minimise it within your organisation.
  • Insider threats: Malicious insiders, employees with ill intent, pose a significant risk to organisations. Detecting and preventing insider threats requires a heightened sense of awareness among all employees.
  • Compliance and regulatory requirements: For organisations handling sensitive data, compliance with various data protection regulations like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), the UK’s Data Protection Act, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability), or CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) is non-negotiable. Employees need to understand the implications of non-compliance and their role in maintaining regulatory standards.
  • Protecting intellectual property: In an age where intellectual property is often more valuable than physical assets, safeguarding sensitive company information is paramount. Employee awareness is key to ensuring that proprietary data remains secure.
  • Raising the cyber resilience bar: Cyber resilience is an organisation's ability to bounce back from a cyber-attack swiftly. Employees who are trained and aware of potential threats can help mitigate risks and reduce the impact of an attack. At TSC, we are sticklers for raising the cyber security and awareness baseline of an organisation. Often, we help organisations by first assessing the current level of their security consciousness, with particular focus on pinpointing any gaps in structure and knowledge … then we advise organisations on what solutions they need to implement with recommendations that consider diverse communication channels, languages, departments and so much more.
  • Cost reduction: Cyber incidents can have a severe monetary impact, from legal fees and fines to reputation damage and lost business. Effective employee awareness programs can significantly reduce the likelihood of costly security breaches.

The role of eLearning courses and awareness materials

To address these challenges effectively, organisations need to invest in cyber security training and awareness initiatives. eLearning courses and awareness materials play a pivotal role in achieving this goal.

  • Customised training: Yes, eLearning courses can be tailored to the specific needs of an organisation, but we value a heightened level of customisation. We encourage organisations to customise learning based on department, languages, and diverse ways of learning. Customised or fully bespoke learning (a service we are delighted to offer) means employees receive training that is directly relevant to their role, their department, and the specific threats they might encounter.
  • Scalability: eLearning allows organisations to scale their training efforts effortlessly, accommodating a growing workforce without a significant increase in resource allocation. Furthermore, as employees complete assessment-backed eLearning, you gain valuable information on what risks and threats need more focus and which ones are not as big a problem as you initially thought. You can then adapt and scale your cyber security program for even better targeting.
  • Consistency: Training materials are consistent, ensuring that all employees receive the same level of education about cyber security best practices. There is no substitute for consistently delivered training and awareness materials, especially if they are deployed in a timely manner to educate employees around holidays and prime period for threat actor activity. We offer subscription models for smaller organisations that want to deliver monthly or quarterly materials to their workforce for this very reason.
  • Remote accessibility: In today's remote work environment, eLearning materials can be accessed from anywhere, enabling continuous education regardless of an employee's location.
  • Interactive learning: Many of our eLearning courses offer interactive elements, making the learning experience engaging and memorable. We gamify, we add assessments, we add scenario-based exercises; these initiatives add a layer to the learning process and transform the learning from a task into interaction. Employees then view the learning as personal development, rather than doing a favour for the corporate structure.
  • Measurable results: Our eLearning courses provide tools to track employee progress, enabling organisations to measure the effectiveness of their training efforts to then inform future decisions.

Addressing employee awareness gaps

To bridge the awareness gap effectively, consider the following strategies:

  • Regular training: Conduct regular cyber security training sessions to keep employees refreshed and informed about evolving threats and best practices.
  • Simulated exercises: Test employee readiness with simulated campaigns for things like phishing and metaverse surfing to identify weak links and provide additional training where needed.
  • Awareness campaigns: Launch awareness campaigns to reinforce the importance of cyber security and create a culture of security within the organisation.
  • Incident response drills: Practice incident response scenarios to ensure that employees know how to react in case of a security incident.

In conclusion, employee awareness is a critical pillar of cyber security defence. Investing in eLearning courses and awareness materials tailored to your organisation's needs is not just a cyber security best practice; it is a strategic imperative.

With a workforce that is well-informed and vigilant, organisations can significantly reduce the risk of cyber threats, protect their valuable assets, and build a strong defence against the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape.

If you would like informationabout how The Security Company can help you to formulate a cyber security training and awareness program for your organisation or if you would like to assess your organisation's security culture across five dimensions with insightful data ... please contact our Head of Business Development and Sales,  Jenny Mandley.

The Security Company's vast library of customised and non-customised products and services are tailored for small, medium and large organisations and are available in a variety of languages. We also offer bespoke solutions for organisations that desire training and awareness materials built from the ground up.

Written by
Nas Ali
Cyber security and awareness content creator focused on emerging threats and the next wave of cyber security risks like AI, deepfakes and tech 4.0 initiatives in order to build towards a more secure organisational culture.
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