Organisations need to undertake regular cybersecurity training to develop cybersecurity resilience and educate all employees and the board on how to understand, identify and avoid ever changing and emerging cyberthreats. Operations and management teams must have the latest technical security skills. Security education will enhance an organisation’s cybersecurity, mitigating the impact of any cyberattack due to human error, and increasing responsiveness to cyberthreat.

Prevalence of cyberattacks

In 2023, 70% of data breaches involved human error, such as improper or insufficient testing of software systems and devices. Cybersecurity training alerts employees to the latest cyberthreats so they can identify and mitigate the threats.

However, cybersecurity training is not commonly undertaken by businesses. In 2020, only 1 in 9 businesses (11%) provided cybersecurity awareness programs to employees in non-cyber roles. Although the rate of training has increased over the past year, cybersecurity education needs to become a standard component of all business training programs, particularly given the extensive reliance on digital technology and e-commerce by all businesses which make them more vulnerable to cyberthreats.

Benefits of cybersecurity training

Enhanced security, and mitigating data breach risks

In IBM’s 2023 Cost of a Data Breach report, it was reported that it took an average of 277 days – roughly 9 months – for businesses to identify, report and contain a data breach. Much damage can be done, and cost incurred in that time. This can be reduced by training employees on how to identify a break-in. The likelihood of this risk occurring may also be reduced by implementing security protocols for all employees on devices and networks.

Save time and money

Cybercrime is estimated to cost Australian businesses up to $29 billion each year, with organisations spending over 25 hours to repair compromised systems. Direct and indirect costs of cyberattacks can be significant. Many Australian SMEs do not recover from cyberattacks and the response and remediation costs, including revenue lost from trading downtime and from reputation damage.

Investing in cyber resilience through training is designed to save an organisation considerable time and money in the long run, positioning it to respond effectively to cyberthreats.

Legal compliance

Australia’s privacy laws have undergone significant reform in recent years, with more forecast in 2024. There are an increasing number of regulations governing businesses in relation to protecting and managing data.

If your organisation handles any personal or sensitive information, it must comply with privacy laws. Cybersecurity training enhances privacy awareness and compliance by educating employees and the board on internal data retention and disposal policies, and on their response to a data breach. Training will also improve an organisation’s legal compliance.

Maintain customer loyalty and confidence

Consumer awareness of how their information is used and stored by Australian businesses has substantially increased, placing pressure on businesses to have secure data protection procedures in place.

Studies have shown that 31% of consumers discontinue their relationships with an entity following a data breach and 65% of consumers lose trust in the organisation after a breach. This demonstrates how cyberattacks detrimentally impact customer retention.

When a consumer’s data is mishandled by untrained or unaware employees or subject to a security breach, the resulting media coverage can create consumer wariness and loss of trust. Organisations risk a loss of consumers in these circumstances.  As well as mitigating cyber risks, security awareness training programs can equip employees to deal with dissatisfied customers.

Greater protection with WFH employees

Following COVID-19, remote working has increased substantially with many employees working from home at least one day a week. Home environments usually have limited or no cyber security protections, as organisations do not have direct control over whether employees are connected to secure internet networks, are working in private spaces, and other circumstances that place individuals at a higher of risk of falling victim to attacks such as phishing and ransomware scams. Ensuring individuals who work from home have secure working environments and are aware of how to handle online risks will help to protect your business.

Key training lessons

Cybersecurity training to upskill your workforce’s cyber capability is offered by many different vendors and government agencies. It can be tailored to your specific organisation or be a generic online tool. Whichever you choose, it should cover:

  1. Case Studies – examples of well publicised data breaches – dos and don’ts.
  2. Simulation Exercises – an exercise for staff where a cyber threat is mimicked on your network.
  3. Legal obligations – including key privacy and data protection laws affecting an organisation such as the Australian Privacy Act and UK and EU GDPR.
  4. Couldn’t be me – the optimistic yet damaging mindset of “I won’t be a victim of cybercrime” should be eradicated.
  5. Identity theft – the prevention of identity theft is a necessary element to every form of cybersecurity training.
  6. Passphrases and multi-factor authentication – encourage employees to incorporate passphrases and two-factor authentication to ensure greater security.
  7. Avoiding scams – make employees aware of how to identify and avoid scams like phishing emails.
  8. Malware – include information on the different types of malware and how it can infect their devices.
  9. Organisation Diagnostics – to analyse existing systems and process and policies and identify issues and threats.
  10. Breach recovery – create a breach recovery place for your business and ensure your employees are aware of the protocols. This entails visiting the Office of the Australia Information Commissioner’s (OAIC) website and reporting the breach here.

Cybersecurity certifications

While there are numerous cyber security training programs, its worthwhile doing research on the credentials of the educators to find the right ones for your organisation. You can also consider seeking certification to demonstrate that your organisation is dedicated to improving its security, some examples are:

  1. Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) – the Australian government technical authority on cyber security offering a range of resources including the Information Security Manual and the Essential Eight – cyber security frameworks that organisations can adopt.
  2. ISO 27001 – an internationally recognised standard for information security management.
  3. NIST Cybersecurity Framework – a set of guidelines developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) outlining best practices for managing security risk. While not a certification this is followed by many organisations.

This type of certification can give your board and employees and board confidence in the security of the organisation and its assets. This will translate to client and consumer trust.

Key takeaways

Small and large organisation alike need to implement a regular cybersecurity training program that equips your employees with cyber literacy and resilience so they will have the necessary skills to detect, avoid, combat, and respond to cyberthreats.

Please get in touch with us if you would like our expertise to assist you in planning a structured cybersecurity program or assessing your current training measures.