Training Employees to Resist Ransomware Traps Works

Training Employees to Resist Ransomware Traps Works

Security awareness training may not be flashy or cutting-edge, but it is a very effective (and affordable) way to reduce an organization’s risk of a data breach, compliance failure, or damaging security incident like a ransomware attack. Organizations that conduct regular security awareness training have significantly fewer security incidents than organizations that don’t train or don’t train regularly. Those benefits are across the board, preventing trouble from all kinds of cyberattacks, including ransomware, and adding additional training around ransomware is a great way to reduce risk in that area even more. So why are so few organizations doing it?

A Small Investment in Training Brings Big Benefits

Training employees around specific cybercrime and compliance risks seems like a no-brainer. After all, companies spend their training dollars wisely when they train their employees to be aware of the specific security and compliance threats that they face every day. But many organizations aren’t maximizing their training spending by ensuring that they’re training around specific risks that employees will encounter. A measly 36% of organizations in a recent study reported that they train their employees to face a specific risk like ransomware. Why is it important for your company to conduct security awareness training? Because you really want to reap these benefits!

Fewer Security Incidents

Increasing training decreases the number of security incidents that companies have because educated employees are less likely to make mistakes and more likely to know what to do if they suspect trouble. Companies that engage in regular security awareness training have 70% fewer security incidents.

Lowered Overall Security Risk

Organizations enjoy a major boost to cybersecurity in every area when employees understand that security is everyone’s job. Overall security-related risks are reduced by 70% when businesses invest in cybersecurity awareness training.

Decreased Phishing Risk 

Phishing is today’s top security threat, and employees aren’t good at noticing that an email isn’t legitimate without training. When employees can confidently spot and avoid phishing traps, companies win. Security awareness training improves phishing awareness by an estimated 40%.

Reduced Compliance Costs

The price of compliance failure is high and growing every year. But companies that engage in regular security and compliance training save money on compliance. A corporate data security training program saves businesses an average of $2.54 million in costs.

A Strong Security Culture 

Building a strong security culture is key to encouraging employees to pay attention to smart security practices and adhere to compliance policies and procedures. 93% of employees said that well-planned employee training programs positively affect their level of engagement.

What is at the Heart of a Ransomware Awareness Training Program?

Good training starts with a strong foundation. Remember that employees who aren’t in cybersecurity roles may not even be aware of some threats. Only an estimated 30% of internet users even know what ransomware or malware is. That’s why any security awareness training effort has to start with explaining what a threat like ransomware is in simple, laymen’s terms, not geek-speak. Only after this bedrock is established can a company start training employees to watch out for potential ransomware attacks and threats.

Don’t ignore signs that the training group may not fully grasp a concept or threat. If even one person seems hazy on something basic like what ransomware or phishing is, explain it again, using different words or materials. It is critical that everyone is on the same page with basic concepts for two reasons. In the first place, if an employee doesn’t understand a threat, they’re not going to actually be aware of it or be equipped to spot signs of something like a ransomware attack. Second, making sure everyone is clear on the basics ensures that employees who don’t understand but think they do aren’t spreading misinformation, wasting the money and time spent on training. With misinformation, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Start with a Security and Compliance Awareness Training Policy

Skipping this step in establishing your program is a mistake. Set the program up for success by creating a policy that codifies the scope, requirements, and nature of the security and compliance awareness training program in simple, clear language. These tips can help:

  • Divide employees into training groups based on the level of training required by their duties to ensure that everyone is receiving the right training about risks and compliance.
  • Determine what training is required to keep your company compliant with regulatory and legal requirements and who needs to be trained in those areas.
  • Get executive buy-in on the policies, schedules, requirements, consequences, and budget for your security awareness training program before beginning it.
  • Make sure that everyone knows that they are required to complete their assigned training with no exceptions no matter what their position within the organization.
  • Nail down when the program and policy will be reviewed, and your KPIs to determine the program’s effectiveness, and who is empowered to make changes.
  • Avoid confusion by documenting every facet of the training program including how to access training, schedules, and testing requirements, and make it accessible to everyone.
  • Select a security and compliance training solution that allows you to customize training around specific threats like ransomware as well as your organization’s unique security and compliance needs.

Design a Curriculum for Your Organization’s Unique Needs

Figure out which security and compliance risks employees face. Some are very general for every industry like phishing and ransomware. But individual businesses or employee job types could have risks that are specialized, like ransomware carried by malicious invoices. The answers to these five questions can help you make smart choices about what to teach the participants in your program.

  • “What behavior do we want to reinforce?”
  • “What are our most common industry security risks?”
  • “What critical compliance needs must be met now?”
  • “Are there compliance changes ahead that we need to incorporate?”
  • “What skill or skills do we want the audience to learn and apply?”

After you’ve answered those questions for each of your training groups, you should be able to confidently select the right topics to meet the needs and requirements of those groups, especially if different training groups are facing compliance with different regulatory requirements. Does only one group need training about GDPR? Is everyone getting training about resisting phishing? Laying out the exact training curriculum for each group makes sure that those needs are met. It’s also important to make sure that the courses or training materials that you’re using will get the job done effectively. If your training isn’t memorable or interesting, employees will sleepwalk through it and retain nothing.

Source: ID Agent

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