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Top 3 Security Awareness Topics for Your Employees

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The importance of cybersecurity awareness in the workplace cannot be overstated. As we enter the final months of 2023, it is crucial for IT bosses to consider what should be included in their security awareness programs for the coming year. Employee training and awareness programs are essential in mitigating the risks of cyber threats, particularly as remote and hybrid work environments continue to blur the lines between personal and professional use of technology.

According to Verizon, 74% of global breaches over the past year involved the “human element,” including error, negligence, or falling victim to phishing and social engineering. Therefore, it is crucial to implement continuous training and awareness programs to change user behaviors for the long term and keep security top of mind for all employees, including temps, contractors, and C-level executives. These programs should be delivered in bite-sized chunks and include simulation or gamification exercises to ensure the messages stick and remain engaging for employees.

As we approach 2024, it is important for IT bosses to consider including three key areas in their cybersecurity awareness programs. These include Business Email Compromise (BEC) and phishing, remote and hybrid working security, and data protection. BEC fraud, often perpetrated through targeted phishing messages, remains a significant threat, resulting in billions of dollars in losses for victims. Training exercises should focus on recognizing and mitigating phishing attempts across different communication channels, including text, voice calls, and new techniques like multi-factor authentication (MFA) bypass.

Additionally, the shift towards remote and hybrid working environments has created new security vulnerabilities, as employees may be more relaxed and distracted when working from home or in public locations. It is essential to educate employees on the importance of security updates, password management, and the use of corporate-approved devices to protect against potential attacks on home networks and public Wi-Fi hotspots. Furthermore, data protection training should emphasize the use of strong encryption, good password management, and the reporting of any incidents to the relevant contacts to ensure compliance with regulations such as GDPR.

While training and awareness programs are a critical component of a cybersecurity strategy, they must be supported by watertight security policies, enforced with strong controls and tools like mobile device management. By focusing on the “people, process, and technology” aspects of cybersecurity, organizations can build a more cybersecure corporate culture and empower employees to become the first line of defense against cyber threats. As we continue to navigate the evolving digital landscape, it is imperative that business leaders prioritize cybersecurity awareness and education to protect their organizations from malicious actors.

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