It’s cliche in the IT industry, but it’s true.

Your employees are your biggest vulnerability.

At Proactive IT, we’re all about securing your network, encrypting your data, and making sure your endpoint protection is up-to-date.

But we can’t prevent employee error.

Employee cybersecurity training is crucial because the most secure network in the world can’t protect your business from things like a spear-phishing scam or a stolen laptop.

What’s more, if you’re a small business, Symantec’s most recent Internet Security Threat Report highlights your risk for attacks that prey on employee error. Symantec says…

“In 2018, employees of small organizations were more likely to be hit by email threats—including spam, phishing, and email malware—than those in large organizations.”

Let me back up that statement with some numbers.

Symantec reveals that 1 in 556 emails was malicious if the organization had 2,501 or more employees.

That ratio rises to 1 in 391 if the number of employees was 501 to 1,000.

That ratio increases further—hitting 1 in 323 if the number of employees was 250 or less.  

All that to say, if you’re a small- to medium-sized business owner, employee error is something you should care about deeply.

Here are three situations that demonstrate why your employees need cybersecurity training:  

#1: An employee unwittingly surrenders sensitive information.

It happens over and over again: Employees willingly give away their usernames and passwords—or other sensitive information.

In an old-school attack, your employee might receive a fake Microsoft email that “alerts” your employee of a security breach. The email asks your employee to log into his email account for security purposes. For a more unusual example, check out this article which recounts how an employee was tricked into “[sending] out 1,300 confidential employee W-2 data.”  

Either way, the goal is to get your employee to comply and hand over sensitive information.

Perhaps you’re thinking that your team wouldn’t fall for this trap. But don’t discount the likelihood of employee error.  

The organization behind the 2019 State of the Phish Report, commenting on data from its Security Education Platform, explains…

“We observed a 9% average failure rate across all simulated phishing campaign styles and all industries.”

In other words, nine times out of 100, an individual took some fake phishing “bait.” And unless you educate your employees, they may do the same—but with actual phishing emails.

#2: An employee works from home but doesn’t follow cybersecurity best practices.  

If you’re a small business, you might encourage your employees to work from home.  

Maybe it reduces your overhead. Or perhaps it allows you to provide a perk that competes against the bigger benefits offered by larger companies.

But here’s what you need to realize.

Remote workers can jeopardize your data security—especially if they haven’t received employee cybersecurity training.

In one survey, OpenVPN found that “more than one-third of organizations (36 percent) have experienced a security incident because of a remote worker’s actions.”

Without education, a remote employee may accidentally expose your business information to cybercriminals looking for an easy target.

#3: An employee opens a business account with a compromised password.   

It wasn’t too long ago since we warned that employees can endanger your organization with lax password security. In that article, we weren’t talking about some hypothetical problem.

It’s a real issue that needs to be addressed by employee cybersecurity training.

According to OpenVPN, “25 percent of employees reuse the same password for everything.”

This spells trouble for any business owner.

Let’s say your accountant doesn’t know that she fell for a phishing scam. A hacker now has access to her email username and password.

That’s bad enough.

But suppose she recently switched your company to new accounting software. She now creates an account with those same email credentials. Unless your system uses two-factor authentication, a hacker can easily log into your accounting system—and freely harvest your sensitive information.  

Countering Employee Error with Cybersecurity Training

Dealing with employee error isn’t as simple as encrypting your data or locking down your network.  

You need to help your team understand the threats, spot the bad guys, and steer clear of cybersecurity traps.

At Proactive IT, we can help you lessen the likelihood of employee error with employee cybersecurity training and testing. Below are a few benefits you’ll enjoy through our educational offering…

#1. Targeted Training

There’s no need to wonder what risks to prepare your employees for. Your team will enjoy convenient online training that covers topics ranging from phishing to password security.

#2. Phishing Tests

Get a glimpse into your organizational vulnerability or preparedness. Your employee cybersecurity training includes testing that gauges how susceptible your employees are to phishing attacks.  

#3. Reporting

There’s no need to micromanage your employee training. Instead, access the numbers you need with reporting.      

To learn more about our employee education, contact us online or give us a call at 704-464-3075.