Mistakes happen. Whether, personally or professionally, mistakes will happen. In business, most of us can relate to the experience of calling a coworker by the wrong name, spilling our coffee, or even showing up to work with our shirt on inside out. While these minor "oops" moments may cause some embarrassment, there are other mistakes that can have much larger and more costly consequences—especially when it comes to cybersecurity.

One wrong click or error in judgment can mean closing the doors to your business for good—that is not an exaggeration. Cyber criminals are constantly trying to trick unsuspecting employees by using social engineering tactics like phishing emails. In fact, they aren’t just trying, they are succeeding as social engineering plays a factor in 99% of cyber attacks.

Symantec estimates that one in every 2,000 emails sent is a phishing attack. This means that 135 million attacks are attempted each day. In other words, the odds of your business being the next target in a cyber attack has never been higher.

And, despite the gigantic risk small businesses face today, only a small percentage have “bought in” to cybersecurity.

Small businesses typically fail to invest in cybersecurity for two reasons…

  1. Small businesses worry that in order to achieve worthwhile protection, it will require a large sum of money that they don’t have room for in their budget.
  2. Small businesses don’t believe the threat is big enough or real enough to actually affect them and come knocking on their door. 

Of course, there are organizations that do take cybersecurity very seriously and have introduced improved security measures. Yet there always seems to be one area of cybersecurity where businesses remain vulnerable. Even with the latest cybersecurity tools and protections, many are still breached due to this one simple mistake.

They don’t train their employees.

If your employees are not aware of the sneaky tactics that cyber criminals use or understand IT best practices, your business is at serious risk.

Here’s why…

Cyber criminals make a living off of our mistakes—they really do. They influence people into taking unfavorable actions by playing on their emotions, especially fear.     

Imagine this, you arrive at work, excited to start the day. As you are getting settled in, you receive an email disguised as a message from your bank. You read the email which informs you that your account has been compromised and requires your attention immediately.

Fear sets in, “oh no, not my account!” You quickly click the link in the email to find out more. This directs you to a website where you are asked to authenticate your banking information, potentially even your Social Security number—while this seems out of the ordinary right now, when you’re in the moment, people fall for it.

As you guessed, the website is fake. The link in the email was a tactic that allowed a hacker to collect your personal info to harm you directly or sell to other bad actors for an easy paycheck. Regardless of the intent, your information is now in the hands of a crook and you potentially just opened Pandora’s Box on your business.

The problem is that hackers have gotten very good at making emails and websites look like genuine communications and legitimate landing pages. Long gone are the days of easily identifiable phishing attempts—you remember when scammers used to send emails claiming they were Arabian princes looking for a sponsor. Cyber criminals are much more sophisticated today, they understand trends and how to use these tendencies to be effective in their malicious acts.

This is why your employees need to be prepared.

Cybersecurity training for your employees is critically important to the safety and success of your business. A consistent approach to training should be applied to help your employees stay up to date on hackers' latest tactics while also making it easier to recognize red flags. When your employees have been properly trained, there are minor details that will help them quickly identify whether an email is a scam or real.

However, cybersecurity training doesn’t stop at phishing emails. Effective cybersecurity training should include:

Simulated phishing emails and phone call scams

Password best practices

Multilayered backup plans for employee devices

Incident reports & business continuity plans

Compliance with regulatory, state, and federal laws

Updated software and hardware

It is also very important to note that effective cybersecurity training isn’t a one time thing. It should be a quarterly initiative to continuously remind employees of the threats that exist and share new methods hackers are using to wreak havoc on businesses. It’s really no different from how you continue to invest in your development as an employee—learning new things, staying on top of trends, and acquiring skills that further yourself as a true professional. Today, in our digital world, cybersecurity awareness needs to be one of those “things” that you prioritize and continue to educate yourself and team members on.

At the end of the day, employees are the first line of defense against cyber threats. When you understand what you are up against, you will be in a much better position and more prepared to shut down cyber-related issues before they even have the opportunity to arise.

So train your employees and don’t look back! A lack of cybersecurity education is the most obvious threat to the security of your business and network. More often than not, a cyber incident starts with an unsuspecting employee. An effective cybersecurity training program will not only bring peace of mind to business owners and executives, but prepare your employees for the very real cyber threats they face daily.

It Is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month!

And there never has been a more appropriate time to introduce cybersecurity best practices, critical protections, and effective cybersecurity training to your business.

While this can seem like a lot. You don’t have to do it alone!

For the past 35 years, One Step Secure IT has been dedicated to helping businesses stay protected against the dangers of the digital world. Along with your team, we can defend your business together.

Do your part and #BeCyberSmart


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