The risk within: Why you should be offering cybersecurity awareness training for employees

The risk within: Why you should be offering cybersecurity awareness training for employees

If you ask your staff to define terms such as “phishing,” “spoofed websites,” and “data breach,” how confident are you that they’ll all be able to do so correctly? And if you have an ethical hacker send a pseudo-malicious email across the entire company, how many employees would actually report it to your IT department?

You might be wondering what it means to score yourself low for either one of those questions. Thing is, when it comes to data breaches — which, by the way, are the release of protected or confidential information (such as ATM card PIN codes or social media account access credentials) to untrusted persons or environments — employee negligence ranks as the highest cause.

Here are some of the most important reasons why you must train staff on cybersecurity:


Suffering data breaches incurs terrible direct and indirect costs.

Direct costs

Once managers discover a data breach, they must spend on:

  • Cybersecurity services to determine the cause of the leak, how much of your network is affected, and how to keep the rest of your organization safe
  • Legal services to determine liabilities to stakeholders such as clients, partners, and employees, as well as to implement regulations compliance procedures
  • Damage mitigation programs for affected parties so they can protect themselves against being victimized with identity fraud and other potentially harmful cybercrimes
  • Governmental penalties and fines

Indirect costs

Beyond making your business bleed money, data breaches can also make you pay in the following ways:

  • Productivity and time lost on investigating the incident, quarantining and rehabilitating affected machines and systems, and keeping customers from being harmed by hackers
  • Customer and partner departure due to loss of trust and goodwill
  • Tarnished brand image
  • Sunken employee morale that further reduces productivity

Read: What businesses must learn after spending $14B on cybersecurity

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Employees’ mobile devices increase your vulnerability

With the rise of bring your own device (BYOD) policies and the use of personal laptops and smartphones for work, your network is more vulnerable than ever before. If an employee is not vigilant in keeping their device malware-free, they can eventually infect your systems from the inside.

Sure, your company can invest in sophisticated mobile device management (MDM) tools and other similarly advanced software, but if you’re already willing to invest that much into cybersecurity, why not invest in employee awareness programs as well?

Further reading: How your business lets in cyberattackers without you knowing

Committing cybercrime now requires less technical skills

With cheap and easy-to-use malware deployment kits more readily available on the dark web, the barrier for committing cybercrime has been lowered drastically. While black hat hackers still develop malware and deploy DDoS attacks to showcase their technical prowess, this motivation is now a far second to simple, brazen greed.

Cybercriminals are more innovative than ever before

Let’s not forget that true-blue malicious hackers are constantly creating ways to infiltrate your network. For instance, one of their latest innovations is formjacking, a way to skim credit card numbers from eCommerce websites. Another way is to reverse-engineer software security patches to discover the vulnerability being fixed. Those who do not apply patches as soon as these are available (most likely staff who lack awareness of how crucial cybersecurity is to your company) increase the risk of being assaulted by hackers.

Further reading: Essential elements of a security awareness training program

With more bad actors on the loose, the chances of staff unwittingly falling prey to them rise dramatically. Reach out to our cybersecurity experts at XBASE Technologies to discover how our Exponentially Better™ services can help your entire organization ward off data breaches and mitigate the damage they cause.

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