How Does Cybersecurity Training for Employees Improve Security Posture?

Published February 19, 2024
by Jordan Hickam

The latest and greatest high-tech infrastructure and tools can help fortify any workflow or supply chain, but cybersecurity is only as strong as its weakest link. More often than not, that weakest link will manifest as errors or actions performed by personnel as opposed to faulty firewalls or insufficient threat detection. According to Verizon’s 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), nearly three-quarters of data breaches involve the human element. Many security-minded organizations managing critically sensitive data provide cybersecurity training to reduce cyber risk and improve their cybersecurity posture. Employee cybersecurity training enhances a company’s security posture by raising awareness of pertinent threats, instilling a solid foundation of good security practices, and reducing an organization’s overall risk of security incidents. 

Cybersecurity Awareness Training Tips to Improve Security Posture

Companies should provide cybersecurity awareness training to all employees—even those in ordinarily non-technical roles. Understanding the organization’s risks helps employees better recognize potential irregularities and respond appropriately. When creating a cybersecurity awareness program for employees, the goal is to educate and empower them to recognize, prevent, and respond to cyber threats. The following must-have training elements include tips to prevent common security missteps.

Attack Types

Man in the Middle (MITM) attacks, including social engineering, phishing, and pharming, are among the most common cyberattacks. In these attacks, the employee is the “man” between the cybercriminal and your systems and data. Training employees to spot these attacks is essential to improving your security posture.

LinkedIn is a valuable business networking site, but employees often overlook the opportunity it provides cybercriminals. Using information gleaned from LinkedIn profiles, cybercriminals can trick their targets into thinking they are legitimate business connections with legitimate requests. Teach ways to increase security, such as restricting the visibility of their email and phone numbers and not syncing contacts or their calendars. 

Password Security Training

Proper password hygiene is critical for preventing unauthorized access to internal company networks, proprietary data, or other sensitive information. Heavily stressing the importance of safeguarding passwords, keeping them unique to each login, making them easy to remember but difficult to guess, and using multi-factor authentication (MFA) when possible are simple ways to increase your security posture. 

While many employees find them easy to remember, it’s critical to avoid using passwords related to information that can be guessed from social media accounts, such as a child or pet’s name, a favorite sports team, or hobbies. Instead, guide them to make acronyms using phrases they can remember and add in some numbers, capitalization, and punctuation. For example, “ESLCMTV;WN?” equals “Everyone Should Love Chocolate More Than Vanilla; Why Not?”

Securing Connections

Every device represents a potential attack entryway for savvy cybercriminals. Train your employees on best practices for securing both their work and personal devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. 

From WiFi usage and securely browsing corporate networks to implementing virtual private networks (VPNs), maintaining private or encrypted communications, and accessing confidential company resources remotely, ensure your employees keep security in mind no matter where they work. Some key considerations to improve security posture using WiFi include: 

  • Do not use unsecured public WiFi networks.
  • Private password-protected WiFi is not secure if the password is easily guessed or visible.
  • Cellular networks’ WiFi hotspots are encrypted and are the more secure choice.

Sensitive Data Handling and Protection

Employees who understand the organization’s data classification policies, encryption protocols, and how specifically to handle and store personal information or other sensitive data can increase the organization’s security posture. 

Employees sometimes incorrectly assume publicly available information is not personally identifiable information (PII). Public information is still PII and should be treated according to established protocols. Furthermore, remind employees that non-sensitive PII can become sensitive PII when combined with other personal or identifying information.

Incident Response Training and Continuing Education

Seek out training materials that teach personnel to promptly report any suspicious activity or potential security incidents. Early detection and reporting are among the most important aspects of an organization’s cybersecurity efforts, and quick and efficient responses can significantly mitigate potential damage. 

Train employees on the proper reporting procedures, communication protocols, and any required collaboration between IT and security teams in the event of a cyber incident. 

Conducting periodic drills, simulating phishing exercises, and providing other role-based training with a hands-on approach are engaging ways to keep security skills sharp. As cyber threats evolve, it’s crucial to work with training that offers ongoing education and regular updates as policies or best practices change.

Security training can help minimize the human errors or oversights that lead to many data breaches or similar cybersecurity incidents. Your organization’s investment in high-quality security training empowers employees to actively protect the company’s digital assets, contributing to a stronger cybersecurity posture and overall resilience to evolving digital threats. 

Find Cyber Training Offerings at the RAMPxchange Marketplace

Learn more about cyber training activities and offerings at the RAMPxchange marketplace, where buyers and sellers of cybersecurity services unite with the common goal of strengthening security posture across industries, supply chains, and our entire nation. Connect with a RAMPxchange consultant to join and learn more today.