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8 Reasons to Train Your Employees on Information Security

From mitigating the risk of a data breach to protecting yourself against the growing number of cyber attacks each year, here are 8 answers to the question, "Why should businesses train employees on information security?"

  • To Mitigate the Risk of a Data Breach

  • To Protect Your Business Reputation

  • Because Most Security Breaches Are a Result of Human Error

  • To Avoid Phishing Scams

  • Because Employees Are the First Line of Defence

  • To Keep Your Customers Safe

  • Because Your Company is Only as Secure as Your Weakest Link

  • Because Cyberattacks Grow Exponentially Each Year

To Mitigate the Risk of a Data Breach

Most businesses have some form of confidential information: from information contained in employee files like social security numbers and possibly protected HIPAA information, to the company's trade secret (such as the formula for Coca-Cola, which is still one of the world's most closely guarded trade secrets). Regardless of the materiality of the information, it should be protected.

Without proper employee training, a breach of some kind is likely. The company's civil liability will depend on what information was exposed to the public, the damage caused by the disclosure, and the applicable state or federal law. A business is better off paying a competent HR professional or legal counsel to train employees on this subject rather than risk a data breach and resulting litigation and liability.

To Protect Your Business Reputation

Beyond the obvious reasons - that you don't want a security breach because it could cost you a ton of money - a security breach can absolutely tank your reputation with your clients and potential future customers.

Take the facilities management giant ISS, for example. They had a massive and extremely public security breach a few years ago, one from which they still haven't recovered from a reputation perspective. They're trying to market themselves as a burgeoning tech company, but the market memory of the breach is making those efforts significantly harder to launch.

Training employees is one of the biggest ways to combat security breaches, as by far the most common way of gaining access to classified information is via something simple like phishing.

Because Most Security Breaches Are a Result of Human Error

Training employees on information security is essential for any business, as it helps protect valuable data, resources, and networks from unauthorized access.

Having a workforce that is aware of the risks and knows how to identify suspicious activity, as well as report any breaches or vulnerabilities, can help prevent costly data breaches and other types of cyberattacks. This can save businesses time and money in the long run, while also helping to protect customer data and reputation. Training employees on information security is an important component of any effective cybersecurity strategy.

The key benefits of training employees on information security include improved risk management and better protection against cyber threats; enhanced internal controls that can help reduce the chance of human error; improved preparedness for potential cyberattacks; and increased employee awareness of the importance of data security.

Asker Ahmed, Director and Founder, iProcess

To Avoid Phishing Scams

Recently, during the holiday season, one of the major password management platforms had a significant breach. This password manager hosts all the passwords in our organization and hundreds, maybe thousands, of employee accounts on various apps. We are now in the process of resetting all credentials for all employees on all apps we use, piloting a new password-sharing and management platform, as well as organizing mandatory phishing workshops. Our team members regularly receive phishing emails as well, so training them on information security is our utmost priority in Q1.

Because Employees Are the First Line of Defence

Businesses should provide information security training to their employees for one simple reason: to protect their data and assets. These are the lifeblood of any company, and protecting them from cyberattacks is critical. I say this because employees are the first to notice when something is wrong and take the necessary steps to address it.

Having well-trained employees will be able to spot any attempt of hacking, take immediate action, and prevent the likelihood of security breaches on their own. Thus, I believe it is important that you provide them with the necessary knowledge and training so that they can serve as the first line of defense against potential cyberattacks.

To Keep Your Customers Safe

One of the top reasons people are hesitant to do business with a company is the fear that their personal information may be at risk, leading to them feeling vulnerable.

A company must always put its customers first, and that includes protecting their personal information. If you do not properly train your employees on information security, you run the risk of a data breach. Because of this, it is essential that businesses invest in this training to keep their customers safe and maintain their trust in the company.

By providing employees with proper knowledge of information security, you can help build your customers' confidence in your business and keep them coming back.

Luciano Colos, Founder and CEO, PitchGrade

Because Your Company is Only as Secure as Your Weakest Link

As a recruiter working in the tech sphere, I'm often shocked at the laxity of security in some major organizations. There is a tendency to assume that lower-level employees don't have access to information crucial enough to protect, but this is a misguided way of looking at the issue. It's about access.

A single weak point threatens the entire workplace, and in fact, studies have shown that most breaches begin with employees in seemingly inconsequential security roles. Companies should employ the 'Swiss cheese' model; by filling every hole, you reduce the chances of catastrophic failure. Neglecting even a single 'slice' can leave a business susceptible to major breaches.

Rob Reeves, CEO and President, Redfish Technology

Because Cyberattacks Grow Exponentially Each Year

One of the key reasons businesses should invest in information security training for employees is to help protect company assets.

In an age where the threat of cyberattacks and data breaches is ever-present, it's essential to equip employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to keep sensitive information secure. Information security training can also teach employees how to identify potential risks and spot phishing scams before they become a problem.

By investing in regular employee training on information security, businesses are taking proactive steps towards reducing their vulnerability to malicious actors, as well as mitigating potential long-term damage to their company's reputation.

Stephanie Jenkins, Founder, Stephanie Jenkins Photo