Cyber attacks are on the rise. Any business that has experienced any form of internet security breach knows that it can be costly in terms of time and money. The reputation of a business is also at stake if client data is compromised. Cybersecurity is an issue that you cannot afford to ignore. Figures from Accenture show that cybersecurity incidents breaches increased by 67% in the last five years, and cybersecurity awareness training can reduce the risk of being impacted. The problem continues to grow and threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
So, what does this mean for your business and what should you do?
1. Regulations require you to keep client data safe
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires that all personal data is treated sensitively and retained securely. These requirements include a level of staff training in security awareness. It also requires that policies and procedures relating to the security of data are in place and are followed by all staff in any UK company. These are only worth the paper they are written on if staff are aware of the policy and are trained in following the procedures.
Although this is a European Union regulation, it is retained in UK law, and considerable fines may be issued if a breach is caused by lapses in data security, resulting in the compromise of a client’s personal data.
2. No business is too small
Cybercriminals will attack wherever they find weakness, and it is not dependent on the size of the company. Many small business owners believe that the criminals don’t bother with the small fry, but evidence shows this is not the case. Attackers know that this is often where there is a weakness in policy and procedure.
It is important for staff awareness training to be in place, with clear policies and procedures, whether you have a staff of one or 50.
A security breach can have a more devastating impact on a small company that does not have the necessary finance and resources to weather an attack. And the reputation of the company may not recover. If your customers think you are not taking care of their data, they are likely to go elsewhere.
3. Raise cybersecurity awareness in your business
It is the end-users in a company who, through unintentional ignorance, may click on a phishing link in an email, or open an unsafe attachment. The main cause of breaches is human error. It is the responsibility of the company to ensure that employees are educated about cybersecurity and are made aware of how to recognise and report such threats as phishing emails, ransomware attacks, and malware.
Cybersecurity attacks are on the increase and regular training is needed to give employees an up-to-date awareness of the risks, and the steps they need to take to maintain the security of the company. Companies often invest heavily in cybersecurity tools to protect the technology but, whilst these are important to have in place, they do not replace employee education. As cybercriminals grow in number and the attacks become more sophisticated, it is the users who are being targeted, rather than the systems. It is therefore vital that companies step up their safeguards, and staff training should be the number one priority in a business’ incident response plan.
4. Allocate budget to your cybersecurity strategy
Investment in an appropriate cybersecurity strategy is worthwhile. With cybercrime on the increase, the average annual cost to UK businesses is £4180. Government research has highlighted that there is still a significant mismatch between the number of businesses being targeted every month (48%) and the number that have cybersecurity policy in place (33%). The latter figure is very low when we can see the often devastating impact of a cyber attack on a business, and the time and money that is lost. Of those that are targeted, the ones that invested in cybersecurity awareness training we’re impacted less and recovered more quickly, if they were breached at all.
Security awareness training as part of your business’ risk assessment is an insurance that is worth having. Staff need to be confident in the procedures they need to follow to keep company and client data safe. This confidence needs to come from systematic education and awareness-raising. Businesses are recognising this and are more willing to invest in cybersecurity awareness training for their employees.
5. Increase client trust in your business
Your clients have chosen to buy the products or services of your company, and they have entrusted their personal details to you. Your business has the responsibility of maintaining that trust by ensuring that the data is secure. A breach in security is likely to damage the trust, often irreparably, and the client may go elsewhere.
You need to be able to assure your clients that you take the security of their data extremely seriously. By demonstrating to them the measures that are taken by all members of the company, and the training that is in place to maintain this, you are more likely to retain their trust and their custom.
We are all aware of the need for physical security, keeping doors and windows locked when the building is empty, to protect the business from criminals. We pay for secure locks, CCTV and insurance. Our online site needs to be protected in the same way, and investment in this should not be ignored. A layered approach is the best way to protect your company from cyber attacks, with cybersecurity awareness training being just one important aspect that should not be overlooked. It is not a problem for tomorrow as tomorrow may be too late.
If you want to know how you can implement a cybersecurity awareness program in your business, please contact us.