Home Technology What role does employee training play in protecting against cyber threats?

What role does employee training play in protecting against cyber threats?


Those charged with cyber security at enterprises have a wealth of tools and protocols they can use to safeguard systems. Technical solutions, such as dedicated firewalls, anti-malware and antivirus software, state-of-the-art scanning and spam filters are all useful in blocking various attack vectors and tactics used by threat operators.

Despite these powerful protective options, the human element in any company presents a significant risk to firms in terms of cyber security. Malicious actors target personnel at companies specifically, using their lack of awareness to exploit a company’s defences. If they fool staff into parting with sensitive information, such as their company credentials, or into downloading harmful malware, the consequences can be devastating. From embarrassing and expensive data breaches to ransomware attacks where firms are locked out of their own systems, penetration can be costly.

By far, the best approach firms can take is to train employees to understand the types of cyber threats aimed at them and how to react if they are selected as a victim.

What are the biggest cyber risks to employees?

The greatest threat to employees comes via phishing attacks. While phishing tactics can use SMSs and calls, emails are the most favoured vehicle used by threat operators. These attacks typically involve a malicious actor sending an email that appears to be from a legitimate contact. The email will request the recipient to take urgent action and either click on the link or download an attached file. This usually results in a variety of unwanted scenarios.

The recipient’s action may download malware onto their device or network or may direct them to a bogus site where their password or username is stolen. Either way, this harmful activity results in a successful cyber-attack.

What training tools are available to educate employees?

The ability of an employee to recognise a phishing email attack and report it immediately should never be underestimated. Fortunately, software designed to train staff is available. The software can replicate a wide array of cyberattacks using advanced and realistic simulations. Training programs based on the most up-to-date attack vectors used by cybercriminals allows employees to learn how to spot them quickly.

Along with being empowered to sidestep the techniques used by threat actors, such as links and harmful downloads, staff must also understand how to report incidents. A clear line of reporting is imperative as it can stop the spread of an attack immediately before it causes chaos.

Staff should never be made to feel uncomfortable about reporting a threat and understand who they must inform when they receive a phishing message.

How can the organisation safeguard employees?

Along with training staff to spot attacks, there are other ways firms can enhance email security and protect their workforce. Ensuring that a business broadband option is selected that is never shared with other enterprises can help keep company networks secure from malicious actors.

Filtering enterprise emails according to sender reputation adds an extra layer of protection to email accounts. It enables Chief information officers to maintain control of which emails can get past secure mail gateways based on how trustworthy the sender is. Utilising this solution, trusted vendors and customer emails are not delayed and transmitted directly to their intended recipients within the firm.

If an email is issued by an unknown or suspicious source, however, it receives a comprehensive scan, more advanced than a standard mail filter can supply. If judged harmful or found to contain phishing content or spam, it is effectively barred from entering the firm’s mail system.

Endpoint security is another useful option. It includes technology and processes that can prevent, mitigate, or contain a threat aimed at endpoints where employees access their emails. Compromised endpoints give hackers a staging area within a business’s network, where they launch further attacks from and spread laterally throughout a system.

When do employees need cyber security training?

To be effective, cyber security training must be continuous. As security experts develop methods to defend systems from attack, threat operators are constantly adapting their tactics to match them. In the ever-evolving cybercrime landscape, firms must constantly drill employees to keep their knowledge up to date.

To sum up, proactive employee cybersecurity training plays a vital role in keeping enterprises secure from attacks.