In response to the rise of cyber attacks, many organizations will focus their cybersecurity investment on tools and technologies. But the weakest link in the security chain often comes down to people. In fact, according to Verizon’s “2023 Data Breach Investigations Report,” the human element was a factor in 74 percent of breaches examined.
Employees, no matter how well-intentioned, can inadvertently expose an organization to cyber threats through their actions and lack of awareness.
As such, cybersecurity awareness training for employees is now more crucial than ever.
Why Cybersecurity Awareness Training Is Important in 2024
Cyber Attacks Are Increasing
Current data suggests that cyber attacks are increasing in volume, sophistication, and cost. While still relying on tried and true cyber extortion tactics一ransomware, for example一threat actors are also expanding into newer channels, such as Telephone-Oriented Attack Delivery (TOAD) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) bypass.
Additionally, in its “Cost of Data Breach Report 2023,” IBM notes the average cost of a data breach has reached an all-time high of $4.45 million, up from $4.35 million in 2022.
As shown in the table below, organizations with up to 5,000 employees have experienced the greatest cost increases over the annual period.
# of Employees
2023 Average Data Breach Impact
Change in Cost from 2022
500 - 1,000
1,001 - 5,000
Source: IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023.
Widely Adopted Generative AI Can Add to Cyber Risks
Today’s explosive adoption of generative artificial intelligence (AI), particularly ChatGPT, has been transformative for industries worldwide, but has also brought additional cybersecurity risks to the fore. These include plagiarism, misinformation, copyright infringement, leaked data, and account compromise.
Already over 101,000 account credentials for OpenAI's ChatGPT have been exposed and made available for sale on the dark web in the last year. Stolen information has also been discovered in the logs of malware, which is traded in underground marketplaces.
Security Awareness Training & Education Can Make a Difference
Security awareness training and education (SATE) can help mitigate cyber threats in several ways, including identifying potential dangers, safeguarding sensitive data, practicing safe online behavior, meeting compliance requirements, and building a security-conscious organizational culture.
Importantly, boosting awareness can be one of the most effective tactics in dampening the cost of data breaches. IBM cites employee cybersecurity awareness trainingas the second most effective data breach cost mitigator. Organizations that implemented employee training had an average cost of $232,867 less than the 2023 mean cost of $4.45 million discussed above. In effect, a quality SATE program can go a long way toward paying for itself.
Undergoing security awareness training and education can also help meet regulatory requirements for minimum standards for cybersecurity practices.
How Cybersafe Approaches Security Awareness Training & Education
As a leading managed security service provider (MSSP), Cybersafe Solutions understands the pivotal role organizational awareness and monitoring have in reducing the probability of a successful cyber attack.
As such, its security awareness training and education program focuses on a “Human Firewall Approach” that combines “Security Awareness Training” and “Simulated Phishing Tests.” Educating and testing the entire organization identifies vulnerabilities in practices and culture, which are then addressed holistically.
The SATE Program
The first step in Cybersafe’s SATE program is identifying the percentage of employees more prone to phishing attacks, followed by customized training on significant attack vectors, with particular attention paid to the most frequent and vulnerable offenders.
Simulated phishing tests come next, with monthly reporting for additional learning, as needed. Selected features of the program include:
- On-demand browser-based training covering common threats and social engineering red flags
- Interactive training modules covering a wide range of topics, including content from world-renown hacker Kevin Mitnick
- Quarterly training campaigns and training reports, including campaign summary and user completion activity
- A full library of real-world, known-to-work phishing templates
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven phishing campaigns
- “Anti-prairie dog” campaigns (random templates sent at random times) for more authentic testing
- Monthly phishing test report including User Action Summary, Failure Rate Over Time, and User Action Report, provided after each phishing campaign
- Security Hints & Tips Newsletters to help keep your team up to date on the latest phishing scams and reinforce basic security tips
Cybersafe’s industry-leading methods and processes have shown positive and measurable results in hardening organizations’ cybersecurity posture and empowering employees to report and mitigate cyber attacks sooner.
Backed by experience, expertise, and best-in-class proprietary technology, Cybersafe can help ensure your team is better prepared to tackle both current and future human-based cyber threats in 2024 and beyond.
Cybersafe is a leading MSSP providing unmatched continuous monitoring, risk assessment, incident response, and more. For more about how to bolster your cybersecurity posture with our services, schedule a consultation or contact us today.