Why is cybersecurity education important across the workforce?

Cybersecurity education for the workforce is a powerful tool to protect your business and employees while alleviating some of the burden on your IT team

‘Humans are the weakest link in cybersecurity’. Over the last decade or so, humans have been branded as irresponsible users who succumb to phishing attacks and malicious downloads. The connotations of this include that humans are lazy and incompetent too. Whether you agree or not, this approach of humans being negligent must stop; not only is it not very proactive, but it also breeds a culture in which employees feel uncomfortable reporting attacks to well-versed IT personnel.

Rather than ‘putting up with’ human errors, organisations should focus their attention on educating their workforce. Humans are only really ‘the weakest link’ because malicious actors target them in the first place. In turn, it makes sense to work alongside your employees to protect them and your business through education.

Educating employees

Now is as good a time as ever to start educating the workforce. As digital transformation efforts get underway (delivering the likes of more Internet of Things and bring-your-own-device culture), it makes an appropriate time to start having the education conversation. Companies should style it as an opportunity that comes with the new era, rather than a reprimand.

Of course, cybersecurity education will necessitate some investment, particularly if it’s ongoing. However, it’s a small price to pay in comparison to the cost of an attack.

Training and education will help employees exercise vigilance, especially if sessions are periodic. In their day-to-day, they will be able to identify attack vectors better and take more precautions when clicking links or downloading. What’s more, they will practise better password hygiene and be more aware of software updates.

Overall, education gives the workforce tools to make small tweaks that’ll go a long way in protecting your business. Also, if a ‘phishy’ situation does arise, they aren’t uncomfortable reporting it. This is because they will have the expertise, empowerment, and understanding of the protocol necessary.

As well as this, enterprise-wide cybersecurity will take much of the pressure off the IT teams’ shoulders. Until now, IT and security have had to carry the burden of cybersecurity, despite the fact that they know all the best practices. It doesn’t make sense, does it?

In the long run

Without cyber threats, you wouldn’t need cybersecurity. However, to have cybersecurity, you need to have security personnel. Unfortunately, the skills gap has plagued cybersecurity for years, and today’s threat landscape isn’t forgiving enough to wait. In turn, companies should begin investing in their own staff and offer specialised training to mitigate the problem.

Brad Hayes, Chief Technology Officer at Circadence, shared his thoughts with us on the matter. Circadence is the only only gamified, AI-powered cybersecurity learning platform, making Brad the perfect person to lend his expertise:

“Teaching cybersecurity skills at the business and corporate level is important with today’s evolving cyber threats. However, teaching cybersecurity skills in academia at a young age will be a major factor in closing the cybersecurity skills gap and instilling competency and confidence in the next generation of professionals. Students want to know what they are learning in the classroom is directly related to what they will experience in the workplace.

Universities and schools are using gamified cybersecurity learning platforms which provides students a virtual environment with hands-on learning for improved cyber skills retention and development. For students to novice professionals to seasoned cyber defenders, gamified cyber learning offers a wealth of information using real-world scenarios that help to strengthen the workforce of the future.”

Organisations should also be teaming up with schools and universities to demonstrate how rewarding a cybersecurity career can be. It’s an attractive career path in many ways, and businesses should be proactive in showing this. In the long run, the cyber skills gap will shrink, while the future of cybersecurity will become much more promising.

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