Why Boards Should Prioritise Cyber Awareness Training

Cyberattacks continue to be one of the greatest areas of concern for most businesses. These events don’t just carry the risk of irrevocable reputational damage but also the risk of financial damage. According to IBM, average data breach damage costs have peaked at a record high of US$4.24 million.

Cyberattack concerns are spiralling upwards, fuelling increasing discussion about data breach mitigation strategies in board meetings. This alone is significant evidence of rising cyberattack fears. Boards and C-Suite executives, who in the past may have questioned the ROI of cybersecurity initiatives, are now advocating for them.

The value of cybersecurity investments is no longer questioned; they’re now crystal clear. To learn how to efficiently address the growing threat of cyberattacks, read on.

The Top 3 Impacts of Cybersecurity Breaches

Cybercriminals are primarily motivated by monetary gain, so their tactics are purposely designed to impact the bottom line – either directly or indirectly.

Here are the top three categories of financial damage following a data breach.

  • Reputational Damage

Reputation damage impacts current and prospective customers. Nobody feels comfortable transacting with a business that fails to keep customer data safe. A single breach could spark a mass exodus of existing customers and implant stubborn hesitancy amongst prospective customers.According to Forbes, 46% of surveyed organisations that fell victim to a data breach suffered reputational damage. So, in other words, companies face an almost 50% chance of suffering reputational damage following a data breach.

  • Intellectually Property Loss

Stolen intellectual property is often used as leverage in extortion campaigns like ransomware attacks. During a ransomware attack, cybercriminals steal sensitive data before encrypting systems that are critical to business operations.

A ransom payment is then demanded to decrypt seized data and restore system access. To ensure these payments happen quickly, increasing portions of stolen sensitive data – which usually includes intellectual property – are published online until the ransom is fully paid.

Intellectual property loss isn’t just a threat for large enterprises; 49% of small businesses are concerned about the security of intellectual property.

  • Regulatory Fines

Data beaches often highlight the insufficiency of cybersecurity practices, resulting in costly regulatory fines. In 2019, the FCC imposed a $25 million fine on AT&T after the telecommunication giant suffered a data breach resulting in the unauthorised disclosure of customer information.

Cybersecurity Awareness Training: The Answer to Cyberattack Concerns

Cybersecurity awareness training should be the primary component of a cyber governance action plan because it addresses the weakest link in every cybersecurity program – employees. A UK study found that human error caused 90% of data breaches in 2019, and according to IBM, data breaches facilitated by human error cost an average of $3.33 million in damages.

Though C-Suite executives are now more open to discussing cybersecurity initiatives, they still need to be assured of the positive impacts of each investment. Untrained employees can nullify even the most grandiose cybersecurity budget. By focusing on the effects of employee actions, security awareness training addresses the primary cause of data breaches to ensure maximum value from all cybersecurity investments.

Is it Better to Outsource Cybersecurity Awareness Training?

Cybersecurity awareness training is a significant challenge for internal security teams, who often don’t have the bandwidth or the necessary skills to teach staff effectively.

High-quality cybersecurity awareness training educates staff about the full range of major security threats, how to recognise them, and most importantly, how to avoid falling victim to them.

Even if internal security teams are capable of coaching staff, their time is much better spent mitigating risks exposure for existing and newly onboarded third-party vendors.

For these reasons, outsourcing cybersecurity awareness training to experts is usually the most efficient option for SMEs.

Equip Your Staff to Avoid Data Breaches with PhishNet

PhishNet helps Australian businesses strengthen their security posture with advanced cybersecurity awareness training that reduces the human risk associated with a cybersecurity incident.

To equip your staff to safely respond to some of the most malicious email-based cyber threats, contact us today or check out PhishNet to learn more.