Cybersecurity Training and Awareness Programs for Organizations

The development and integration of network and digital technologies revolutionized how humans complete their tasks and processes, interact, and engage with one another through the existing infrastructure that has become a fundamental characteristic of the modern digital age. With the ubiquitous presence of the internet, organizations have been provided with enhanced mechanisms of conducting their business more effectively and efficiently. The digital environment of the internet also known as cyberspace has significantly expanded with the vast number of interconnected entities, critical services, and data available. Consequently, this expansion has witnessed a significant increase in the number and sophistication of cyber-attacks, which has increased the complexity of the responsibilities of cybersecurity professionals in their efforts to ensure security and protection for organizations.  

Conventionally, IT and information security strategies of organizations were the designated responsibility of the IT departments which focused on enhancing the in-house security of the organizational investments that comprise the IT infrastructure. However, the development of cloud computing enabled organizations to utilize the cloud infrastructure resources in the manner that would best suit them which provided a more favorable alternative, especially for lower-sized enterprises that did not possess the significant financial power to commit to such investments. Although the benefits of online resources and services have become essential components of any operating organization, the increased dependence on such solutions has contributed to the increased risks and threats that organizations are exposed to.

The significant increase in the number of cyber-attacks and data breaches has shifted the perception of business leaders in relation to cybersecurity, as emphasis has been placed on the importance of having a collective understanding of the cybersecurity risks and threats that individuals and organizations are exposed to. Cybersecurity awareness programs have long been a preferred program for organizations and enterprises to undertake for informing the personnel about the potential risks and threats that lure in cyberspace. The purpose of developing a cybersecurity awareness program is to develop an internal understanding of cyber risks and threats, their impact on the organization, how to recognize potential threats, and the preferred action steps to be undertaken in an event of an incident or an attack.

Cybersecurity awareness and training programs are of significant importance for organizations because they serve as an informing mechanism that enables the development of cybersecurity knowledge and skills that can be used for detecting and responding to potential cybersecurity risks and threats which would help in the establishment of a collective response in relation to security incidents. One of the only common understandings between cybersecurity professionals and cyber-attackers is that human error is the prevalent reason behind most cybersecurity incidents. Both of these entities have operated around the exploitable vulnerabilities that human error presents, with security professionals aiming to reduce such the likelihood, and malicious entities seeking to exploit this vulnerability.

Promoting a Cybersecurity Culture

The development and maintenance of sustainable cybersecurity programs and policies require a proactive approach that continuously evolves to encompass the security threat landscape, as well as the business demands of the organization. The objective of business organizations must be to ensure that they reduce the chances of their personnel being the weak link in the security chain by educating and enhancing their cybersecurity knowledge so that they do not become vulnerable prey for cybercriminals. Through elevating cybersecurity into an organizational culture component, the businesses increase their chances of their workforce becoming proficient at detecting potential risks that can cause severe damages.  

Emphasizing security for the employees will increase their awareness and will make sure that they possess sufficient knowledge about the collective utilization of organizational networks and systems. Witnessing as the number and sophistication of cyber-attacks is continuously evolving, it is recommended that organizations develop an internal cybersecurity culture that focuses on safe practices for protecting the organization’s digital assets and avoiding the chance for employees to become targets and victims. Although informing the personnel about the safe practices of cybersecurity is of crucial importance, it isn’t enough to ensure cybersecurity.

Developing a Cybersecurity Training and Awareness Program

The development of a cybersecurity training and awareness program has become a mandatory obligation that organizations undertake to ensure that their employees possess sufficient knowledge about the risks and threats that the organizational systems and networks are surrounded with. Organizations must increase accountability in regards to their actions which can be done through the development of cybersecurity programs and policies that regulate utilization and access for the personnel. These developed programs and policies can include guidelines for creating safe passwords, identifying scams, and providing a general outline of how the personnel should access the internet in their working environment.

In general, organizations develop their cybersecurity training and awareness program tailored to the needs of the organization. The program may include general theoretical concepts that the employees must be aware of, but it should also possess a practical guide that satisfies the security needs of the business. Some of the general components of a cybersecurity training and awareness program include:

  • Education on detecting Phishing attacks.
  • Malware detection and prevention capabilities.
  • Emphasizing the importance of using strong passwords.
  • The risks of utilizing portable media.
  • Security threats that arise as a result of using public Wi-Fi.
  • Conduct security assessments through cyber-threat simulation.
  • Continuously update the overall cybersecurity strategy and policies.

Cybersecurity is a continuously evolving process that specifically focuses on prevention and mitigation from the cyber risks and threats that an organization has to deal with. The training and awareness programs that organizations develop must be tailored to the desired outcomes of the organization that have to be based on stressing out the critical importance of keeping digital resources such as systems and networks securely. In the modern business environment, the capability of organizations to appropriately respond to cybersecurity incidents and breaches is regarded as one of the vital business components that determine the cybersecurity resilience of an organization. Hence, developing cybersecurity skills for every individual with access to organizational resources is of vital importance for eliminating potential risks.

 

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“As a student, I am preparing for the industry that I’d like to work for. I really do not know where to start. What areas should I focus on? etc. The course gave me an overview of the knowledge that I need to solidify when it comes to the field. I am grateful once again, and I hope this would help me find the right connections and lead me to a cybersecurity job in the future. Kudos to you guys! ”

Kolapo Agunbiade
Computer Engineering StudentComputer Engineering Student,