Top Security Awareness Training Topics for 2021

Employees tend to be the weakest link as far as the security of company information is concerned. According to statistics, employees contribute to 95% of breach incidents in businesses. Cybersecurity threats have been on the rise, and attackers are creating sophisticated ways of executing attacks.

Security awareness training is becoming more critical to businesses seeking to mitigate vulnerabilities. Fundamentally, cyber threats have to be first recognized before taking any preventive measures. Therefore, it’s vital to train your staff on the most important security topics, and this article looks into some of the top topics.

Phishing and Spearphishing

While most companies are familiar with phishing attacks, the threat has shown massive growth over the last year. According to Google Threat Analysis Group, about 18 million phishing emails were blocked per day. Notably, phishing attacks are among the top causes of security breaches, and recent studies show that 91% of cyber-attacks are phishing-related.

Spearphishing is an advanced type of phishing attack that is sophisticated and highly targeted. Unlike regular phishing, where attackers send thousands of emails to a big group of people, spearphishing uses specially crafted malicious emails to target a few people within an organization. It uses high-ranking employees to legitimize a phishing email. For instance, emails impersonating the manager can seem safe and likely to be opened by many employees.

Since they are carefully crafted, spearphishing can entice experienced end-users into clicking malicious attachments. By training your employees to identify potentially malicious emails, the threat can be managed.

Mobile Device Security

The advancements in mobile devices and IT technology have led to improved flexibility of working environments. As more people embrace remote and on-the-go working options using mobile devices, the risk of cybersecurity breaches has increased.

While this flexibility can help your company reduce operating costs, device accountability is a vital security awareness training topic. With an increase in malicious apps, there is a higher risk of malware-infected mobile phones causing a severe security breach.

Employees often access their work email or other work-related applications via their mobile devices. To mitigate the risk of unauthorized access to company servers, mobile devices should have biometric authentication or encryption. Therefore, best practices of safe use of personal devices for work is a vital training topic for your employees.

Password Security And Authentication Best Practices

Considering the prevalence of weak passwords, best practices in password security and authentication remain a vital topic. And since there is a lot to improve on, you need to educate your employees on the importance of creating strong passwords.

While often overlooked, password security plays a significant role in ensuring your company is secure from cyber threats. Weak and common passwords are easy to guess by cybercriminals who can target accounts with sensitive company information.

Most people have a hard time remembering multiple passwords, thus the tendency to use one simple password. Using a single password across multiple devices and accounts can make you an easy target for cybercriminals. As cyberattacks and malicious players get more advanced, password databases are regularly attacked using sophisticated tools. Therefore, it’s prudent to use different strong passwords for each account.

Using solid and random passwords can make it harder for malicious hackers to access your company accounts. Similarly, two-factor authentication will help improve the integrity of your accounts.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing technology has revolutionized business operations by enhancing data storage and access. Nevertheless, the ability to store large volumes of data remotely comes with a considerable risk of a massive data breach. Most companies providing cloud computing services are focusing on improved data protection. However, it’s vital to select the appropriate service provider to ensure the safety of your company’s data.

While external threats are real in the cloud computing industry, insider hacking also poses a significant threat. According to Gartner, 99% of the total cloud security breaches will be caused by end-users. As such, appropriate training will help your employees understand the basics and best practices of using cloud-based applications.

Removable Media

Removable media allows users to transfer data from one device to another. And while most people are aware of potential threats that can be lurking in removable media, you may not know that infected USB devices can be left on purpose targeting users.

In a study on USB devices security and threat awareness, researchers randomly dropped 300 USB drives. At least 98% of the drives were picked up, and people opened the files on 45% of the drives disregarding the possible threats.

Besides understanding the potential risks of USB devices, your employees should also understand how to use removable media safely and responsibly. In addition to keeping the devices safe, your employees ought to understand how to protect data in USB devices.

Working Remotely and Secure Virtual Meetings

Since the onset of the Pandemic-induced crisis, there has been a steep uptake of remote working. Working from home trends are the main drivers of spontaneous adoption of virtual meetings and video conferencing. While the new lifestyle can boost productivity and minimize employee maintenance costs, it’s not without a good share of threats.

Interestingly, cybersecurity threats tend to increase when you adopt new work routines and habits. Remote work tools and resources are essential, but they may expose you to security threats. In a recent study by Propeller, phishing attacks that specifically targeted Dropbox resulted in a 13.6% click-through rate. Therefore, any company that intends to continue along this path must prioritize education on safe remote working.

Virtual meetings are susceptible to corporate espionage, eavesdropping, data theft, and real-time sabotage. Since most users are new to the concept, they can be oblivious to possible cybersecurity threats. As long as video conferencing and virtual meetings are part of work routines, businesses should focus on this aspect and provide security awareness.

Final Words

Cybersecurity training and awareness is a crucial step towards protecting your business from potential losses related to cyberattacks. By establishing a culture of responsibility and accountability in your business and promoting security awareness. And while companies are different, your employees need to stay updated on cybersecurity best practices. The best approach would be to use a flexible cybersecurity awareness training program covering the most important topics.

We hope you found this article insightful.

Thank you for being patient and staying with us till the end.

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Author Bio:

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Our mission is to turn corporate compliance from a cost center into a valuable strategic asset. We make compliance and risk officers more nimble with lightweight software designed for hot-growing companies. Our Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) Software encourages compliance, risk, and audit managers to act more nimbly and stand toe-to-toe with the fast-paced world of business.

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Sandipan Mukherjee
I manage online marketing at Stoodnt, Inc. I did my MBA from PUNE INSTITUTE OF BUSINESS MANAGEMENT. I’m into Digital Marketing, Website Building, Blogging & Infographics creating. If you have any business related queries, drop a mail at [email protected]
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