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Training Employees on IT Security Saves Time and Money

By Doug MacKay - January 23, 2019

Human error is the leading cause of cyber-attacks and data breaches for small businesses. Training employees on IT security and policies can help you avoid security problems, as well as save you time and money.

IT Security’s Biggest Menace

The threat of cyber-crime continues to grow. For large companies like Marriot and LinkedIn, it can take a toll on customer confidence, reputation, and cost millions in lost revenue. But these companies won’t be closing their doors anytime soon. They have resources to handle the fallout.

Small businesses (SMBs), on the other hand, have a lot more to worry about. In fact, the costs for SMBs are sobering if not plain scary.

  • 61% of security breaches are at SMBs
  • 60% of SMBs close within 6 months of a cyber-attack

But not all hope is lost. With the right planning, policies, investment, and leadership, you can help your small business defeat the leading cause of cyber-attacks and data breaches: human error.

IT Security and Employee Training

SMBs send employees to seminars and conferences all the time. Many consider this a price worth paying because they realize the benefit in increased sales, productivity, product knowledge, or customer service.

The benefits of training employees in IT security can be worth even more. According to Spiceworks, "71% of IT pros working in businesses with less than 100 employees believe employee security training tools are the most effective” in preventing security threats long term.

Having IT security policies, that are well understood and adhered to, is key to protecting your employees, customers, and business partners private information. Studies show that 55% of the total cost of a breach to a small business is in the loss of employee productivity and system downtime.

Education also plays a big role in preventing cyber-attacks:

  • 27% of employees click on email phishing links
  • 58% of malware attack victims are SMBs

One Policy Can’t Rule Them All

If you already have a general IT Security policy in place, great. But Information Security is not just about passwords, email, and the internet. Lost or stolen devices, for example, can create security risks. SMBs can benefit from having a full range of security policies.

Policies establish rules of behavior when dealing with private information, hardware, and software issues. Each policy can focus on a specific aspect of IT Security, it’s proper use, and consequences of policy violation. Here are a few examples:

  • Acceptable Use Policy
  • Backup and Retention Policy
  • Data Destruction and Encryption Policy
  • Internet Security Policy
  • Asset Disposal Policy
  • Mobile Device Policy

A Chain is Only As Strong As Its Weakest Link

Most security issues are unintended and unintentional. According to the New York Times, “the Equifax data breach, which exposed the sensitive personal information of nearly 146 million Americans, happened because of a mistake by a single employee.

As the Equifax example shows, just one person can create a security nightmare. Proper training and knowledge of policies could have saved them, and all of us, a lot of time and money.

 

 
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