HomeMost PopularTech StocksInvesting in Employee Security Training: Maximizing Your Returns

Investing in Employee Security Training: Maximizing Your Returns

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By Hudney Piquant, Solutions Architect, and Charlie Waterhouse, Senior Security Analyst, Synack, Inc.

Data breaches are becoming increasingly costly, with IBM reporting that the average cost of a breach has reached an all-time high of $4.45 million. Not only do incidents like these have financial implications, but they can also damage a company’s reputation. With 74% of breaches involving a human element, investing in employee security training has become crucial in reducing the risk of security breaches.

Investing in Security Training: A game-changer for risk reduction

Let’s delve into potential investments in enhancing our security posture. Imagine we represent a large public company that is an attractive target for attackers. To reduce the risk of adversaries infiltrating our environment, we can opt for a state-of-the-art firewall, which will cost us approximately $1.5 million. However, despite its effectiveness in reducing technical risks, this approach has its limitations. On the other hand, investing in security training for our employees can yield significant results at a fraction of the cost. Assuming a training budget of $250,000 for a company of our size, we can expect employees to become 10% better at spotting threats. Based on these assumptions, let’s compare the findings:

Table: Impact of Security Investments

  • Purchase of Firewall (Technical Solution): 50% reduction in operational risks
  • Employee Security Training: 10% improvement in threat detection

From the table, we can observe that human training leads to an outsized impact on risk reduction, even with a smaller budget and conservative estimates. Furthermore, if we assume an annual breach and fixed costs on deployment, security training becomes an investment that ultimately saves money.

Rewarding Good Security Behavior

Companies need to adopt a holistic approach that combines technical solutions with effective security training. The current industry approach, which typically involves annual training sessions and heavy investment in technical safeguards, falls short. Instead, companies should consider implementing β€œdrip feeds” of security-related information to employees. This approach involves regularly sharing best practices, highlighting specific threats, and strategies for mitigating them. By revisiting these topics over time, employees are more likely to retain and apply the information compared to one-time training sessions.

The 74% figure from the Data Breach Investigations Report demonstrates that the current system of annual training is ineffective. Employees are often subjected to boring, complex courses that they quickly forget. To overcome this, companies can complement traditional training with engaging activities such as β€œgotcha” emails or phishing awareness tests. Additionally, using marketing resources to create fun and attention-grabbing security content can help keep employees vigilant. Gamifying the training experience, such as offering incentives for participation and knowledge retention, can also boost engagement and make learning more desirable across the organization.

Empowering Employees as Cybersecurity Defenders

Effective cybersecurity doesn’t stop at technical solutions and training sessions. Companies should encourage direct communication and information sharing among employees. Creating internal security channels where employees can flag potential threats, vulnerabilities, or targeted attacks can turn them into valuable sensors for the organization. This real-time engagement helps educate employees about potential threats and strengthens the collective defense against cyberattacks.

Ultimately, investing in employee security training and empowering them as defenders can turn the human element from a vulnerability into an asset. By dedicating time, effort, and thought to cybersecurity training, organizations can improve their global infrastructure’s security and protect themselves from costly data breaches.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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