Importance of Cybersecurity Training for Employees

Being a business owner nowadays is a lot more involved than it used to be, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. Owners today need to understand what it takes to protect customer information and be aware of tactics used by fraudsters to access that information.

Every year, hundreds of companies report data breaches of user information. Some of the biggest data breaches of 2020 include Nintendo, Twitter, and Marriott. However, small businesses are not immune from these attacks. It’s reported that on average 43 percent of all data breaches are from small businesses, showing that fraudsters target businesses both large and small.

However, only a few small businesses are able to mitigate a cyberattack, resulting in more than 60 percent of small businesses going out of business within six months once an attack has occurred. Being a victim of a cyberattack is costly, which is why it is so important to do everything you can to protect your business.

Why do you need to train your employees?

No matter what industry you are in, employees are a company’s strongest asset. However, they are also a company’s biggest risk when it comes to cybersecurity. While some hackers will try to break into a database directly, one of the fastest vehicles to access data is through phishing and social engineering attacks on your employees. Training your employees about cybersecurity will help ensure that fraudsters will not end up with your important information, and your company will stay safe.  

What Are Some Practical Ways to Train Employees?

Communicating with your employees about cybersecurity can feel overwhelming, so here’s some some practical ways you can educate your employees on cybersecurity tactics and what to lookout for.

Make it an Educational Opportunity

While there are many ways to approach cybersecurity training, there are some tactics to consider so that your employees get the most out of it.  One of the best ways to approach cybersecurity training is through a “group project” lens, and treating it as an educational experience for everyone. Many employees might not know what phishing or social engineering attacks are, so laying the foundation for a learning opportunity will allow employees to ask questions and feel as though they are on the same team. After all, cybersecurity at a company is everyone’s responsibility, not just the IT department.

Focus on Password Safety

Password safety and security is so important when it comes to mitigating cybersecurity risks. Passwords can be a real pain, but they also are the easiest way for a fraudster to access confidential information, so making sure employees understand the importance of password safety will lower the risk of a cyberattack.

There are many things companies can do to mitigate risks, such as implementing a process for updating passwords every 30 days, requiring passwords on company technology be 8-12 characters, and encouraging employees to use a password manager.

However, teaching employees how to create strong passwords, as well as helping them understand the risks associated with a weak password, are key in getting everyone on board. Many people may not know where to start or how to go about creating passwords, so offering training on password safety and security will help grow knowledge and understanding for everyone.

Tips such as:

  • Avoid common words and phrases, such as ‘password,’ ‘ilove,’ and ‘abcdefg.’
  • Don’t use personal information in your password, such as your name or names of pets, as that information can easily be found on the internet.
  • Never recycle a password, no matter how tempting it might be. Recycling a password is sure-fire way to put your company at risk.

You could also make resources about password safety readily available to them, so that information about password security can easily be accessed.

Hold Mini Training Sessions

While there is a lot of information to disburse to employees, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to go over everything all at once. Many cybersecurity experts suggest that companies hold mini training sessions over the course of a few months, rather than making employees sit through a longer session. Breaking the sessions up into a few important topics and then spreading them out will allow employees to fully grasp the importance of each individual topics before moving onto the next.

This would be a great time to go over how employees can recognize phishing attacks, social engineering attacks, and what to do if they believe their login credentials have been compromised.

Send Out Test Phishing Emails

One of the most efficient ways that fraudsters can get into a company’s database is through phishing attacks. Phishing attacks occur when a fraudster sends an email to employees, posing as a trusted source, and prompts them to click on a link. The employees who click on the link are directed to a page where are they are prompted to use their login credentials to login, which is then giving fraudsters the perfect opportunity to steal information.

A great way to teach employees how to spot phishing emails is to hire a company that sends simulated phishing emails. These services can be tailored to your business similar to how a fraudster would target your employees. This allows your employees to get the full experience without the consequences if they are fooled.

Overall, it is important to recognize that cybersecurity is a team effort, and should be treated as such. Employees need to be aware of how fraudsters are looking to gain access to company information in order to secure your company’s financial future.

Here at Blackhawk Bank, we want to make sure business owners know how to protect their company and what steps they can take to make sure they are not a cyberattack victim. Want to learn more about Blackhawk Bank? Contact us today!


Jessica Hendon

VP Physical & Information Security
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