Any business delivering services, online or otherwise, involves staff and employees. The personnel should be focused and trusted. Most professionals from the industry would know about the latest cyber-attacks, more often the ones that resulted in major identity theft or reputational damage. IT security teams in organizations implement security policies, processes, firewalls, comprehensive defense, and altering systems or use sophisticated encryption and security protocols to stay safe from online attacks.
However, without any embedded culture of cybersecurity awareness or enforcement, all the fancy, expensive, state-of-the-art security systems are not going to do any good.
At the end of the cybersecurity pyramid, are employees, the organization’s weakest link. Cybercriminals also know that the easiest way to access secure networks or steal data is to target this “human factor”. Employees often have access to critical data and login credentials or other critical information that can easily cripple the organization.
As per BAE Systems, March 14, 2019 report  human error continues to be a major concern with 71% of the attacks being phishing attacks and 65%, virus and malware attacks.
Remember Target’s database attack where more than 40 million customers’ credit and debit card information were compromised, making it one of the largest identity thefts in history?  Fast forward to last year, 2018 was in cybersecurity news because of brands like Facebook, Under Armour, Delta, Macy’s, Panera Bread, Whole Foods, and more. It is not only large businesses that are targeted, but the small ones alone have also made nearly 61% of all cyber attacks . Going back to Target’s attack, the reason was not the negligence of management but was a gateway that hackers found with one of their HVAC vendors.
What is Cyber Awareness Training?
It’s tough to accept that cyberthreats go beyond the eye. Cybersecurity Awareness Training (CAT) or Security Awareness Training (SAT) is a priority for organizations of all sizes as it helps educates employees on existing and arising information security concerns. The awareness training helps employees and management understand IT governance issues, recognize security concerns and learn their relevance to respond accordingly. Employees should be trained in information flow and upholding information as a valuable corporate asset.
Regular training on cybersecurity is necessary when the employee turnover is high or there are many contract or temporary employees. Though the complete success of the CAT cannot be guaranteed, the metric proved a downward trend in the number of attacks over a period. 
Purpose of Cybersecurity Awareness Training
Many companies are now investing in cybersecurity awareness training programs. Education programs are conducted to educate their employees on protecting their computer and personal information and how to stay safe from various cybercriminals scouring the web for potential targets. The purpose of security awareness training is to develop essential competencies and introduce them to new techniques and methods that have been introduced to tackle possible security issues. By conducting a training program on a regular basis, an organization can ensure that they have a well-trained team who can handle security concerns in the best possible way.
Besides performing the regular indefinite security tasks like employing security defense solutions (firewalls) and protection systems (IDPS), employee awareness is the foremost concern. Organizations should consider cybersecurity training as one of their significant strategies to reduce exposure to various threats. When trained on cybersecurity awareness, the chances of falling victim to an intrusion attempt decreases. 
Why Cybersecurity Awareness Training Is Important
Changing work patterns, an introduction to new regulations, and not to mention, the unstoppable interference of internet in our life, has emphasized the necessity of CAT among employees.
1. Working Remotely/ Telecommuting
Remote working is now a reality, thanks to cloud technology. The so-called telecommuting work-style has spread to the extent that organizations have separate policies for work-from-home employees with restricted and redefined ways to analyze productivity, profitability, and the title of “best” worker.
- 30 million people of U.S. workforce work from home at least once a week. 
- It is estimated that 50% of the total workforce will work remotely by 2020. 
The pattern of working remotely using cloud technology has increased the level of comfort but has equally brought organizations greater risk of uncertain intrusions. Employees are responsible for using any personal endpoint devices and should restrict the usage of official equipment only to corporate purposes. Having a cybersecurity awareness training educates remote employees on how to handle official devices when away from the official infrastructure.
2. The Internet of Things (IoT)
The fancy world of the internet has captured us to the extent where we can no longer imagine life without it. Employees connect personal devices on company networks or use them for official work and these devices are interconnected with other devices and networks which only compound vulnerabilities.
The most popular MIRAI botnet attack, which was the largest DDoS attack ever, was launched on a service provider using an IoT botnet. 
Mobiles are the major threat to the organization’s internal IT security as many lack appropriate defense. The IoT attacks can be curbed by reducing the “bring your own device” (BYOD) workplace practice, and enforcing security policies among employees.
3. Increased Government Regulations
The CAT is no more a choice, with many government regulations stressing on safe computer and network usage policies in the last two decades, an employee awareness program has become crucial. Government agencies and legislators have stressed on the importance of public and private enterprises protecting their IT assets and digital information. Government regulations have now defined how organizations behave with respect to safety standards, making it mandatory for employee training as well.
Few specific industries like finance, government contractors, healthcare, etc. are governed by cybersecurity regulatory requirements compared to others and most often fall under the following statutes:
- The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), known as the Financial Services Modernization Act
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- The Homeland Security Act and
- The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)
Based on your type of industry, cybersecurity awareness training must be performed to comply with these standards.
The best defense is a strong offense, especially in the case of cybersecurity awareness. Turning to organizational security awareness is not easy whereas it is always convenient to tune into prepping employees, operations, and technology for better tomorrow.
In the dawn of cybersecurity awareness training, organizations are looking forward to those cyber-educated and have strong IT security skills. The plan is to restructure staff with fresh and new talent who can also spread similar vibes of security practices at all levels. EC-Council is a leading cybersecurity credentialing body in the world which offers various programs that provide global level training credentials. Our programs range from Secure Computer User to Certified Information Security Officer catering to various cybersecurity requirements like network defense, ethical hacking, penetration testing, digital forensic investigation, incident response handling, and more. For more details of our programs visit our website: https://www.eccouncil.org/programs/