Of the many alarming, online trends during COVID-19 – the rapid rise of cybercrime stands tall among the rest.
Amidst the global crisis, Australia has dealt with a vast spike in pandemic-related phishing attacks, as criminals took advantage of the rampant fears and concerns surrounding coronavirus. Users additionally saw a significant rise in online scams, ransomware, and even stalkerware cases during the peak of the virus, calling for greater investment and awareness in cybersecurity practices.
Though its presence has never been more critical, cybercrime incidents are nothing new; with the trend victimising nearly one in three Australian adults between 2018-2019. It thus helps to stay vigilant, prepared, and equipped for such threats – most especially in a business context.
Below, we discuss the workplace benefits of implementing cyber security training for your workers, and online courses that can help.
Types of Cyber Security threats
Cybercrime takes on various forms, some more sophisticated than others. Among the most common attack methods include:
Phishing: in which criminals attempt to harvest confidential data by tricking email recipients into clicking a link or downloading an attachment; often resulting in downloaded malware or logging into fraudulent banking/social media websites.
Business email compromise (BEC): in which attackers impersonate an employee or authority figure within a business, tricking recipients into handing over money or sensitive data. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) reports over 4,250 BEC scams in the 2019-2020 financial year, resulting in over $142 million worth of losses.
Spyware: downloaded software that allows criminals to secretly observe their device activity.
Ransomware: a method that currently sits atop Australia’s most popular digital threats (affecting 64% of all small-to-medium-sized businesses), where criminals remotely infect a device and demand a fee to recover your system, files, and confidential data.
The workplace benefits of Cyber Security training
While investing in the latest cybersecurity tools and software is recommended, arming workers with ongoing security skills training can better ensure long-term protection of your business data. The top benefits of providing cyber security training include:
Starting with the obvious – most prominent benefit to cyber security training is, of course, greater data protection. Equipping your team with the skills to identify, manage, and contain security threats places your company data in safer hands, and ensures potential risks are addressed before they escalate.
According to statistics, 90% of “data leakage” is caused by human error, highlighting the need to inform employees on proper security practice. By building on their cybersecurity awareness, they can then employ the right software, habits, and routines to maintain protection and integrity of both their personal and company data.
Saved costs and downtime
Cybercrime is estimated to cost Australian businesses $29 billion in damages per year, with each experiencing 25 or more hours of downtime. Investing in quality security training is thus well worth it to prevent this, as worst-case scenarios often see small or start-up companies pushed to shut down altogether.
Aside from improved precautions, proper training can also help employees detect and manage intrusions early on, minimising potential damage. Statistics show that it takes an average of 286 days for workers to detect an intrusion – a number easily reduced with the right identification tactics.
More productive (and empowered) employees
Quality security training minimises the fear and uncertainty of common online threats, providing you with a more skilled, confident, and knowledgeable workforce. Productivity rates are bound to spike as human error decreases, and employees are better-equipped to quickly identify and handle security risks as they arise.
This also places less strain on your IT department, helping them focus on more pressing security matters and ways to improve your current protective systems.
With security training comes better cybersecurity practices – resulting in improved compliance with existing security standards and frameworks (i.e. NIST). Keeping your methods, tools, and systems in line with industry recommendations (or mandatory regulations) does wonders for your business reputation and ensures you’re employing the highest-quality solutions available.
Greater customer trust
With everyone doing their bit to strengthen your business’ cybersecurity, customers can rest assured that their data lies in safe hands. A weak security culture can ultimately pave the way for damaging breaches and cyber-attacks, which not only results in a loss of customer trust – but also the potential for future business partnerships.
In a survey of 2,000 respondents, 86.55% stated that they were either “not at all likely” or “not very likely” to continue doing business with a company that suffered a data breach (particularly involving credit or debit card details). Proper security training can thus teach workers to better handle sensitive information, ensuring such incidents are thoroughly prevented.
Better protection for remote workers
Work-from-home arrangements have understandably spiked in the wake of COVID-19 – and so have cyber crimes targeting those with vulnerable home-based security.
By ensuring your workers are individually armed with the skills to minimise and handle online risks, this further improves their digital protection outside of the workplace. Even with a lack of enterprise-grade security, they’ll at least be aware of the proper habits, routines, and tools to employ while protecting themselves remotely.
Collection of risk data
Knowing the specific risks, threats, and incidents your workers commonly experience can help you form and improve your security strategy as necessary. Implementing quality cybersecurity training can help build this awareness, and informs one on how and when to escalate security-based issues or incidents.
With a workforce skilled in identifying and assessing common threats, you’ll have greater insight into current cybercrime trends and ways to enhance protection.
Cyber security tips when working from home
With remote workers especially vulnerable due to a lack of company-wide security, an awareness of proper, home-based cybersecurity is more crucial than ever.
Work-from-home employees are encouraged to stay vigilant on the latest pandemic-related scams; such as e-mail messages, texts, and websites purporting to hold the newest medical information. Implementing strong, complex passwords across your devices is also a critical practice – ensuring you use a different one for each online account. This keeps criminals from unlocking all your profiles using a single, recycled passcode.
Multi-factor authentication additionally offers users a simple, extra layer of security by requiring them to submit multiple proofs of identification; these typically being something a user knows (i.e. a password or PIN), possesses (i.e. a token or security card), and biological evidence (i.e. a retina scan or fingerprint).
Finally, turning on automatic updates for your software and operating system is a must; ensuring they’re equipped with the latest security tools and features for better, stronger protection. This is often one of the simplest – yet most overlooked – practice for cybersecurity, as users tend to delay or procrastinate updates, resulting in vulnerable data and devices.
Cyber security courses
Those who wish to further their knowledge on cybersecurity – whether to upskill for the workplace or enter the field themselves – can pursue the online courses Upskilled currently offers. These include:
Through this 24-month cyber security course, you’ll dive into the fundamentals of the sector; these include best practices, security architecture, disaster recovery methods, and network security.
The program also touches on virtual and cloud computing environments, as well as broader areas of IT-related ethics, team leadership and ICT strategies. Those who complete the course may be well-equipped to pursue cybersecurity jobs such as a network security specialist or a network security engineer.
If you’re seeking a comprehensive, in-depth exploration of the ICT industry, the bachelor’s course in applied IT can help arm you with the all-rounder skillset to pursue various roles and specialisations. This three-year (or six-year, part-time) program dives into the fundamentals of IT, eventually delving into technical programming, networking, cybersecurity, and cloud computing skills.
You’ll have the flexibility to choose from the available core choice and elective subjects, and will be tasked to complete industry projects to apply your skills in a real-world industry context.
Those who complete the course may be well-equipped to pursue roles such as a systems support analyst or software manager.
Keep your data in good hands (with the right training!)
Cybercrime shows no signs of slowing, highlighting the crucial need for businesses to stay security-trained, aware, and vigilant.
Whether to train your employees or pursue a career path in the field, Upskilled’s cybersecurity course
is ideal for those seeking comprehensive, yet flexible training. Their online delivery allows you to build the skills you’re after at a schedule that suits you best, allowing you to balance work or personal commitments on the side.