The greatest threat to enterprise security is not necessarily an external force — it is more likely to come from within an organization.
The cyber resilience landscape becomes more complex each year. In recent months, generative AI-powered attacks rose, as did complex nation-state cyberattacks. Additionally, increased regulations and heightened threats of quantum computing breaking encryption standards make managing these matters challenging.
While organizations can take the right steps to track these changing dynamics and implement strong safeguards to protect their business, one key link remains hard to manage: the workforce.
Employees are human and prone to bad actors aiming to take advantage of them. Whether it is a complex phishing attack or negligent employee, bad actors will take any opportunity to disrupt an organization’s systems and operations. Take, for example, the recent typo error that directed data destined for U.S. military addresses (.mil) to a Mali-based web server (.ml). It is easy for employees to get caught up in daily tasks and miss simple details.
To help employees enhance their awareness, here are four safety steps every organization can take:
1. Build a company culture of responsibility and transparency
No employee wants to be the one who clicked on the phishing email that caused a massive data breach. Knowing this, company leaders must create an environment where employees understand that everyone plays a role in creating a cyber resilient environment. Additionally, make employees feel comfortable reporting any potential security issues without embarrassment or repercussions. By providing cybersecurity education and emphasizing the importance of reporting a potential incident, everyone can better understand and commit to building a cyber resilient and transparent culture.
2. Invest in meaningful and up-to-date training
Cybersecurity education and training needs to be prioritized. Enterprises must validate that the training is meaningful and explain its importance to employees. The most effective training encourages engagement, which helps employees retain more information. Through communication and meaningful training, workforces will feel more equipped to address potential breaches before they cause lasting damage to the business.
3. Instill awareness and healthy skepticism
With the emergence of generative AI, coupled with employee information viewable on social media, it is easy for attackers to craft well-executed and more convincing spear phishing attacks. Suspicious emails or texts with spelling errors or urgent requests used to be easy to spot. But with generative AI, those attacks are becoming more sophisticated and difficult for employees to differentiate between a legitimate link and a phishing link in disguise. By educating employees regularly about these complex threats and encouraging a healthy level of skepticism, teams can recognize and avoid a potential attack.
4. Reward cyber-safe employees
Organizations often deploy phishing simulation testing to assess their employees’ cybersecurity readiness. While it is essential to support employees who fail through additional education and training, it is also important to reward those who correctly spot and report the attack. Having a reward system incentivizes those who are following best practices and motivates employees to actively engage, remain suspicious and empower a culture of cybersecurity awareness.
Continual focus on cybersecurity awareness is critical to organizational safety and responsibility. Awareness and understanding must evolve as the attacks evolve and become more frequent and sophisticated. By instilling a culture of cybersecurity awareness and healthy skepticism, underpinned by meaningful training, organizations empower employees to handle any situation in the ever-changing threat landscape and remain cyber safe.