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Human Risks, Human Rewards: Empowering Your Employees to Face Cybersecurity Threats with Human Risk Management
Companies are composed of people, and people are imperfect. (People, imperfect?! We’ll wait while you recover from your shock). Rather than viewing employees as a problem or a burden, Human Risk Management approaches them as a great asset to cybersecurity— a company’s first line of defense against cyber attacks. Human Risk Management works with employees to identify, evaluate, and mitigate the risks associated with real human behavior. While security measures like firewalls and anti-virus software are important, more than 80% of breaches are caused by human error according to a Stanford study. So, to fortify your company like Helm’s Deep facing an orc attack, it makes sense to focus your efforts on teaching employees to strengthen cybersecurity throughout the organization. Cybermaniacs has been doing Human Risk Management since the beginning, and for good reason: human risk management treats employees like people who are trying their best. Training humans means empowering them with the skills they need to face modern digital threats in cybersecurity.
Chances are, at some point you’ve had to sit in a stuffy conference room or impersonal Zoom meeting while someone reads from an outdated PowerPoint. Maybe this training was part of your new hire orientation, wedged between a payroll presentation and cringey examples of HR violations; maybe you completely zoned out and watched Taylor Swift lyric analysis videos instead. Don’t worry, we won’t judge you– but we do want to offer better solutions for security awareness training. Human Risk Management is an ongoing, evolving process that can’t be comprehensively captured in an annual presentation, and it begins with building a culture of security awareness.
Measure for Measures: Data and Risk Assessment
One great way to take the temperature of your company’s security awareness is through phishing simulations. This involves sending simulated phishing emails to employees and observing their response to the fake cyber attack, such as opening unauthorized links. This strategy has twofold benefits: you can gather data about employee susceptibility to certain kinds of cyber attacks and also offer individualized training programs informed by the risky behaviors observed in the simulation. Best practice avoids calling out specific users and instead recommends choosing a random group for period training. A win-win for employees, who won’t feel called out, and employers who want to improve security.
Once you analyze data to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your employees’ current security knowledge, then you can integrate those takeaways into Human Risk Management training that is tailored specifically to your company’s needs.
Bite-Sized Appeal (No, Not Charcuterie)
Every day bad actors use social engineering to manipulate regular people into falling for cyber attacks. The good news is that the same understanding of human behavior that leads to successful cyber-attacks and data breaches can also help protect against them.
Training sessions about cybersecurity tend to happen infrequently; this may feel schedule-friendly on the surface but doesn’t take into account the new strategies for manipulation that cybercriminals are constantly developing in the meantime. Plus, as you might remember from ninth-grade biology class, it can be really hard to process and retain large amounts of information in a short amount of time. So, how can a company succeed at Human Risk Management? The first step is to consider how people actually learn.
The incredible success and efficacy of language apps like Duolingo show that absorbing small, bite-sized pieces of information over long periods of time, and with regular reinforcement like quizzes, helps with long-term retention. Leave behind dusty PowerPoints and utilize learning programs that are personalized, interactive, fun, and relevant. Cyber threats are constantly changing and evolving, so the learning content you provide employees should too.
Incorporating training into your employee’s regular workflow can also help change the company culture around cybersecurity; rather than an annoying interruption, learning new strategies for recognizing and resisting cybersecurity threats becomes a normal part of professional development. When you empower your employees with Human Risk Management training, everyone becomes a part of the security team and learns to share responsibility for the security and well-being of the company. It’s so easy to believe we’re immune to the threat of bad actors online and think “that would never happen to me.” Shifting company culture with HRM can instead help every employee see themselves as an important player in protecting the organization against threats. Never forget: cultures of blame lead to more apathy and an increased risk of cybersecurity incidents.
By providing your employees with engaging, personalized, and relevant educational experiences and rewarding their progress, everyone will feel valued for helping protect against threats. You’ll see positive cultural changes across your organization.
Humans helping humans is what we’re all about. We can offer bespoke training that engages employees, assessments to determine your baseline cybersecurity score, and more! Drop us a line to learn more by booking a quick call today.
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