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REVEALED: How to protect your data with cyber security training

The digital world we live brings an inevitable outcome of cyber attacks posing a threat to many businesses, regardless of size or sector. The complexity of cyber attacks rises, so no organisation is immune however, they can reduce their risk by safeguarding their valuable assets and confidential data.


One effective way to achieve the forementioned is to invest in cyber security training for employees.


The purpose of cyber security training is to provide employees with the essential skills and knowledge to identify threats and neutralising them, this will reduce the risk of data breaches and other cyber-related incidents.


Within this article, managed it service providers TSG highlight how cyber security training for your employees can benefit your business and why it’s crucial for safeguarding your organisation against cyber threats that can lead to detrimental effects.


Cyber Security Statistics in the UK
It was revealed by Cyber Breaches Survey 2023 that 32% of UK businesses were hit by a cyber-attack within last year. It highlighted the significant threat cyber attacks have to business security. This figure only includes those that were reported as many cyberattacks can occur unreported. It was also reported that the average cost of a single cyber-attack for a business is £20,900.


The figure doesn’t include the damage to a company’s reputation, restoration costs and emotional impact on individuals involved.


What’s more, there’s other serious consequences to an attack that could lead to regulatory fines and penalties under the Data Protection Acts (DPA) of 1998, 2018 and the Privacy and Electronic Regulations (PECR).


Businesses that beach GDPR, can also expect to incur administrative fines of up to 20,000,000 EUR or up to 4% of whatever the total worldwide annual turnover of the preceding financial year, which is higher.


Despite these risks, there are many businesses that leave themselves vulnerable to them. There are only 6% of businesses within the UK that have the Cyber Essentials certification, and only 1% have Cyber Essentials Plus. However, this is due to a lack of awareness of the benefits of these qualifications.


Prioritising cyber security, is a crucial for businesses to eradicate the consequences of a cyber-attack. The high percentage of businesses highlighted who experienced cyber-attack results in a need for businesses to invest in sufficient cyber security.


Furthermore, businesses should familiarise themselves with the benefits of certifications such as Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus, which can aid improvement on security and reduce the risk of cyber-attacks. By investing in cyber security and obtaining necessary certifications, businesses can avoid regular penalties, reputational damage, and financial losses.


Cyber Essentials Certificate
If businesses acquire a Cyber Essentials certification, they can demonstrate the commitment to cyber security to their customers and partners as well as have implemented the necessary measures to safeguard against cyber threats.


Within the certification process, businesses can expect to have access and implement optimal IT security measures, such as firewalls, secure configuration, access control, and malware protection. This ensures that businesses have robust security processes in place, thus reducing the risk of data breaches and other cyber security incidents.


In addition, new business opportunities can be brought to companies who obtain a Cyber Essentials certification. Many government contracts and tenders require suppliers to have a Cyber Essentials certification, making it a requirement for winning those contracts.


Companies can also be included on the trusted register of suppliers on the NCSC website, that can also aid a potential customer to validate a business’s cyber security credentials that can put them ahead of their competitors.


No business has immunity to cyber security
Across the UK, there have been data breaches that have impacted popular businesses such as: JD Sports, Virgin Media, WHSmith, LastPass, Uber and more.


Yes, even companies as large as Uber indicate that even the largest and most well-known companies are not immune to threats.


Uber and experienced a breach in 2022, which their attacker had purchases credentials of an Uber employee from the dark web. The employee had MFA enabled, however, to bypass this, the attacker further contacted the employee via WhatsApp, posing as member of the security team and flooded the individual with MFA notifications. To get rid of this, the employee approved a request which allowed the attacker to bypass all security controls.


This highlights that even through manipulating one individual within a company, the attacker was able to have access of all internal data such as Slack, Jira, Hackerone Reports and much more. This resulted in the personal information of over 57 million Uber users being compromised.


Durham Johnston Comprehensive School had also experienced a data breach at the beginning of 2023. The notorious ransomware gang Vice Society were able to steal sensitive information which led to ICO confirming that it is investigating the incident, and this result in GDPR fines.


The reasoning behind cyber-attacks on businesses
Various techniques are used by cyber attackers, including malware, phishing, social engineering and other methods to gain access to sensitive information, disrupt operations or to cause damage to a business’s reputation.


The reasoning for attacks could vary, including financial gain, political or ideological motives even for a personal vendetta that attacker may have on a business. Cyber-attacks on businesses are becoming more common due to the growing dependency of digital technologies and the internet, making it essential for businesses to invest in cyber security measures to prevent and mitigate such attacks.


Most common cyber threats:


      Data Breaches
      Phishing emails
      Intellectual property theft
      Social engineering
      Corporate espionage


How can they happen?


      Poor password practices
      Lack of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
      Security misconfiguration
      Using unsecured networks
      Lack of employee cyber security awareness


One of the most contributing factors to cyber attacks on businesses, is human error. Many attacks, such as phishing and social engineering attacks, rely on human error to be successful. Employee may inadvertently click on links or download attachments that contain malware or fall for social engineering tactics used by attackers.


Having a lack of security training, can increase human error through lack of awareness about cyber security or careless practices such as using weak password or sharing login credentials.


There, it’s not only investing in technology-based security solutions the mitigate the cyber security risks, essential training and optimising good IT practices are also advocated. This helps to establish a culture of security awareness and vigilance to minimise the risk of human error.



What’s involved within cyber security awareness training?
Investing in cyber security awareness training is an effective way to help individuals and organisations to defend themselves against cyber-attacks.

If employees and users are educated about the risk and best practices relating to online security, thus the training can help prevent cyber-attacks, data breaches and other security threats.


Password security, email phishing, malware and social engineering tactics are typically covered within the training program.


Preventing threats can fall into raising awareness of their existence and providing practical tips to eradicate them. Individuals and organisation can develop a stronger security posture and reduce their vulnerability to cyber-attacks.


Additional, providing routine training on cyber-security will help keep it prioritised amongst the minds of your employees and users, as well promoting the culture of security awareness throughout the organisation, especially as you obtain new heads.


Cyber security training will help your organisation to:


      Gain a better understanding of the threat landscape.
      Improve employee security awareness.
      Learn how to implement effective countermeasures against online threats.
      Gain an indication of your Return on Investment (ROI) by comparing the number of incidents before and after the cyber security training.
      Demonstrate your commitment to protecting customer data as well as preserving and improving your brand reputation amongst clients and partners.
      Give you greater protection for your business and assets.
      Avoid paying fines for failing an audit by reaching industry compliance.
      Improve your incident response capabilities in case of any issues.


The result:


      Minimised human error which leads to enhanced employee productivity.
      Reduced risks associated with employee error or negligence.
      Give your staff more ownership of cyber security.
      Boost your employees moral and confidence.
      Free up time for cyber experts to focus on more complex issues.
      Benefit staff outside of work too as they can implement a security culture within their day to day lives.
      A culture of security with best practices where people feel free to share any issues or concerns, they have about cyber security which is an important goal of Chief Information Security Officers (CISO’s).



Cyber security breaches survey 2023 – GOV.UK (