Cybersecurity refers to protecting systems linked to the Internet, including software, data, and hardware, from online threats. Individuals, governmental and non-governmental institutions, business entities, and companies use the practice to secure against unsanctioned access to information centers and other computerized networks. Cybersecurity aims at providing vital protection to organizational servers, computers, mobile devices, and the stored data on the gadgets from hackers with malicious intentions.
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The Threat of Cyberattack for an Organization
Cyber-attackers can access, erase, or extort an entity’s or individual’s sensitive information, making cybersecurity essential. Vital information stored on business servers contains confidential data that may be utilized by a third party to blackmail a company for ransom upon a successful hack (Lallie et al., 2020). Safeguarding an organization and employees requires firms to implement robust cybersecurity measures and utilize the correct equipment. The tools include various risk management approaches, training, and regular system update as technologies continue to evolve and transform (Vartolomei & Avasilcăi, 2020). Managing dangers entails identifying, assessing, and controlling threats against a business entity’s earnings and capital.
A threat management scheme can help organizations incorporate identifying and managing risks to their digital assets. A business’s digital advantages include proprietary pooled data, personally identifiable information (PII) of a customer, and intellectual assets. Every institute anticipates or faces an unplanned risk, harmful impacts that may lead to financial loss (Aldawood & Skinner, 2019b). Risk management enables an entity to prepare for unanticipated hack-attacks by reducing the harms and extra incursions before they happen.
Categories of Cybersecurity Threats
Maintaining new security trends, technologies, and vulnerability intelligence remains a challenging task for most businesses. However, data protection and security of other assets from cyber threats form an essential part of Information Technology security (Booth, 2020). The risks include malware, ransomware, phishing, and social engineering.
Malware refers to a mode of spiteful software that utilizes any program or file to harm an organization’s computer user, including viruses, worms, spyware, and Trojan horses (Aldawood & Skinner, 2019a). Ransomware attacks involve a third-party locking a legitimate user’s computer system files, usually via encryption, demanding remittance to decrypt them. Therefore, IT training must tackle such factors as a way of ensuring the safety of their networks.
Social engineering entails a hack dependent on human activities, which deceives users into breaching security protocols to access crucial data. It occurs in various forms and can be undertaken in places where people frequently interact. Human risk manifests in two primary ways using social engineering in the business environment. First, any dissatisfied employee may use the privilege of access to steal an organization’s confidential information or disrupt the system, which results in losses (Sadeh-Koniecpol et al., 2016).
Second, loyal employees may unintentionally divulge confidential details or provide the third party with the opportunity to enter internal systems. Therefore, organizations must ensure awareness and training program entails measures of tackling the threat.
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Characteristics of an Effective Cybersecurity Awareness in Training Program
Awareness training on cybersecurity entails the formal process to educate an organization’s employees on computer security. The programs often aim at transforming behaviors or fortifying proper security operations. According to Aldawood and Skinner (2019b), awareness differs from training in that the purpose of the former focuses on security. The realization initiative generally targets enabling individuals to acknowledge information technology security and act accordingly (Sadeh-Koniecpol et al., 2017). Thus, awareness hinges on the concentration of the broader audience with enticing packaging methodologies.
The skills gained during training enable employees to have an insight on security basics and literacy medium. However, the program may not necessarily result in a formal certificate from a college. Nonetheless, a learning course may have similar material as those in higher learning institutions (Vartolomei & Avasilcăi, 2020).
Business firms should train system administrators on IT Security courses, which address the organization control approaches. The session should include the implementation of operational benchmarks and technical directions (Booth, 2020). Management jurisdiction comprises policies, IT security initiatives, risk management, and life safety. Therefore, functional controls should include users and individual issues, contingency planning, handling incidences, and computer support actions.
Regular tutoring remains essential in businesses with higher turnover rates and heavily dependent on temporary, contract, and contingent workers. Effective cybersecurity training programs must include an evaluation of need. An assessment of need helps determine a businesses’ awareness and training requirements (Aldawood & Skinner, 2019a). Therefore, the analysis outcome provides justifications to persuade the management to provide adequate resources in meeting the established consciousness and security training urge.
Factors Influencing Effective Cybersecurity Training
Cybersecurity awareness training and transforms employees’ behaviors and increases their ability to make security decisions in a business environment logically. Lallie et al. (2020) note that educating and training employees about cybersecurity is essential as cyberattacks’ chances continue to increase. Thus, the rising security breaches during the Covid-19 pandemic resulted from the directives by various businesses requiring staff to operate remotely (away from the usual work-stations), which led to challenges for many organizations.
Availing proper methods of dealing with cybersecurity to employees plays a significant role in enhancing awareness coaching. Entities should use language and words that can be easily understood by employees in a specific environment. Therefore, companies should assess their applications, systems, and data familiar to users (Ficco & Palmieri, 2019).
Training of remote staff on safe working practices also helps firms to prevent cyberattacks. Many businesses allow their workers to operate their gadgets, which are considered a tremendous cost-saving strategy that allows flexible working (Sadeh-Koniecpol et al., 2016).
However, such privilege is also risky for businesses as hackers may find an opportunity to access a company’s data using an employee’s computer that lacks proper cybersecurity techniques. According to Zandani (2016), workers should be reminded of the importance of locking individual devices. Therefore, any loss must be immediately reported to network providers to stop the third party from accessing and infiltrating available data.
Personnel working from home require additional training in understanding on safe usage of Wi-Fi networks. Fake public Wi-Fi services and networks in open places such as coffee shops and public utility areas are considered a significant threat to an organization’s system (Aldawood & Skinner, 2019).
The networks often leave the end-user at risk of feeding information into non-secure and unsafe public servers. Companies should focus more on educating the employees on the safe usage of Wi-Fi or be advised to evade using such networks (Booth, 2020). Thus, a recommendable training initiative can also enable workers to detect any potential Wi-Fi threats.
In the contemporary business environment, companies must continue to remain vigilant on the issue of phishing. Firms should institute training programs and awareness initiatives that enable employees to identify phished emails and social engineering hacks (Sadeh-Koniecpol et al., 2016). The lessons should also highlight the impacts of the actions the staff may have on the establishment. Therefore, the threats can be controlled and reduced through adequate training of the end-user to recognize possibly detrimental emails and alert the dubious ones.
Persons to be Trained
Conducting the evaluation should involve key personnel and roles to be addressed in terms of special coaching includes;
- The executive management, such as the firm’s leaders, should wholly comprehend laws and directives, forming the cybersecurity program base. They must also understand their leadership duties in guaranteeing compliance by system operators in their units.
- Security operators, including program managers in charge of security, system owners, and enforcement officers. They act as expert consultants for the business firm hence must be well trained on security initiatives and recommended practices. System owners should have a broader knowledge of IT security policies and requirements relevant to their control system.
- System admins, IT support persons, operation managers, and system users. These individuals require a higher training extent and technical knowledge in efficient security policies and implementation. They also need security consciousness and training on system management they use in conducting business operations.
Completion of a need evaluation for cybersecurity training can enable businesses to develop plans and awareness schemes. According to Booth (2020), the initiative should act as the official document in discussing elements such as the scope, responsibilities, and functions of the organization’s persons developing, designing, implementing, and maintaining the consciousness and teaching equipment. The assessment should also investigate the security control of a firm by analyzing the vulnerabilities.
Supply Chain and Cybersecurity
High profile businesses continue to be devastated due to prevalent cyberattacks practices, leading to losses in finances and damaging the brand’s esteem. According to Sadeh-Koniecpol et al. (2017), companies are today striving to protect the available information, data integrity, and confidentiality. IT has become more complicated and complex due to constant innovations that involve large data storage, the usage of cloud-based guides, and predictive analytics. Electronic equipment, including e-sourcing and robotized acquire-to-pay systems, further compounds the challenges (Vartolomei & Avasilcăi, 2020).
The value chains include foreign and domestic manufacturers, importers, logistic firms, agents, and third-party transport utility providers. The value chains have recently become the main target of hackers seeking to hold ransom institutions by infiltrating (Sadeh-Koniecpol et al., 2016). Businesses often rely on trusted relations with third-party distributors and service providers to undertake other functions. Most contracted firms encompass essential suppliers of constituents and preservation, while others provide professional services, including IT, marketing, and accounting (Aldawood & Skinner, 2019b). Therefore, attackers often use such situations to access a business’ security system and servers, notwithstanding the existing cybersecurity threat management policies.
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Regulations and Laws Requirements on Cybersecurity Awareness and Training Programs
Most state laws across the world continue to promote strategic proposals in addressing cybersecurity targeted at business entities. Cyberattack threats are increasingly transforming thanks to the speed of new technological advancements, prompting lawmakers and government agencies to make the attacks a top priority (Booth, 2020). For instance, about forty-three states in the United States, including Puerto Rico, initiated approximately thirty bills dealing exclusively with cybersecurity. In contrast, thirty-one states ratified legislation on cyber-attack in 2019. Some of the regulations include;
- Making it mandatory for businesses to execute training or specified forms of security plans and practices
- Creation of commissions or task forces that address the security of linked devices
- Restructure of organizations affected by cyberattacks for advanced safety
- Provision for the safety of utilities and censorious structures
- Regulation of cybersecurity within the insurance agencies
Cybersecurity standards are critical in helping organizations to protect their businesses from hackers. In most cases, companies hire experts to implement recommended practices. The qualities apply to all establishments regardless of the industry or size (He & Zhang, 2019). Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) refers to the Department of Defense specified alternative to the Federal Acquisition Regulation, which provides purchase directives particular to the DoD (Aldawood & Skinner, 2019b).
Therefore, accession officials from the government and contractors transacting business with the Defense Department must stick to the DFARS regulations.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ratification aims to secure personal data and develop more openness. The policy was initiated in Europe in May 2018 to create transparency in organizations that transacted with the European Union (Aldawood & Skinner, 2019a). The rigorous data consent and protection regulations have also affected the U.S. businesses in Europe that utilize private client data for marketing purposes. The policy also requires data managers to distinctly impart any data collection and state the legal basis and motive for the processing.
Return on Investment Opportunities in Awareness and Training Program
Cybersecurity protection has presented many companies with difficulties as a result of improper handling of network security. Information Technology staff training forms an essential part of ensuring appropriate mechanisms are utilized (Ficco & Palmieri, 2019). Internet security coaching, including authentication for IT experts, provides updated knowledge that enables personnel to make appropriate resolutions. Hence, the empowerment forms a significant part of the extensive return on investments for cyberattacks awareness and training. In the contemporary environment, data forms an essential part of daily business operations. Costs and returns present more compelling evidence in measuring the finances of a technology.
According to Vartolomei and Avasilcăi (2020), 86% of establishments determine technology-based structures’ using Return on Investment approach. The RoI of safety awareness training appraises the financial benefits achieved through investments and the execution of a security consciousness coaching plan (Zandani, 2016). Therefore, the practice does not lead to increased revenue; instead, profits are measured as the value saved from the prevented cyber risk.
Sample Topics Valuable to Company Departments in Supply / Value Chain
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) serves as a national laboratory that promotes innovations and business competition in various organizations. The body formulates research standards to strengthen company structures and safeguard their safety recognition and training strategies. NIST emphasizes certainty awareness and tutoring as constituents of the protective function of cybersecurity structure (Sadeh-Koniecpol et al., 2017). The below topics can be subdivided into comprehensive sub-topics to serve as a list for training staff members. Some of the issues include;
- Regular data access monitoring
- Safe web browsing
- Safeguarding business using complex protection layers
- Malware and removable media
- Physical and mobile safety
Vetting of vendors before the commencement of partnerships is essential for a company’s procurement department. According to Sadeh-Koniecpol et al. (2016), most establishments have little or no ability to reduce breaching incidents. Evaluating all distributors’ and logistic partners’ safety policies and privacy strategies decreases computerized attacks (Aldawood & Skinner, 2019a).
For instance, conducting a security self-evaluation on the type of certainty tool, the type of privileged access recognition policies available, and their status updates on servers and systems are fundamental in reducing cyberattacks. Therefore, performing audits on suppliers’ and regular undertaking of penetration analyses can guarantee the safety of businesses.
Integration of Awareness and Training into the Rate of Exchange
Technology continues to influence financial services for companies in various ways. For instance, training and awareness of cybersecurity address themes that business executives can use to develop a strategic plan. The use of technology, coupled with new monetary transaction models, continues to replace traditional mediators for financial affairs (Aldawood & Skinner, 2019b). Microfinance agencies face transitional challenges related to markets and models indistinguishable from more prominent financial service sectors. Therefore, awareness and training should focus on the integration of significant security breaches that new businesses face.
Covid-19 and Cybersecurity Awareness Training
The coronavirus outbreak has led to an increase in the likelihood and influence of security breaches as entities continue to grapple with operational and monetary challenges. The nature of cyber-attacks is increasingly changing as hackers exploit unprecedented instances. According to Pranggono and Arabo (2020), various business responses, such as allowing people to work remotely, have had a negative effect on cyberattacks incidences. The existing dangers remain unattended as expenditure and IT transform, coupled with the emergence of new possibilities ravage many firms.
Training and awareness programs have enabled many companies to switch to remote working. Most staff members operate from home, and therefore, there would be a significant impact on cybersecurity and the entire IT structure of an organization. Booth (2020) states that the application of security controls may be unavailable to the new strategies and systems to support workers in remote operation. In addition, available protocols and exercises may be sidelined or unavailable (Lallie et al., 2020). Therefore, coaching employees on cybersecurity can significantly help businesses to monitor their systems even when working from home.
Covid-19 has led to a change in business operations for most companies. Priorities have shifted as establishments prepare for or continue to encounter notable operational and economic challenges. The change has made cybersecurity issues ignored as more resources are now being channeled towards gaining entities’ financial stability. The awareness and coaching programs have proved efficient during the pandemic-associated scams (Lallie et al., 2020).
Hackers have adjusted and re-evaluated new methods to take advantage of the current Covid-19 situation. They have now pivoted from dispatching phishing communications such as inquiring for bitcoin to a more pandemic-related and personal approach. Therefore, employee education on cyber-attacks has increasingly become crucial in the last past months.
Data-theft fraud is also an added challenge during the pandemic awareness and training practices have had to address. Attackers are now fixing codes into websites that bear a close resemblance by providing real information regarding the virus. For instance, hackers had developed a similar kind of map of global coronavirus cases with implanted malware (Pranggono & Arabo, 2020). Therefore, business owners have recently been advising their staff to ensure that devices such as cellphones, laptops, and applications are up to date and install necessary patches.
In conclusion, an organization’s staff remains one of the biggest threats to its cyber safety. Most IT professionals perceive human error as the leading cause of data breaches. IT experts often play an integral role in tackling cybersecurity issues in the organization. If provided with sufficient training and awareness of the knowledge required to detect cyber-attacks, the IT personnel can help firms prevent significant breaches and formulate strategies to avoid them before they occur. Therefore, implementing cyber safety coaching initiatives can help prevent the network and system dangers that an entity may face, including malware, email scams, password safety, removable devices and media, and safe internet practices.
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