Being aware of the existence of a danger and the consequences that this entails is the first defense tool.
Cybersecurity awareness transforms employees into the first line of defense against cybercrime, raising awareness, making them aware of the types, methods and impacts of cyber attacks against computers, servers, networks, mobile devices and corporate data.
The aim is to raise the security level of the entire organization, transforming behaviors and improving the security posture.
What is cybersecurity awareness
Security awareness refers to the knowledge that must be acquired through a timely and constant training process intended for all users of connected devices and, more specifically, for employees considered central figures in translating into practice daily as contained in the corporate security policies.
Due to simple inattention, forgetfulness or lack of knowledge regarding the safety measures to be adopted, the employee may find himself enabling illegal access to the company network.
The causes can be different, from simply clicking on a link contained in a suspicious e-mail message, to opening an attachment from an unknown sender and, perhaps, downloading unsafe content.
However, security awareness in an organization does not only concern employees, but all staff, including management figures.
Thinking the opposite is equivalent to a limited vision of security, which does not take into account all its dynamics and all its actors, including those who, precisely because of the high office they hold and the high level of responsibility, make extensive use of mobile devices containing a large amount of sensitive information about the company, its business or its customers.
Furthermore, the management is subject to frequent movements which exposes them to further risks, as they often make use (without knowing the level of protection) of public infrastructures for wireless Internet access, with the risk of incurring external attacks aimed at data theft.
Therefore, everyone in the company must be aware of the different types of threats, their impacts on the company’s operations, on the continuity of the services provided, on the business, on privacy and data confidentiality, and it is essential to be aware of the role that the human component covers as a first measure of defense.
Types and objectives of cybersecurity awareness
Depending on the type of company and its peculiarities from an organizational point of view, information and training can follow different channels, ranging from classroom teaching by trainers inside or outside the company, to e-learning programs specifically developed on the basis of the general staff preparation level, up to gamification techniques or the development of specific information material provided by means of newsletters or via the company Intranet.
First of all, the contents must start from the basics, explaining which are the most common cyber attacks, how to identify them and how computers and mobile devices must be protected, how one’s access credentials and personal information must be made inviolable.
Subsequently, it will be possible to focus on more complex issues, which concern, for example, concrete control and prevention solutions, as well as effective response to attacks.
The main objective is to ensure that everyone in the company, regardless of individual roles and individual tasks, take possession of the basic skills and methods of IT security, designed to prevent and, in case of criticality, to defend themselves. But not only.
At a deeper level, the security awareness purpose is to bring the culture of cybersecurity into companies, making users more responsible on the issue, motivating them to take a more active attitude towards the possible threats to which themselves, as part of the “system company”, are exhibited.
The threats to defend against
Knowing the evil in order to defend yourself: this is the cardinal principle of security awareness.
The evil, in this case, is given by threats to IT security, among which – just to cite a few examples – the most common is malware.
In brief, it is a software – in many cases circulated through apparently unsuspected email attachments or downloads – aimed at putting the victim’s computer out of use.
There are different types, including viruses and Trojans: programs with malicious code that can reproduce and infect files within the system.
Spyware, on the other hand, is another dangerous type of malware capable of recording – without the user noticing – the actions of the latter, managing, for example, to take possession of the data of his credit card and other sensitive information.
While ransomware is that malware capable of preventing the victim from accessing his files and data (often by encrypting them), unless he pays the criminal a ransom in money.
Another type of attack, which you need to be fully aware of in order to prevent and combat it, concerns phishing: in this case the user receives an unsuspecting email which, in reality, hides the purpose of extorting personal information, including credentials access to sites (often related to the banking and social sectors).
Always aimed at stealing data is the Man in the Middle attack, which acts by intercepting communications between two users, while the DoS (Denial of Service) attack overloading networks and servers, aims to make the information system or the application displayed on the web.
In companies, the protocols for encrypting email messages, files and confidential information are among the defense measures mentioned above, thus protecting data in transit, the used channels, and defending against any attempted theft.
In addition, the security protocols must be combined with constant threats databases updating to enable real-time malware detection and those viruses that “camouflage themselves” by changing code or shape over time.
And some programs also allow you to isolate (in the so-called sandboxes) those software considered potentially harmful, to study them and understand how to intercept them more quickly and more efficiently.
Telsy’s cybersecurity awareness
According to a 2021 Gartner report, the human element (85%) continued to be a primary catalyst for data breaches over the previous 12 months, with phishing accounting for 36% of breaches.
To cope with the need to deal with the great variety of cyber risks, Telsy has built a training course to raise the staff awareness towards the main IT security issues, transforming the user into the first defense line.
The aim is to increase user awareness and reduce the overall exposed surface to cyber attacks. In fact, some studies estimate that proper information security training reduces the propensity index to fall victim to phishing attacks by up to 90%.
The course is aimed at employees, Public Administration workers, and also dedicated to the various levels of management. Telsy’s security awareness solution consists of a learning path structured in modules that exploit different interactive and neuro-learning methodologies, testing the user in scenarios that are both explanatory and current (gamification).
In addition to the aforementioned purposes, the solution allows you to:
- Adopt methodologies and tools capable of measuring the current employees maturity degree in relation to cybersecurity issues, with telemetry to track improvements;
- Prepare personnel to identify, manage and report any anomaly, potential symptom of a cyber attack;
- Create a safety culture in which good practices become habitual habits and not occasional suggestions;
- Increase the awareness of top management in the assessment and mitigation of cyber risk through detailed reports.
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