Enterprises can repel cyberattacks by providing basic training to employees with network access, arming front-line users with the knowledge they need to circumnavigate security pitfalls.

Businesses across myriad sectors continue to suffer from data breaches and cyberattacks. Hackers executed more than 42,000 separate digital strikes last year, making away with more than 36 million sensitive records, according to research from Verizon Wireless and the Identity Theft Resource Center. Unfortunately, these events are likely to grow in frequency as enterprise technology use increases and cybercriminals perfect infiltration methods. Most firms grasp the significance this disturbing state of affairs and are currently implementing security solutions meant to protect the entire supply chain – from the shop floor to the storefront. However, it takes more than powerful backend technology to prevent cyberattacks.

Organizational data security awareness is the most powerful tool in the fight against hacking. Why? In most cases, cyberattackers gain access to enterprise networks by taking advantage of unsuspecting users who do not have basic knowledge of information security best practices. For example, more than 80 percent of all hacking-related attacks perpetrated last year involved the use of stolen or weak passwords. And, more than half of all the breaches that unfolded over that same time period included malware, most of which was installed via malicious email, according to Verizon.

Enterprises could repel these attacks by providing basic training to employees with network access, arming front-line users with the knowledge they need to circumnavigate security pitfalls. Sadly, few do. A mere 48 percent of U.S. companies actually offer security awareness training, analysts for Enterprise Management Associates found. This means many oversee networks ripe with vulnerabilities. Of course, businesses in such situations can easily engineer turnarounds by simply developing effective security awareness training programs. Here are some key variables every internal IT team must consider when creating data security training modules for employees:

Executive support
Like most organizational initiatives, data security training programs must have executive support to truly make an impact. Why? For one, business leaders free up the resources required to get proper instructional programs off the ground. Secondly, these individuals can leverage their clout within the business to encourage participation and legitimize the training.

IT teams can accomplish this goal by first emphasizing the importance of data security and how it can impact the bottom line, according to the SANS Institute. For example, the average enterprise data breach victim pays roughly $3.6 million in mitigation costs, analysts for IBM and the Ponemon Institute discovered. This kind of data can make even the most skeptical C-level leaders willing to offer some support for data security training.

Instructional approach
First-time trainers often come to realize that exploring data security with individuals who possess minimal technical skills is no easy task. Concepts that are simple to grasp within the IT world can seem overwhelming to those lacking advanced computational experience. This can create frustration among instructors, who then vent in training sessions or, even worse, shame employees that make errors. This approach rarely yields positive results, according to the data security firm Kaspersky Lab.

Instead of talking down to learners or punishing them for making mistakes, IT teams should be careful to use positive reinforcement during instructional sessions and day-to-day data security-related interactions. In this environment, employees are more willing to ask questions and actually explore the topic.

Training normalization
When conceiving data security training programs, organizational IT teams should focus on facilitating a constant flow of knowledge. How? Normalization through regular training sessions, according to the International Data Group. This long-term instructional approach keeps the issue fresh on the minds of employees and allows trainers to go into detail on specific security-related topics, rather than attempting to address everything over the course of one or two sessions.

With these factors in mind, businesses can design and roll out data security programs that not only give workers the knowledge they need to protect the organization but also make it easier to adopt more advanced technology, such as the warehouse management software we produce at F&A Data Systems. We build cutting-edge WMS solutions that leverage technology from respected vendors like Dell, Microsoft and Oracle to support secure automated workflows that drive efficiency and bolster bottom lines. Connect with us today to learn more.