Why SME Owners Need to Invest in Staff Cybersecurity Training
Editorial Team

Cybercrime is rising and cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated. That is a difficult combination to deal with - especially for smaller businesses that don’t have the cybersecurity budget of larger organizations. However, if you do want to ensure the safety and security of your business, it is essential to invest in cybersecurity training.

This kind of training can have a number of positives for your SME. Of course, keeping your business protected is one, but it can also save you money and even increase worker productivity.

In this article, we will take a look at why it is important for owners of SMEs to invest in cybersecurity training for their staff.

The true cost of cybercrime

It is well established that suffering a cyber crime can be extremely expensive for a business. Many SMEs assume that these costs relate to fixing the system and putting new defences in place, however, there are other factors that need to be considered that can actually cost your company even more.

Something that is sometimes overlooked is the cost of reputational damage to your business. Whether it comes in the form of bad publicity about your business or simply the fact that customers now feel that they cannot trust you to look after their data, damage to your reputation can be felt for a very long time.

The human factor

It is unfortunately still the case that humans are the weak link in the system when it comes to cybersecurity. Indeed, you can have the most advanced cybersecurity solutions and software in place - but if an employee falls for a phishing email it can provide cybercriminals with unfettered access to your system.

Indeed, according to IBM, 95% of all cybercrime is made possible by human error. That is a significant problem, especially when you consider that the vast majority of these mistakes are actually entirely preventable. If SMEs invest in cybersecurity training for their team it can help to cut down on these mistakes and make it less likely that your business will suffer a breach.

Biggest cybersecurity concerns for SMEs

SMEs are facing an ever-increasing threat of cybercrime. With limited resources compared to larger corporations, SMEs can be particularly vulnerable to attacks. Here are some of the biggest cybersecurity concerns that SMEs face:

  • Phishing scams - phishing scams are designed to trick employees into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords or financial information. These attacks can result in data breaches, loss of confidential information, and significant financial losses.
  • Ransomware - this is a type of malicious software that encrypts a company's data and demands a ransom payment to restore access. SMEs are often targeted because they may not have the resources to recover from a ransomware attack.
  • Insider threats - insider threats can come from employees, contractors, or third-party vendors who have access to a company's sensitive information. They can inadvertently or deliberately cause harm through actions such as accidentally leaking data or intentionally stealing it.
  • Unsecured Devices - as more employees work from home, SMEs need to be aware of the risks associated with unsecured devices, such as laptops and smartphones. Lost or stolen devices can result in data breaches, and employees may be using personal devices that are not protected by company security measures.
  • The benefits of staff training

    There is a huge range of benefits to high-quality staff cybersecurity training. Perhaps the first and most obvious is that you ensure that your business is more resilient to potential cybersecurity threats - however, the benefits do go deeper. For example, cybersecurity training can save you a lot of money in a number of ways.

    Of course, there is the fact that fewer cyber incidents will result in less money spent and lost income as a result of cybercrime. But it is also the case that investing in training can mean that there is less need to work with expensive cybersecurity specialists. Remember, there is currently a cybersecurity skills shortage which is making it far more expensive to hire cybersecurity professionals.

    Another benefit is that you are able to recover more quickly in the event that a cybercrime incident does take place.

    Regularly update your training

    Some SMEs make the mistake of thinking that staff training can be something that you do once and then forget about. But the problem with cyber criminals is that they are constantly evolving and updating their tactics. As such it is essential that you should provide regularly updated training sessions.

    It is also important to ensure that all of the training that you are doing is making a genuine difference in how your staff respond to cyber threats.

    For example, cybersecurity specialist Censornet recommends you should “train staff to spot phishing emails by testing them ‘in the wild’, with automated simulations direct to their inboxes”. This type of real-world testing can be one of the only ways to truly understand the strength of your cybersecurity and the quality of your training.

    Prevention is better than cure

    Remember when it comes to cybercrime, you’ll spend far more money fixing problems than you would have if you had simply invested in systems and training upfront. This puts the onus on SMEs to ensure that they have robust defences in place, rather than relying on being able to respond quickly to problems.

    “Prevention is always better than cure, and damage limitation and containment are important right from the outset,” says Jack Garnsey, writing for Information Security Buzz. “Businesses of all sizes can safeguard their data and themselves from … attacks by investing in their cybersecurity and ensuring their workforces are conscious and informed of the threats they face”.

    SMEs need to be proactive in protecting themselves from cyber threats. By investing in staff cybersecurity training, companies can reduce their risk of a data breach, improve overall security, and increase employee productivity.

    Cybersecurity can no longer be considered a luxury, but a necessity for all businesses, big or small. SME owners who prioritize cybersecurity training for their staff are demonstrating a commitment to protecting their company and its assets and can rest assured that they are taking an important step towards a more secure future.