Security & The Human Element: Why Non-IT Employees Need Cybersecurity Training

May 30, 2024

When the biggest threat to your company’s cybersecurity is human error, cybersecurity becomes everyone’s business.

They say the role of a Millennial at the office is to explain how computers work to Boomers and how fax works to Gen Z. I’ll let you be the judge of that based on your own experiences. While there’s no denying that most Millennials and Gen Z are ‘better with computers’, Boomers might actually have better cybersecurity habits than younger generations. Well, at least according to one study based on a sample of 2,000 people—so you know, highly accurate results. 

But, regardless of whether your workforce is mostly made up of Millennials, Gen Z, or Boomers, they should know—at the very least—the basic cybersecurity principles so they can avoid falling victim to phishing and social engineering attacks. 

One of the most efficient ways to ensure all your employees are able to identify and stop, or at least, report cyber threats is, of course, training. And that’s what cybersecurity experts are recommending, too. Tech Training 360 agrees, and they’re sharing 3 good reasons why non-IT employees need cybersecurity training. 

Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility 

Let’s put it bluntly, if you were trying to break into someone’s network, you would—like all of us—look for the easiest way in. The weakest link. The low-hanging fruit. The Achilles’ heel. The chink in the armor. You get the picture. The point is, that’s what a real cyberattacker will do, too. They’ll look for an easy way in—and in most cases, that means a human being. 

And numbers confirm this. 68% of phishing and social engineering attacks in 2023 happened due to a non-malicious human element—which is to say someone fell for a scam or made an oopsie. Stanford University published similar findings: 88% of data breaches happened due to human error. 

So whether you like it or not, the cybersecurity of your company is in the hands of all your employees—including those who couldn’t spot a scam if it hit them in the face. Which is fine, you know, we’re not all IT experts. And we don’t need to be to avoid these scams; all we need is some training. 

With just basic training on the fundamentals of cybersecurity, non-IT staff can be ready to identify cyber threats like phishing and social engineering, and even to stop them. They don’t need to learn coding, or anything that advanced—but basic knowledge of network security, compliance and operational security, application and data security, access control, and identity management will go a long way. 

Now, that may seem like a lot, but it’s actually covered in a single training course. And once they go through it, they will be ready to get a certificate, like CompTIA Security+.

Reduce human error, cybersecurity incidents, and expenses 

Since the majority of security breaches happen due to human error, it’s clear that to reduce the chances of a successful attack, we need to reduce the chances of human error. 

For that, we need people to actually know what they’re doing and what they’re not supposed to be doing. With proper training and certification, even non-IT employees can develop the necessary skills to know when something smells phishy

The CompTIA Security+ certification training teaches the core principles of cybersecurity so that all employees are aware of potential threats, including social engineering, malware, ransomware, and phishing. 

Of course, it’s not just about learning what these things are—you can do that online for free. Cybersecurity courses use practical examples, simulating real attacks so that—should a real cyberattack happen—people can apply their knowledge. They will know how to recognize and respond to security threats. 

Plus, it’s a great skill to have for anyone, really. We use the internet all the time, literally. We should know how to do so safely and responsibly.  

As for companies, lower risk of cybersecurity incidents means lower recovery expenses, which means better ROI. Investing in cybersecurity awareness training pays off, because the average cost of a data breach in 2023 was $4.45 million. No cybersecurity training is gonna cost you that much.

Ensure compliance with regulations 

From HIPAA and NIST to ISO standards and various other region- and industry-specific regulations and standards, businesses and organizations need to maintain compliance—and industry standards often mandate regular security training. 

With security training comes better cybersecurity hygiene—that thing we talked about in the beginning—and with that comes increased compliance with regulations. Because for a business to stay compliant, all its employees need to stay compliant. 

For customer service teams this can mean learning how to handle customer information and ensure compliance with data privacy and protection regulations such as GDPR.

For employees in the healthcare sector, it means learning how to stay compliant with HIPAA and safeguard patients’ right to privacy while allowing the necessary use of their protected health information.

And as we know, cyber threats evolve all the time. To stay aware of them, everyone—every employee regardless of their role—needs up-to-date cybersecurity awareness training. 

Without education, there’s no compliance. But there are consequences, and they’re very, very expensive. 

Going back to our imaginary office setting, anyone—regardless of age—can be the weakest link if they don’t have the knowledge and training to spot and stop cyber threats. Yes, that includes Gen X whom we so often forget (sorry guys!). That doesn’t mean you’re not invited to the cybersecurity training; cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility and cybersecurity training is for everyone.

This content is provided in partnership with Tech Training 360 and is intended for informational purposes only. The views, opinions, and advice expressed in this article are solely those of Tech Training 360 and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of any other individual, organization, or entity.

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