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Capstone Works, Inc. has been serving the Cedar Park area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Protecting Your Business: The Importance of User Education in Cybersecurity

Protecting Your Business: The Importance of User Education in Cybersecurity

The time when businesses could ignore cybersecurity has long since passed. For over a decade, the general consensus among decision-makers for small and medium-sized businesses was that cybersecurity was a luxury item; a want but not a need. Ten or fifteen years ago, this wasn’t too far off, as typically just covering your business with some basic protection was usually enough to stop most problems. Today, we’re in a very different landscape.

Data breaches and dangerous cyberattacks happen all the time, and are extremely expensive and detrimental to the organizations that fall victim to them. These attacks don’t just hurt businesses, but individuals—the employees and customers who have their information stolen—also suffer. This means cyberthreats can damage your reputation and relationship with the general public.

It’s time for everyone, everyone, to be thoroughly educated when it comes to cybersecurity.

Why is Cybersecurity So Important Today?

Let’s start with a story. Earlier this year, an elderly Texas couple were tricked into transferring $43,500 to a group of scam artists. These fraudsters posed as Wells Fargo, Apple, and the US Justice Department. The scam started with a popup on the couple’s iPad, and it led to the couple handing over their life savings over the course of just two days.

This sort of thing is heartbreaking. And yet, it’s not uncommon. 

Doing a quick Google search for “grandparent scam” or “couple loses money to scammers” brings up dozens and dozens of stories just like this. The FBI reported that in 2022 alone, Americans lost $10.3 billion to internet scams like this. This doesn’t count the ones targeting businesses or nonprofits.

Businesses are even better targets for clever cybercriminals, and it doesn’t matter how big or small your organization is, or what you do—you have something of value worth getting.

What is Cybersecurity?

Cyber Hygiene

It’s easy to think that cybersecurity is just the practice of protecting computer systems, networks, and data; that it consists of antivirus and firewalls and maybe strong passwords, and ends there. 

While cybersecurity does involve implementing security measures to prevent unauthorized access, theft, or damage to sensitive information, what you are really protecting is your reputation, your identity, and the information of those you depend on. Cyber hygiene refers to the practices and habits individuals and organizations should adopt to maintain a healthy and secure online presence. This includes regularly updating software, using strong and unique passwords, and being cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments, but it also means being aware of modern scams and tricks that can’t always get caught for you. It’s about being a step ahead of the scammers and cybercriminals and being vigilant about protecting your data.

Cyber Awareness

Cyber awareness is the understanding of potential cyberthreats and how to protect against them. It involves being aware of common tactics used by cybercriminals, such as phishing scams and social engineering, and knowing how to identify and avoid them. Cyber awareness also includes understanding the importance of protecting personal information and being cautious when sharing it online.

The Role of User Education in Cybersecurity

The Human Element

While technology plays a crucial role in cybersecurity, the human element cannot be overlooked. In fact, according to the 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon, 94% of malware was delivered via email. This highlights the importance of educating users on how to identify and avoid potential threats. Cybercriminals often target individuals through social engineering tactics, taking advantage of human error and lack of awareness.

The Cost of Ignorance

The consequences of a cyberattack can be devastating, both personally and financially. In addition to the potential loss of sensitive information, cyberattacks can also result in financial loss, damage to reputation, and even legal consequences. By educating users on cybersecurity best practices, organizations can reduce the risk of a successful attack and mitigate potential damages.

The Need for Constant Learning

Cybersecurity is an ever-evolving field, with new threats and vulnerabilities emerging constantly. This makes it crucial for individuals and organizations to continuously educate themselves on the latest trends and best practices in cybersecurity. By staying informed and up-to-date, users can better protect themselves and their data from potential threats.

How to Educate Yourself on Cybersecurity

Online Resources

The internet is a valuable resource for learning about cybersecurity. There are numerous websites, blogs, and forums dedicated to providing information and tips on how to stay safe online. Some reputable sources include the National Cybersecurity Alliance, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

To get you started, we’ve put together a lot of good information on cybersecurity over the last year. Here are a few blog posts that might prove useful:

How to Steal a Password in Three Easy Steps 

4 Sneaky Tricks That Cybercriminals are Using Against Texas Businesses

Think Before You Click: 6 Critical Cybersecurity Habits Your Employees Need to Build

What To Do When Your Business Insurance Starts Requiring Cybersecurity

The “Cybersecurity Talk” that Every Texan Needs to Hear

Tips to Avoid Getting Scammed at Home, School, and Work

We highly recommend following our blog, as we intend to continue to produce updated content to help business owners and employees stay protected as the cybersecurity landscape shifts over time.

Training and Certification Programs

For those looking to gain a deeper understanding of cybersecurity, there are various training and certification programs available. These programs cover a wide range of topics, from basic cyber hygiene practices to more advanced technical skills. Some popular certifications include Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).

Workshops and Seminars

Attending workshops and seminars is another great way to learn about cybersecurity. These events often feature industry experts who share their knowledge and insights on the latest trends and best practices. They also provide opportunities for networking and connecting with other professionals in the field.

Implementing User Education in Your Organization

Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity

In order for user education to be effective, it must be ingrained in the culture of an organization. This means that cybersecurity should be a top priority for all employees, from the CEO to the newest hire. By creating a culture of cybersecurity, organizations can ensure that all employees are aware of potential threats and are taking the necessary precautions to protect sensitive information.

Regular Training and Refreshers

Cybersecurity training should not be a one-time event. It should be an ongoing process, with regular training sessions and refreshers to keep employees informed and up-to-date. This can include simulated phishing attacks, where employees are sent fake emails to test their ability to identify potential threats. It is also important to provide refresher training when new threats emerge or when there are changes in company policies or procedures.

Encouraging Open Communication

In addition to training, it is important to encourage open communication within the organization. Employees should feel comfortable reporting any suspicious activity or potential threats they encounter. This can help prevent successful attacks and also provide valuable information for future training and prevention efforts.

Phishing Simulation

Phishing simulation is a service that IT companies like Capstone Works can set up for a business. It works like this; every so often, a fake phishing email will be sent to your employees, trying to catch them off guard. If they fall for it, they won’t risk compromising the company, but they will get follow-up emails explaining how they fell for the trick, and what to watch out for. The system also reports back to you to let you know how the overall cybersecurity awareness in your organization stands.

Capstone Works is Here to Help Protect Your Organization

Cybersecurity is more important than ever. By educating ourselves and others on cyber hygiene and awareness, we can better protect our personal information and prevent successful cyberattacks. Organizations must also prioritize user education and create a culture of cybersecurity to mitigate potential risks and protect sensitive data. By staying informed and continuously learning, we can all play a role in creating a safer online environment. If you want to learn more about how we can help, or just simply audit your business to make sure you are on the right track, give us a call at (512) 882-2242.

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