Last month, I was asked to contribute a blog showcasing October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. I agreed to write the blog, but I didn’t want it to post in October. Since 2004, October has been Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This works to make individuals aware of the need to protect themselves against threats as technology and confidential data become more commonplace. Seems like October would be the perfect time to showcase cybersecurity, so why wouldn’t I want to publish in October?
A Once-a-Year Occasion?
I once had a coworker who would buy his wife a Valentine’s Day gift randomly throughout the year. His wife would receive a delivery of beautiful flowers with a card saying, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” I asked him what that was all about, and he explained that he didn’t think there should only be a single day once a year to show his love for his wife.
This really resonated with me. Do we only express our love for our significant other or family once a year? No, we do this in many ways throughout the year. Similarly, should we only showcase or think about cybersecurity awareness one month a year?
Some Cybercrime Trends to Ponder
Before you answer, let me share some cybercrime trends with you from the 2022 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report:
- Ransomware is seeing another increase this year that is as big as the last five years combined.
- Errors (heavily influenced by misconfigured cloud storage) are responsible for more than 13% of breaches.
- 82% of breaches involve a human element, i.e., stolen credentials, phishing, system misuse, or mistakes. People continue to play a very large role in cybersecurity incidents and breaches.
I know it’s easy to look at these defeating statistics and feel cybersecurity awareness fatigue. You may ask, “If we continue to see these trends only going up, then what good is cybersecurity awareness training anyway?”
The truth is cybercrime has become very sophisticated; there are now services that want-to-be bad actors can purchase. According to a HP Wolf Security Report, cybercriminals can purchase malware for under $10, and compromised credentials for as little as $5.
The Importance of Cybersecurity Awareness Every Day
At IWCO Direct, we know that because of this cybercrime-as-a-service trend, it is more important than ever to make everyone aware of the compromises that can happen not only while we are at work, but also in our daily routines.
So how effective is cybersecurity awareness training? This really depends on the organization providing the training, and an individual’s willingness to effectively participate. If done properly, cybersecurity awareness training can be a highly successful solution for reducing human error, thus improving security behavior.
An IBM Cyber Resilient Organization Study in 2021 cited cybersecurity awareness training as a key building block of cyber resilience, and has shown effectiveness in many areas.
- Cybersecurity awareness-trained users are 30% less likely to click on a phishing link.
- Training helps improve password security by more than 30%.
- Companies with regular cybersecurity awareness training have 70% fewer cybersecurity incidents.
- Cybersecurity awareness training has shown to improve phishing awareness by an estimated 40%.
Making Cybersecurity a Habit
Evidence shows the more we understand how cybercriminals are attempting to steal from us, the better equipped we will be to combat it. We can either take an approach of thinking about cybersecurity awareness occasionally, or we can make it part of our daily habits. For motivation, I often use the following quote attributed to American actress Mae West: “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.” Just like the more we put into our most important relationships, the more we get back, the more effort we give to making cybersecurity awareness a habit, the more it will be worth it. I suddenly have the urge to buy my wife a Valentine’s Day gift.
Want to know more about how we protect our clients’ data from cyber threats? Contact the experts at IWCO Direct. We’re here to help.