October 4, 2022 min read
Darren RootChief Strategist, Rootworks
One click. That’s all it takes.
One click on a link in a perfectly innocent-looking email can be catastrophic and take down your entire firm. But it’s not just that you have to consider. What are the ramifications your clients will experience because their personal information and data have been leaked? You may as well close things down because you’re not coming back from that.
The latest Cost of a Data Breach Report from IBM and the Ponemon Institute found that the average cost of a data security breach is $4.24 million per incident. Let that sink in—over $4 million per incident.
And when you factor in that nearly 90% of data breaches are caused by human error? That one click is catastrophic.
It’s also why your firm needs a security awareness training program—yesterday. So, let’s talk about how to get started.
Before diving right into a security awareness training program, you first need to perform a cybersecurity risk assessment of your firm. This is when you look for noncompliance and vulnerabilities within your firm. Identifying the risks will guide you in your cybersecurity choices. You must decide what needs to be protected and invest in an awareness training program.
Follow these five steps to perform a cybersecurity risk assessment of your firm:
Rate each potential risk on a scale of low, medium and high risk to ensure proper security controls are in place based on each risk level:
Based on the risk impact, decide the likelihood of each possible risk scenario and what financial impact it could have on your firm. This will help you prioritize what needs to be secured first.
Outside of installing antivirus protection and strong firewalls, the most important thing you can do to safeguard your firm is to implement a security awareness training program. And I’ll tell you how to do this in a bit, but first let’s talk about what an awareness training program is.
At its very core, a security awareness training program is an education program for your employees to prevent user risk. It helps employees understand their role in keeping your firm’s data and your clients’ data safe from cybercrimes. As employees are typically the first line of defense in protecting your resources and assets, they must be well trained to stay vigilant in protecting your firm.
A training program makes employees uber-aware of cyberthreats, especially phishing attempts. It helps minimize risk to your firm, addresses mistakes employees may make during simulated attacks and tests them on their awareness.
Now that we have the basics under our belts, let’s move on to implementation.
If you decide you want to tackle creating your own security awareness training program, that’s certainly an option. If you go this route, there are several key components to keep in mind when creating your program:
While you can certainly create your own program, I’d recommend investing in a training program like the Right Networks Security Awareness Training solution. It’s a comprehensive, fully managed awareness training program tailored to accounting firms—just like yours. It educates and tests your employees, all while giving you visibility into the number of courses your employees have completed and insight into how well they’ve blocked simulated phishing attacks.
Whether you create your own internal security awareness program or choose to invest in a comprehensive solution, consistent training is key. Your employees are the first line of defense when it comes to information security, and they need to be well educated and prepared to go to battle against cyberattacks.
For more information on Right Networks’ cybersecurity solutions, check out their website here.
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