Cybersecurity has become a global priority in an increasingly connected, modern and agile landscape. The concern is such that the World Economic Forum’s 2024 Global Risks Report places cybersecurity as the fourth biggest threat for the next two years, behind only misinformation and false information, extreme weather events, and social polarization. In companies, although many invest in advanced technologies to protect their systems and data, the human role in attacks is often underestimated. It is at this point that the threat becomes internal, as employees are often responsible for opening loopholes for companies to be attacked.

The main key to solving this point lies in employee awareness. It may seem obvious, but many companies have yet to put in place training programs focused on cybersecurity. And the defenses of institutions depend a lot on this initiative, as several security breaches occur due to inadvertent actions or lack of knowledge on the part of the teams. By empowering these teams with solid cybersecurity knowledge, companies can significantly reduce the chances of incidents.

In a world where social engineering dictates a large part of cyber risks, a simple mistaken click on a malicious email can mean opportunities for cyber intrusions that are undoubtedly capable of compromising sensitive corporate data. As hackers’ tactics and the technologies they use, such as AI and deepfakes, evolve, strategic responses to protect the integrity of data and systems must be scaled up.

According to the Mordor Intelligence report, the revenue of the cybersecurity market in Brazil was valued at USD 3.03 billion in 2023, and it is expected to reach USD 4.95 billion by 2028. It is important that investments in the sector are also reflected in actions to prepare teams, in a proactive and comprehensive corporate approach to security. The continuous interconnection between devices, the rise of sophistication used to break into systems, and the ever-evolving online landscape demand a holistic response.

Security awareness training should be presented as a formal educational program, seeking to increase employees’ awareness of best practices to be adopted on a daily basis. From special meetings to attack simulations to phishing tests, there are a variety of ways to train employees in a way that is accessible and adaptable to each organization’s needs. It is also worth remembering that this type of preparation is pointed out as one of the most economical ways to reduce general information security dangers. Well-informed users are able to recognize signs of potential intrusion attempts, take preventive measures, and report suspicious activity, helping to foster an organizational culture that values security at all levels.

To create an effective awareness program, it is important to follow a few tips:

1 – Regularity: Conduct constant training to keep teams truly up-to-date on the evolutions and trends of cyber threats and security best practices. Regular communications, including through newsletters and security alerts, help reinforce important messages.

2 – Theory and practice: Address theoretical and practical aspects so that everyone in the organization effectively understands the risks and how to act when they suspect a possible problem.

3 – Accessible communication: Convey information in a clear and accessible way, avoiding very technical jargon that can confuse workers. If necessary, segment the training by audience, considering the role, level of experience, and knowledge of online security of employees.

4 – Simulation and testing: Perform attack simulations and phishing tests, for example, so that there is an effective assessment that the team is understanding how to act in the face of possible dangers, including suspicious messages and emails. In this way, it is possible to assess the ability of users to identify and prevent real attacks.

5 – Transparent security policies: Have well-defined and transparent security policies that address best practices, as well as expectations regarding people’s behaviors in relation to the topic. Among the topics covered should be policies on passwords, use of personal devices in the workplace, and procedures in case of incidents.

By implementing effective awareness programs, businesses can empower their teams to be active defenders against cyber threats. Investing in ongoing education and creating a culture of security will contribute not only to the protection of the company’s digital assets, but also to strengthening organizational resilience in an increasingly challenging scenario.

*By Guilherme Fontes de Araújo, VP of Services at Blockbit, for the portal: Falar Tech

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