Security systems are only as strong as their weakest link. When it comes to modern information security, that usually means humans. Even the best security system is defeated when a user gives away their password. The way to prevent this is by making sure everyone in the company has an adequate level of security awareness.
What Can Security Awareness Accomplish?
The primary purpose of security awareness training is ensuring that everybody in the company understands how to avoid security breaches. Hackers can still do some damage even if everyone does everything right, but it makes their job a lot harder. Employees who learn to recognize the warning signs of an attack can also take steps to minimize the damage. Which includes making sure that they don’t do anything to make it worse before the security professionals solve the problem.
Understanding is Important
Some companies try to save time by giving their employees a list of rules to follow in order to prevent problems. Instead they should be teaching them about security risks. That approach is better than nothing, but it suffers from a few fundamental problems.
People who follow a strict list of rules without understanding why they are in place cannot deal with unexpected situations. Even people who make every effort to follow rules to the letter can have trouble when they run into something that the rules do not cover. Nobody can hope to think of every problem that could possibly happen when they write a list of rules, so this problem is inevitable.
Of course, not everybody is going to follow the rules perfectly. People tend to ignore rules that they think are arbitrary. This can make it hard to achieve perfect compliance without teaching employees why the rules matter. Any company that takes the time to explain why each rule is relevant can probably get better results by teaching a broader understanding of information security issues.