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Why Executives Need Cybersecurity Training

Cybersecurity is no longer a niche issue for tech companies. With our growing reliance on online platforms, it’s very quickly becoming a priority for everyone — one that could bring about serious threats to national security if not taken seriously.

Case in point: In March 2018, the City of Atlanta faced a widespread ransomware attack that crippled critical digital systems, including their police department, judicial offices, and their payment processing databases. The cybercriminals responsible demanded $51,000 worth of Bitcoin, or they would delete all the data they acquired.

Take note that this occurred long before the pandemic took place, meaning we’re more reliant on data now than we were at the time. That only makes us even more vulnerable to cyber threats.

And when it comes to the business sector, executives are a prime target for cybercriminals. They typically have more access to company data than the average employee and their devices likely hold confidential information and valuable trade secrets. Executives face more cyber threats than other employees, which is precisely why they need cybersecurity training.

Cybersecurity, an Integral Part of Company Culture

In the digital age, no-one’s data is 100% safe. If left unprotected, cybercriminals could either steal it or, worse, use it against you. It isn’t enough for there to be technical cybersecurity measures in place. Employees across the board must also be aware of the risks, and this can be ensured by cultivating a culture of cybersecurity in the company. One way to expedite the process is to begin with yourself.

Corporate executives who have a solid grasp of cybersecurity concepts can help instill a strong cybersecurity culture in the company. It encourages employees — not just  those in the IT department — to take the initiative. And when the whole company understands the importance of cybersecurity, data protection becomes much more manageable.

Cybersecurity Training Options

Another way to cultivate a cybersecurity culture is to implement training programs for employees across the board. Employees and executives alike benefit from learning the basics, but executives should always make an effort to learn more.

You can hire a C-level cybersecurity professional who can hold in-house workshops. But this can prove difficult, given the current shortage of cyber professionals. Another option is to tap into third-party cybersecurity companies that specialize in training in the business sector. They offer various programs ranging from simple lecture-style briefings to interactive, incident response exercises.

Executives serious about building their cybersecurity credentials — as well as those working in particularly at-risk industries — can also consider university-level training leading to an online cybersecurity degree. The courses let learners complete coursework 100% online through virtual labs that pull case studies from the latest business headlines.

Moreover, being online and flexible means that these courses can be done alongside a busy job. As a result, executives come out of the program with real-world training in offensive and defensive cybersecurity, and ready to face the challenges that lie ahead in the cyber business landscape.
Both before and after these training programs, it would be wise to hire a third-party organization to assess the state of the company’s cybersecurity. These organizations can assess cybersecurity using both qualitative and quantitative measures — from gauging the technical measures to interviewing regular employees about their cybersecurity knowledge and practices.

Doing this gives executives an unbiased perspective of their security measures, allowing them to recalibrate as needed. It is vital in building a secure database and a healthy cybersecurity culture in the company.

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