NCSA, Symantec study finds SMEs not offering cybersecurity training

New data released by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Symantec has suggested that small business owners and decision makers may be beginning to realise the value of strong vulnerability management.

The two organisations recently surveyed more than 1,000 small to medium enterprises as part of the USA's National Cyber Security Awareness Month, in order to evaluate how SMEs are treating digital security in the workplace.

The results showed that more than half – 56 per cent – of SMEs believe that it is either important or essential for newly hired employees to understand the value of ensuring information privacy.

Furthermore, 58 per cent said that it was important for those same new employees to understand how to keep safe on the internet, by protecting their passwords, avoiding phishing scams and identifying which websites could pose a threat.

However of concern will be the fact that 70 per cent of survey participants admitted that they do not offer their employees further training when it comes to keeping safe online.

According to NCSA executive director Michael Kaiser, SMEs should aim to provide ongoing cybersecurity education and not rely purely on the knowledge that employees are bringing to the table.

"Given the role of small businesses in our economy, it’s so important to integrate cybersecurity training into all education levels," said Mr Kaiser.

"SMBs should also provide ongoing training to employees to be sure skills are reinforced and new skills are developed as the technology changes.”

Cyber criminals often gain access to secure servers by manipulating authorised employees through techniques such as phishing scams or social engineering, which is why ongoing digital safety training is such a valuable investment for businesses of any size.

Organisations aiming to ensure comprehensive cyber security would be wise to undergo regular security audit evaluations, in order to determine where potential digital vulnerabilities may have emerged.

According to Symantec vice president of America's Marketing for SMBs Brian Burch, small businesses have become a target for cybercriminals in recent years.

"Small businesses are a driving force of our economy, and new technologies and online services are becoming an everyday part of how SMBs run their businesses," said Mr Burch.

"Small business owners and employees must do a better job not only becoming better educated on cybersecurity, but also better at implementing technologies to protect themselves and the information that fuels their businesses."

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