Technical defenses are essential for preventing cyberattacks, but many attacks target employees and will bypass those defenses. Having a security-aware workforce can be the difference between just another normal business day and the permanent closure of your business. 60% of small businesses permanently close within 6 months of suffering a cyberattack and data breach.

Ensure your technical defenses are up to scratch…

2021 was another record-breaking year for cyberattacks. A 2022 Check Point Research report shows there was a 50% increase in cyberattacks in 2021 compared to 2020 and more than 60% of businesses have now suffered at least one type of cyberattack. Last year, cyberattacks on businesses were occurring at a rate of one every 39 seconds!

Cyber threat actors use a variety of techniques to gain access to business networks, including brute force attacks to guess weak and default credentials, and unpatched vulnerabilities in software and operating systems are exploited, but phishing remains the number one security threat. It is vital for security to implement technical measures to protect against email attacks. The best defense is an advanced email security solution with machine learning technology that is able to predict new attacks and block phishing emails from IP addresses that have not previously been used for malicious purposes. The email security solution should also provide protection against all known malware threats, but also include protection against zero-day malware attacks through sandboxing. SpamTitan from TitanHQ has these features and blocks the vast majority of malicious emails.

…but don’t neglect security awareness training for the workforce

As good as SpamTitan is at detecting and blocking threats, some malicious emails will inevitably be delivered. No email security solution will block all threats without also blocking an unacceptable number of genuine emails. The aim of email security software is to reduce the volume of threats that reach inboxes. Technical defenses will not eliminate threats entirely.

Your technical defenses need to be complemented with human defenses. If your employees are not trained on how to recognize threats, they are likely to be fooled if a threat lands in their inbox. That is especially true for targeted attacks such as spear phishing, where messages are sent to a select group of employees and the emails are carefully crafted to maximize the chance of a response. The emails masquerade as typical business emails, and they often include the logos and color schemes of trusted brands and can be difficult to identify if you don’t know what to look for, If an employee responds to a phishing email and opens an attachment, malware would likely be installed. Employees could be tricked into clicking a hyperlink and visiting a malicious website where their credentials are harvested, which would give the attacker access to the email environment and sensitive data and provide a springboard for a more extensive attack on the organization.

Many businesses invest in email security defenses and other cybersecurity solutions, only to neglect the human element. Some provide cybersecurity training during the onboarding process but then never again, or provide annual refresher training sessions, but such infrequent security training is no longer sufficient given the current threat level.

To create a formidable human firewall, training must be provided and regularly be reinforced. You also need to check whether the training has been effective. Some employees may require multiple training sessions to learn the skills to be able to recognize email threats. The best way to do this is through phishing email simulations. Through regular training and simulations, the risk of a successful cyberattack can be greatly reduced.

To help address this common gap in security, TitanHQ has launched the SafeTitan security awareness training platform. SafeTitan is the only behavior-driven security awareness platform that delivers training in real-time and helps businesses significantly improve their defenses against social engineering and advanced phishing attacks. If you have not provided training to your workforce, or if you are not conducting phishing simulations, take a look at SafeTitan and start working on your human firewall today.