UK government venture bemoans inadequate workplace security education

Channel ResearchChannel Strategy
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Effectiveness of security training appears to vary depending on executive versus employee opinion, Axelos survey finds

British businesses are being put at risk by failing to properly educate their workers about effective security provisions, a government study has claimed.

Just over a quarter of employees at 500 leading UK firms rate their security training as having been effective enough to change their behaviour towards dealing with online threats, according to a new survey undertaken by Axelos, a UK government/Capita joint venture.

Similarly, only 42 percent said that their training was “very effective” at providing general awareness of information security risks, meaning many companies are putting themselves at risk.

computer-security-600x400And when it came to ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, 37 percent of workers rated their training as “very effective”, although only a third (33 percent) said it was “very effective” in reducing exposure to the risk of information security breaches.

Worryingly, Axelos’ survey revealed that, when asked how many staff had completed their information security awareness programme, respondents in a quarter of organisations said that no more than 50 percent of staff had done so.

The findings are particularly concerning as recent government research also found that 75 percent of large organisations had suffered staff-related security breaches in 2015, with half of the worst-rated breaches caused by human error.

Despite organisations continuing to invest heavily in technology to better protect their precious information and systems, the number and scale of attacks continues to rise as they discover there is no ‘silver bullet’ to help them achieve their desired level of cyber security,” said Nick Wilding, head of cyber resilience best practice at Axelos.

And they often underestimate that the role that their own employees – from the boardroom to the front-line – can play: staff should be their most effective security control but are typically one of their greatest vulnerabilities.

Cyber-attacks are now business as usual and the resulting financial and reputational damage can be significant. As a result, organisations need to be more certain that they are engaging their people effectively to better equip them to manage the cyber and information security risks they now all face.”