It’s that time of year again. The holly, the ivy, the…..budget cuts?!
It is no secret that inflation is out of control. Labor shortages, market volatility, global unrest, and talks of recession plague media outlets and create anxiety and stress in the average household. Many families feel the sting of inflation at the grocery store or at the pumps and a second look at the family budget has been added to the list of things to do, sooner rather than later.
Businesses are not exempt from anxiety during these times of uncertainty. In fact, many businesses find themselves examining their budgets with an even bigger microscope than last year, looking for ways to cut costs and save money.
One area that is too often hit when it comes to cutbacks is training-especially cybersecurity training budgets. The thought is, “Well, we’re spending “X” on preventive measures such as enhanced email security, firewalls, etc. Those services should be enough to keep us secure.” Then, with a flick of the wrist, a big red line is drawn through the training budget for the year, leaving the organization wide open for bigger problems than budget issues.
Training Budgets Take a Hit
According to JumpCloud, an American enterprise software company specializing in automated server management, “Several IT professionals worry that cybersecurity-specific funding might be at risk.” According to the company’s Q4 2022 IT Trends for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) report, out of all the organizations surveyed 44% confirm that their organization will cut cybersecurity spending in the next twelve months.
Organizations are seeing the effects of the economy and experiencing their own recessions. To stay afloat, finance experts head to the books and cut the least necessary items. The issue with cutting a cybersecurity training budget versus a skills training program is that without the former, the organization opens itself up to a greater risk of a security incident.
Cybersecurity Training Costs Versus a Data Breach
But is the cybersecurity training budget really that big? Let’s step back for a moment and look at the numbers. Let’s take a small business of about 800 employees and compare the costs of security awareness training versus the cost of a data breach.
Based on a report from Statista, the average cost of a data breach globally was $4.35 million as of September 2022. According to managed service provider Consilien, the average cost of security awareness training for an employee ranges between $10-$60 per employee. For the purposes of this exercise, we will use the average cost of $35 per employee.
Average Training Cost: $35* 800= $28,000
Average Data Breach Cost: $4.35 million
The organization may have saved $28,000 initially by cutting the training budget, but the cost of a simple human error can be severe. The $28,000 will be spent 155 times over to cover the cost of the data breach. Is it worth the risk of exposing your organization to a greater risk of a breach in the hopes of maybe saving a few bucks?
But Is Cybersecurity Awareness Training Effective?
The short answer? An emphatic, “YES!”
Cybersecurity awareness training can be extremely instrumental in changing employees’ attitudes and behaviors towards cybersecurity as well as the role they play in keeping your organization secure. In a 2021 study by Infosecurity Magazine, 80% of organizations claimed that security awareness training had reduced their staff’s susceptibility to phishing attacks. With phishing attacks at a record high in 2022, a solid plan to thwart phishing and ultimately a breach is a necessity.
Training Revered as a Cost-Savings Versus a Cost
What would happen if cybersecurity training was ranked among the most critical needs of an organization? What if cybersecurity training was presented and treated as a real return on investment (ROI) thus proven to be worth the minimal cost associated? Would an effective, funded cybersecurity awareness training program lead to other cost savings?
When employees are knowledgeable about threats, they can:
- Make the appropriate decisions concerning emails, texts, and phone calls in order to protect sensitive data
- Help to maximize the IT team’s time with real potential threats ahead of time versus after the fact
- Reduce exposure for the organization that can come from breaches and cost a lot in publicity, investigations, and personnel time
- Avoid downtime that comes with a breach
Keeping the budget can actually help to save your organization money!
Take Another Look
I implore you, to take another look in the coming months before cutting the training budget-especially the cybersecurity awareness training budget. There are ways to be frugal in other areas of the business that will afford you the opportunity to continue (or begin) offering a robust cybersecurity awareness training program that truly changes behavior in your organization.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, or what training material you may need, look no further. Global Learning Systems has an array of programs designed to meet your organization’s exact needs.
Start Today! Build An Ongoing Security Awareness and Remedial Training Program with GLS
Global Learning Systems can help! Our approach goes well beyond the basic online security awareness course. We offer award-winning training solutions that can be customized to create a tailored security awareness training program specific to your organization’s (and users’) unique needs.
Our continuous learning strategy provides something for everyone in their cybersecurity journey. Gamification, short impactful videos, animations, best practices modules, role-based training, and full-length courseware work together to transfer critical knowledge to employees. This training, coupled with phishing simulations and assessments, will provide your employees and new hires with an arsenal of weapons to use as they combat daily cyber threats.