As many as 46 percent of entry-level employees don't know if their company has a cybersecurity policy in place, said a report. According to a survey from Washington based b2b research firm Clutch, more than half of the employees surveyed (52 percent) say their company currently has a cybersecurity policy. Yet, the survey also indicates that employees at all levels of an organization are probably unaware of the IT security threats their companies potentially face.
Nearly two-thirds of employees (63 percent) surveyed said they don't know if the quantity of IT security threats their companies face will increase or decrease over the next year. Additionally, among entry level employees, 87 percent said they don't know if the number of threats will shift in the next year.
No cybersecurity policy means companies at risk
IT security experts are quick to point out that employees' lack of awareness puts companies at risk for IT security breaches. “Attacks will be more frequent, more voracious and more sophisticated in breaking through any protection you can put in place,” said Steve Scott-Douglas, CIO of Ciklum, a global software engineering and solutions company.
The survey also found that employees are less likely to recognize IT services as the primary area of security vulnerability at their company. Instead, they cited theft of company property as the primary threat to company security, ahead of unauthorized information and email phishing scams.
To increase awareness of IT security issues among employees, experts recommend that all companies maintain a ‘top-down' cybersecurity policy. Employee awareness of IT security issues should be driven by a company's executive leadership. When company leaders emphasize and communicate IT security throughout their organization, their employees are more aware and prepared for threats.
“The sheer act of taking the time to put a policy in place is the first step in going from the unconscious incompetence debate around [security] to then build up your competence and become aware of the threats and take those threats very seriously,” said Scott-Douglas.
According to report, employees of companies with a cybersecurity policy are more likely to: feel prepared for a cybersecurity threat; understand IT services as the primary security vulnerability for their company.
The survey points out that one way companies can drive awareness is through security training during new employee onboarding. Companies tend to offer IT security onboarding programs to higher-level employees only, which may account for the greater awareness and feeling of preparedness this group has regarding IT security threats.
Providing IT security onboarding for all employees can narrow the IT security knowledge gap between entry-level and higher-level employees and help ensure organizations as a whole are more aware and prepared for security issues.