I used to think that cyber attacks were like riots. If they ever came my way, they'd arrive in the form of masked rebels who'd overtake my computer until it burst into flames!  

Even though cyber attacks may not be as vivid as I'd imagined, they can actually cause much worse damage than a computer exploding. They can cost your business time, money and even worse, your credibility. The reality is, hackers won't come loudly crashing through your windows, but will most likely be subtle enough that they'll walk right through your front door.

If your clients rely solely on antivirus, most likely soon rather than later, they’ll be facing their own cyber security nightmare. As threats become more sophisticated, as trusted advisors of SMBs, MSPs need to start thinking of more advanced endpoint and network protection to mitigate and remediate the innovative threats. But, secure measures don’t stop there either. One of the most common points of entry for cyber attacks on businesses is through employees.

Risk is Real, But Avoidable

According to the Antiphishing Working Group, cyber crimes are drastically growing in social media. Attackers target Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and messaging services like Skype and Messenger by using malicious URLs, hoping the victim will innocently click on them. Emails are also very commonly used as a mean for hackers to infiltrate businesses with phishing attempts. Unfortunately, one simple click on the wrong content is all it takes for an SMB environment to become infected. Once the threat accesses the environment, attackers can block the computer, encrypt files saved in the hard drive and demand ransom in order to release the device to be used again.  

The good news is that many of these threats can be avoided if SMB employees are aware of the risks and prepared to deal with them. With security awareness training in place, SMBs can avoid major headaches like the following. 

1. Major Point of Entry for Ransomware

Employees are one of the most vulnerable lines of defense for your business. If unaware of the risks, they may open infected links, allowing offenders to install malware.

2. Downtime

Having business data breached can cause long down times and, in many cases, it can be costly. Employers need to consider costs with employees while they are unable to work, key data might be compromised preventing leadership to make important decisions and potentially missing business opportunities.

3. Regulation Compliance Fines

Many regulations require sensitive data to be protected. In case of a data breach, SMBs can face high fines.

4. Reputational Damage

Many clients feel uneasy to use a business when they become aware it had customer’s information compromised. This can affect SMBs reputation, causing big churns and difficulty to acquire new clients with a damaged credibility.


Tips for Administering Security Awareness Training

When the stakes are high, prevention is key! It’s highly recommended that MSPs encourage end clients to deliver security awareness training to every new employee. As cyberthreats are innovating fast, it’s also important to deliver “refresh” trainings to the whole company at least once a year. And when I say the whole company, I mean everyone—from marketing and sales teams, HR to office management up to the executive team. Anyone with email access can be a target! Security awareness training will provide companies with simulation of real-life incidents and deliver tests, so companies can monitor who needs extra learning support. When trained about possible risks, chances are that employees will identify the malicious links and they’ll know what steps to take next.

It’s possible SMBs might argue that they don’t want to incur the extra training cost, but it’s important to help them understand that depending on the size of the cyber attack, the consequences can cost them way more than replacing a damaged computer.

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