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Why you need to understand cybersecurity, not leave it to the IT team

by Elizabeth Harmon

Over the last few years, cybersecurity, data breaches, malware, ransomware, DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) and phishing scams have become increasingly common terms. That’s because cyber-attacks are on the rise and affecting individuals, businesses and even governments. In fact, research by Accenture reveals that the number of attacks affecting Australian companies has almost doubled in 2018 vs. 2017.

Why cybersecurity matters

Cyber attacks can take place by you simply opening an unsafe email attachment, resulting in a malware infection. If you lose your mobile phone on the train, and it’s not password protected, sensitive information could easily fall into the wrong hands. Even something as simple as writing your passwords down, or using the most common (and therefore easy to guess) passwords of all, “123456” or “password” can cause huge security breaches.

You only need to look at companies like Sony, who, in 2011, had their PlayStation Network hacked, to see just how damaging a cybersecurity attack can be. 77 million of their users had their personal data leaked, which included passwords, addresses and even credit card details. Sony closed the site for a month, to fix the damage, costing the company millions in lost revenue, not to mention the eight-figure settlement figure they were required to pay following a lawsuit.

Sony isn’t an exception. Companies like Adobe, Marriott and Facebook have all faced cyber-attacks recently. Even the Australian Parliament was hit by a cyber-hack attempt earlier this year (February 2019). But cyber-attacks don’t just hit large companies. Research suggests that 516,380 small businesses in Australia fell victim to cyber-crime in 2017.

A cybersecurity attack can have many repercussions on a business. As you can see from Sony’s example, you can lose valuable, sensitive data and it can affect you financially too. But having a cybersecurity breach could result in your systems going down, it could affect customers’ confidence in you, it may damage your brand reputation and more.

Whose responsibility is cybersecurity?

When it comes to cybersecurity, it’s typically something that has been left down to the IT team to deal with. Having the right security systems and policies in place is still vital, especially as cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated. But the responsibility can no longer be pushed solely onto IT teams.

When you look at research, the “weakest link” in cybersecurity often comes down to humans, with 32% of attacks caused by human error, according to CIO. This therefore highlights the importance of cybersecurity becoming the responsibility of everyone in the business. You must have a basic understanding of the cybersecurity risks to make more informed decisions and to take actions to protect yourself, your devices and employer from attacks.

Why you should learn about cybersecurity

As the reliance on technology to get your job done increases, the opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit any vulnerabilities also grows. Unfortunately, cybersecurity training is often neglected by businesses, with research revealing that only 18% of employees have had thorough training. Around 33% of employees have had some training, 16% have had little and 33% have had no training at all.

Here are five key reasons why you should consider developing your own cybersecurity skills:

Protect your devices and employer

If you’re not working in the IT team, then you may not need to be an expert in cybersecurity. However, having at least a basic understanding of cybersecurity can mean you prevent yourself from becoming the “weakest link” and help keep your devices and employer safe from future cyber-attacks.

Get ahead in your career

The attitude towards cybersecurity is changing. Businesses are gradually realising the need for all employees to understand cybersecurity. By developing your cybersecurity skills and knowledge, this will not go unnoticed in your business. This could help you take a step up the career ladder or even see a pay rise in the future.

Become more employable

Developing your skills to meet business needs will not only make you more valuable in your current role but putting “cybersecurity skills” on your CV can help you differentiate yourself and stand out from others when job hunting.

Discover higher salary opportunities

If you already work in IT but are interested in developing your skills in cybersecurity, there may be opportunities for you to specialise in that field. Businesses are making high investments into cybersecurity and so you may even expect to receive a higher salary.

Discover a completely new career

By learning about cybersecurity, you may uncover a new interest, which could lead to a completely new and exciting career path. The great news is, cybersecurity experts are in high demand around the world. It can therefore be a very lucrative and rewarding career change.

Developing your cybersecurity skills

Would you like to learn about cybersecurity or develop your existing knowledge and skills in this area? Open Colleges Database and Cybersecurity Learning Library, with over 1,955 digital learning assets, is a great place to start. You will be able to learn about cybersecurity, cloud security, security core concepts and much more. As an example, you can read an eBook about “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs To Know”, watch a video course on “Security Prevention & Detection Methods” or listen to an audiobook on “Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our Cyber Security in the Digital Age”.

Assets are easily available online. This means learning can take place anywhere, 24/7, and can conveniently fit around your work and other commitments. Assets are regularly updated too, so you can be assured that you’re learning the very latest industry practices.

Subscribe now to develop your cybersecurity skills, helping you stay on top of vital cybersecurity practices and even benefiting your future career.

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