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

by Elizabeth Harmon

** This is an updated post**

Cyber security, data breach, malware, ransomware, DDoS attack, phishing scam… These have all become increasingly common terms in our vocabularies.

There is no denying that cyber attacks are on the rise, and have been making headlines in recent years. Cyber threats affect individuals, businesses (both large and small) and different levels of government. In fact, Australia is one of the top 10 countries in the world to be targeted by cyber criminals.

Why cyber security matters

What is a cyber attack?

Cyber attacks come in all different forms, and can be highly advanced or unsophisticated and simple.

A cyber attack can happen by simply opening an unsafe email attachment, which results in a malware infection. Or it could happen when a cyber criminal gets a hold of your password and accesses your account without your knowledge.

You only need to look at companies like Sony to realise the impact a cyber attack can have on a company.

In 2011, Sony had their PlayStation Network hacked. 77 million of their users had their personal data leaked, which included passwords, addresses and even credit card details. It remains to this day one of the largest data breaches in world history.

Sony closed the site for a month to fix the damage. This cost the company millions in lost revenue. But it also damaged their reputation severely, and cost them millions in lawsuits.

Now, Sony isn’t alone. Companies like Adobe, Yahoo, Marriott and Facebook have been hit with cyber attacks over the years. Even the Australian government has been made a target of sophisticated cyber attacks.

A cyber security attack can have many repercussions for a company, whether it is a large organisation or a small-medium sized business.

As you can see from Sony’s example, a successful cyber attack can disrupt business, have a huge impact on revenue, and can severely damage the company’s reputation.

Whose responsibility is cyber security?

When it comes to cyber security, it’s typically something that has been left 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 left solely with the IT department.

The ‘weakest link’ in most security networks is the human element. According to CIO, 32% of cyber attacks are caused by human error.

This highlights the need for strong cyber security awareness training across the business, not just for IT team members. Employees must have a basic understanding of cyber security threats to make smarter, more informed decisions and to take actions to protect themselves, their devices and their employer from attacks.

Why you should learn about cyber security

As the reliance on technology increases, the opportunities for cyber criminals to exploit any vulnerabilities also grows.

The value of cyber security training cannot be underestimated. It can provide employees with the tools, knowledge and skills to identify threats when they pop up, and what steps to take to correctly handle threats. This could be something as simple as knowing how to identify a dodgy phishing email, or understanding how an infected thumb drive can spread a virus through a company’s network.

Here are 5 key reasons why you should consider developing your own cyber security skills:

1. Protect your devices and employer

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

2. Get ahead in your career

The attitude towards cyber security is changing. Businesses are gradually realising the need for all employees to understand cyber security. By developing your cyber security skills and knowledge, you’ll make yourself a more valuable team member. This could lead to further career opportunities.

3. Become more employable

Developing your skills to meet business needs will not only make you more valuable in your current role, but adding cyber security skills to your CV can help you stand out from others when job hunting.

4. Discover higher salary opportunities

If you already work in IT but are interested in developing your skills in cyber security, there may be opportunities for you to specialise in that field. Cyber security skills are in high demand right now and companies are investing in people with particular skillsets. By studying cyber security and upskilling, you could move into a more specialised field of work.

The average salary for a Cyber Security Specialist in Australia, according to the government’s Job Outlook website, is around $1932 per week for a full-time employee. This is higher than the national average.

5. Switch careers

By learning about cyber security, you may uncover a new interest, which could lead to a completely new and exciting career path. The great news is, cyber security experts are in high demand in Australia and around the world. Which means this could be a very lucrative and rewarding career change.

Developing your cyber security skills

We have come to rely on technology in so many different ways. It has become a part of our normal, everyday lives, and many businesses today would not be able to function without it.

So it pays to educate yourself and to stay up to date with the latest in cyber security trends and methods.

One way you can do this is by studying an online course.

Open Colleges has recently partnered with AIICT to bring you the
Certified Cybersecurity Professional course. Whether you’re studying to launch a career in cyber security, or want to expand your skillset, this course can help you build a foundational knowledge of cyber security.

If you’re ready to level up your cyber security skills, then enrol today.


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