2 min read

Enhancing Cybersecurity Awareness: Are Your Employees Prompt in Reporting Security Threats?


In the digital age, where cybersecurity risks constantly evolve, the importance of timely reporting of security issues by employees cannot be overstated. Often, businesses equip themselves with an array of security technologies, believing this to be sufficient. However, the reality is that your employees are your most crucial asset in identifying and responding to security threats. They are the front line of defense against cyber attacks.

Consider a scenario where an employee receives an email that seems to come from a trusted supplier but contains subtle, suspicious elements—a classic sign of a phishing attempt. Phishing is a technique used by cybercriminals to masquerade as trustworthy entities to steal sensitive data. An oversight in identifying and reporting such an email can lead to significant data breaches, resulting in considerable financial losses and damage to your company’s reputation.

Shockingly, research indicates that less than 10% of employees report phishing attempts to their security teams. This low percentage can be attributed to several factors:

A lack of understanding of the importance of reporting,

Fear of repercussions if their suspicions are incorrect,

The assumption that it is someone else’s responsibility,

Previous negative experiences when reporting security issues.

The gap in reporting is often due to inadequate knowledge about what constitutes a security threat and the critical nature of reporting it. This highlights the need for effective cybersecurity education that transcends traditional, jargon-heavy training methods. Instead, engaging, interactive training sessions that use real-life scenarios can help demonstrate the cascading effects of unreported issues.

Simulated phishing exercises and clear demonstrations of potential consequences can underscore the importance of each employee’s role in safeguarding the company. By fostering an understanding that their actions can avert disasters, employees are more likely to take initiative and report anomalies.

Another barrier to reporting is a cumbersome reporting process. Simplifying this process is essential. Introduce straightforward mechanisms such as quick-access buttons or links on the company intranet to encourage reporting. Regular training and clear, accessible instructions can enhance understanding and compliance. When an employee does report an issue, prompt recognition and appreciation can reinforce positive behavior and underscore their critical role in the company’s security posture.

Creating a company culture that views the reporting of security issues positively is crucial. If employees fear judgment or reprisal, they will hesitate to speak up. Leadership must lead by example, openly discussing their own experiences with security issues to foster a more open environment. Appointing security champions within departments can also demystify the reporting process and make it more accessible.

Regular discussions about security, recognition of proactive behaviors, and sharing stories of successfully averted threats are effective strategies to keep security awareness high and encourage continual vigilance.

By streamlining the reporting process and fostering an environment that rewards vigilance, you not only protect your business but also cultivate a more engaged and proactive workforce. Encouraging open communication, continuous learning, and a non-punitive approach to mistakes ensures that issues are addressed swiftly and effectively, minimizing potential harm and maintaining operational integrity.

At Robertson Technology Group, we specialize in providing managed technology security and support solutions tailored for small to medium-sized businesses across Canada. Our flexible technology stack and personalized approach ensure that your business is not just a number but a valued partner. We empower our clients by removing the burden of technology management, allowing them to focus on their core operations while we handle the complexities of cybersecurity. By partnering with us, you gain access to innovative solutions that secure your business and support your growth in an ever-evolving digital landscape.