Craig McDonald 29 June 2016 17:28:34 AEST 3 MIN READ

Learning & Development: Why smart businesses invest in educating their people on cybersecurity

Businesses spend millions of dollars every year on network and cyber security, yet they continue to lose millions. You have to ask why?

The answer is simple, people are the greatest vulnerability, but armed with the right skills and training they can also be the greatest asset. When armed with the right cybersecurity education, employees can be a crucial factor in preventing data breaches. 

We’ve all heard the gag where the CFO says to the CEO, ‘What if we invest in our people and they leave?’, and the CEO replies, ‘What if we don’t and they stay?’.

Technology alone is not the answer to your security problems. Cybercrime networks are smart and constantly evolving. They prey on unsuspecting employees who are not alert to new threats. To outsmart these cyber criminals, businesses need a unified front of educated and alert employees.

An investment in upskilling your team not only makes your business stronger, but it also demonstrates your commitment to your team. The flow-on benefits include better staff motivation, higher team engagement and retention, and at the same time will result in a more secure business.

As unfortunate as it is, the spectre of cyber threats is here to stay. An investment in the capability of your people is an investment in the future of your business. Simple tips and training to help them identify a scam email could save millions.

Cyber-attacks can be messy, with devastating effects not only for organisations but also for the individuals involved, from top-level managers all the way down. You only need to look at recent news reports on cyber threats to see why smart businesses are putting the issue of cybersecurity L&D at the top of their agendas. Even the biggest companies are susceptible.

A simple phishing email attack on Target in 2013, containing the Citadel Trojan, resulted in the theft of more than 40-million credit and debit card details. It was front page news, and led to a congressional enquiry, executive firings and a lawsuit against the Board of Directors.

Just last week, a smaller scale spear-phishing email resulted in the Treasurer of the United States County of Platte (in Kansas City) transferring $48,000 to a scammer. The Treasurer was targeted with a fraudulent email that appeared to be from the County Commissioner. The subsequent fallout is continuing with calls for the Treasurer to personally repay the loss, and with the matter being referred to the County Prosecutor to consider legal action against the Treasurer. All because he failed to follow due process in an effort to expedite the payment. This situation continues to be played out in the public domain globally, and will no doubt have long lasting implications for all parties involved.

There are many examples like these, however they ultimately come down to human error. The repercussions of cyber invasions can be disastrous and long-lasting. An investment in L&D and ongoing awareness for your employees are the key to reducing the impact of cyber threats and ensuring the security of all departments. By simply picking up the phone, or hovering over a link, these scams could have been avoided, saving millions of dollars in time and money for the organisations involved, and protecting the individual careers and well-being of the employees involved.

For tips and support training your team on the risks of cybersecurity, reach out to 


Craig McDonald is the CEO and founder of MailGuard, a leading Australian technological innovator providing complete enterprise-grade protection against email and web security threats such as phishing and malware, spyware, viruses and spam

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