Phishing is a real threat to small and medium businesses, and if employees are not diligent about protecting the information that they can access, even the smallest mistake can cost your company everything. Phishing email tests are a great way to help you better understand your vulnerabilities, and they give you a great talking point during security meetings. Here’s what you should know.
Phishing is an online scam in which a criminal sends out emails pretending to be someone else, whether that someone else is someone within your organization or someone in another well-known organization, including Google, Netflix, PayPal, and others, in order to get your employee to provide sensitive information. The goal is to get your employees to act out of fear or curiosity and gain access to various types of data. This may include things like a username or password or even bank account information. For businesses, the ultimate goal may be your entire network, which can be devastating.
Per a 2017 report compiled by PhishMe, the average phishing attack on a mid-sized business cost that business a total of $1.6 million – a sum that can easily cause a company to go under. The same report found that employees are most susceptible to phishing attacks that target them as consumers rather than employees. The good news in the report is that phishing susceptibility rates are on the decline; 14.1% of organizations fell victim to phishing in 2015 compared to just 10.8% in 2017. Nevertheless, it is crucial that small and medium businesses remain vigilant in their security.
A phishing email test is a mock attack that helps you better understand everything from your company’s internal email security to your employees’ diligence in reporting phishing scams. It is a controlled environment in which an IT professional determines your employees’ awareness of cybersecurity by determining whether phishing emails can get through email security and, if so, whether your employees will respond to them. This way, you can make the changes you need to make – and properly train your employees – in anticipation of a real cyberattack.
Ideally, your phishing email test should include everyone in your organization, including those at the highest levels. This way, you can better manage these employees’ awareness of cybersecurity and make the appropriate changes where necessary. Take the results of the test seriously, and use them to determine the best next step for your company, whether that involves implementing managed email security services or providing more training for people who performed poorly during the test by responding to phishing emails.
The best way to prevent cyberattacks like phishing emails is to prepare for them proactively through managed antivirus and antispam services that are constantly monitored and updated to prevent even the newest and most dangerous threats. Aside from this, regularly performing phishing email tests in the workplace will help you understand your susceptibility and ultimately create a safer network for your business.