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Home / Resources / Why HR is a critical line of defence against cyber attacks

Why HR is a critical line of defence against cyber attacks


Earlier this year the NHS suffered a major cyber security attack. The culprit, a ransomworm, ‘WannaCry’ or ‘WannaDecryptor’, hit over 150 countries and affected over 240,000 machines, primarily those running unpatched versions of Windows 7.

It encrypted files on infected machines and demanded payment for unlocking them. The attack bought cyber security front of mind and many businesses began re-evaluating how to best defend themselves against future cyber attacks.

HR & L&D: a critical line of defence

One key weapon in the fight for cyber security is effective knowledge and skills training, to actually lead to behavioural change within an organisation. Yet only 1-in-5 UK companies provide staff with cyber security training, despite nearly 1-in-2 suffering from some kind of breach or attack in 2016.*

To ensure cyber security, IT training must become a whole lot more than a ‘tick box’ exercise. All staff need to be clear on not only the policies, but also why they exist, from IT leads through to customer service reps.  Every member of a workforce plays a critical role in ensuring the company is cyber-secure; to protect the future of your business, your staff, your customers and your reputation.

What is the most salient tool in the fight for cyber security?

We would argue one powerful, but under-utilised tool is high quality eLearning. We don't mean eLearning that is basically a powerpoint presentation put online, we mean quality eLearning. Smarter eLearning which is based on modern learning methodologies, which will engage learners and raise emotional levels in the brain leading to a change of mind-set and real behavioural change.

Reasons to embrace eLearning:

Swift distribution of content

If there is a major cyber attack and you want to send out a quick refresher course, or if there is a policy change in the company, or if a new law comes into effect and you need your employees equipped quickly, then eLearning is a highly effective way to achieve this. Distributing the digital modules on a modern LMS will allow you to track who has accessed the information, who has understood it and most importantly which areas have not been understood - helping you to identify dangerous knowledge gaps which you can then address.

Anywhere, anytime, immediately accessible

The best eLearning is accessible through any device. If an employee needs to refresh their memory on content before heading into a meeting they can do so on their commute, or on their plane ride on the way to the meeting.

Lessen costs

Consider the cost a company may incur by either giving in and paying a ransom following a security breach, or having to update or replace software. eLearning is an inexpensive and highly efficient form of training which can help lower the risk.

Improves productivity and performance

eLearning leads to higher employee productivity in 72.8% of employees, according to recent research**.

Eliminates need for on-site instructors

eLearning is not reliant on the knowledge and skill of one expert. It provides consistent high quality training for all, and saves money on hotels and travel too!

Net retention

eLearning is proven to increase knowledge retention by 25% to 60%*** Information which could prevent you from being vulnerable to attack should not be easily forgotten!

Turnover is directly linked to training

Better-trained employees work harder, and in addition, they are willing to stay in one company longer.***

And if you’re into acronyms you can take note of the one down the side: SALIENT. eLearning is salient to this century.

eLearning is a powerful tool which can equip your employees to face the future and limit your vulnerability to future cyber attacks.

If you're looking to ensure your company is cyber-secure, we can help.


*Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2017, Dept Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
**Global Journal of Business Research - ‘Corporate eLearning Impact on Employees’ 
*** Global Journal of Business Research - ‘Corporate eLearning Exploring a New Frontier’ WR Hambrecht