By 2025 the cost of cybercrime is expected to reach $10.5 trillion USD annually. Taken as a country’s GDP, this would make cybercrime the third-largest economy in the world. 

With the increase in cybercrime activity, more and more businesses will see themselves faced with the question of how to secure their data and systems. What is the best way to react, and is it possible to prepare, rather than wait for misfortune to strike? Those questions are at the heart of the difference between proactive and reactive cybersecurity. 

While not mutually dependent, it can be said that without proactive cybersecurity, reactive cybersecurity is about picking up the pieces after the damage is already done. For this reason, adopting a proactive approach and preparing employees through training is particularly important, especially in the face of mounting threats. Moreover, such an approach is useful for both small and medium businesses that have little to no cybersecurity preparedness as well as big companies who want to further fortify their defenses. 

Here’s why cybersecurity training is the best investment you can make!

What is the difference between reactive and proactive cybersecurity?

The major difference between reactive and proactive cybersecurity is about whether measures are taken before or after a threat. 

As the name states, reactive cybersecurity is about responding to an event. It’s about taking action once an attack is launched against you. It includes the response to an attack, along with the investigation of its source, the assessment of damages, and the recovery. A reactive approach is always needed when a threat is detected. But sometimes it may turn out to be too little, too late.

A proactive stance includes all the measures you take prior to any threat to develop cybersecurity awareness and readiness. This is a preventative approach that seeks to minimize the potential for attacks through cybersecurity training, penetration testing, threat intelligence and hunting, and automated perimeter defenses. 

Out of the above, cybersecurity training is one of the most disregarded measures, yet one that is highly meaningful and efficient, since human error is a major contributing factor to most breaches. 

Training can help significantly reduce phishing attacks and the unintentional exposure of sensitive data. It can help tune employees’ awareness to notice suspicious activity and take action early, as well as to spot mistakes that could have harmful consequences.

The cost of cybersecurity training

A frequent concern about cybersecurity training is whether and how that would impact a company’s budget. Though training and other proactive measures definitely have a cost, it’s better understood in terms of opportunity cost, rather than simply how much it would burden a budget. 

Тhe alternative to conducting cybersecurity training is to rely on defensive systems that are already in place as well as on employees’ common sense and general security guidelines. But when it comes to cybersecurity threats, technology, as useful as it is, is ultimately only as good as its operators are and the conditions it operates in.

This, in turn, raises the risk for an attack to be launched successfully - which incurs the much higher cost of having to fend off the attack and deal with its repercussions. With the average ransomware payment in 2021 having been estimated at $570,000, it quickly becomes obvious that the costs of providing training and other proactive measures are negligible in comparison. A noteworthy example in this regard is that of the banking clerk who, in 2016, noticed a spelling mistake and prevented up to $1 billion to be stolen as part of a series of SWIFT banking hacks. 

Educating your employees via training and developing their cybersecurity capabilities can not only help prevent attacks but also free up resources and time internally. And for those businesses that do not have the means to maintain a separate team, training is a way of creating a culture that raises the overall security level.

Benefits of cybersecurity training

While proactive cybersecurity includes more than just training, it is a central component of a proactive strategy and one that involves all of your employees, rather than just the specialists. As such, it’s a way of addressing issues that are due to inattention and negligence - elements on which attackers rely heavily. 

Here are some of the benefits that cybersecurity training can offer you: 

  • Cost-effective because security principles remain relevant over long-term
  • Helps companies align themselves with regulations and improves security compliance
  • Increases the likelihood of spotting mistakes, vulnerabilities, and even attacks from the inside
  • Provides employees with insight and knowledge on how to respond to suspicious events
  • Opens up time and resources for developers to fortify systems further, rather than play catch-up
  • Reduces the cost of incidents and incidents responses
  • Keeps you up-to-date with the latest cyber threat developments
  • Creates a safer working environment by reducing negligence
  • Helps stop breaches and data loss

Enhance your company’s cybersecurity culture

Adopting a proactive cybersecurity approach means that you will be more prepared to meet whatever cyber challenges lie ahead. AMATAS can be your partner in developing a cybersecurity culture that is focused on prevention and early response. 

Our Managed Security Awareness service can help you identify the human vulnerabilities that already exist within your organization. It is a way of gaining insight into employees’ security behaviors and coming to a common understanding about how to best maintain your systems’ integrity. 

Want to know more about how our security awareness program can help your company? Get in touch and let’s discuss your security needs!

As the first line of defense 🛡️ join our Cybersecurity Fundamentals training and feel free to invite your team! Register here 👉 🗓️ Tuesday, March 29th @10am EDT | 5 PM EEST


Ralitsa Kosturska in AMATAS