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IT Support with a Cyber Security Focus – Addressing End User Risks

When you think of ‘cyber attacks’ and ‘hackers’, what sort of images come to mind? You might be picturing skilled computer experts analysing code to exploit weaknesses in the IT systems of global corporations. While threats of that nature do exist, the online dangers your business is more likely to encounter are far more rudimentary in nature.

Many cyber threats are low tech and opportunistic. Often, hackers will leverage simple acts of deception to gain a foothold in a network. These manipulative tactics exploit user naivety and allow attackers to bypass the network’s technical defences, giving them unchallenged access to sensitive information. Alternatively, they may hijack a legitimate user account with weak password protection and then use it to commit fraud, conduct hostile reconnaissance, or inject malware onto the system.

There are countless potential threat pathways a hacker can take to compromise an IT system, with many of them dependent upon users with poor cyber security awareness and inadequate adherence to cyber security best practices. In fact, it could be argued that end users constitute the single biggest cyber security threat businesses face. Not convinced? Here are some stats which highlight the dangers of poor security awareness:


Virtual IT – IT Management, Support and Cyber Security for Businesses Across London and the Southeast

Virtual IT is a full-service IT provider, committed to helping businesses across London, Essex, Bedfordshire, Sussex, and the wider Southeast operate productively and securely with the help of technology. Our unique approach to cyber security offers 7 distinct categories of risk mitigation, providing the multi-layered defensive posture that’s vital to repelling today’s cyber threats.

Without proper training, staff can provide threat actors with uninhibited access to corporate networks. That’s why it’s so vital that you equip your staff with the knowledge and skills they need to recognise common cyber threats and apply security best practices that defend the interests of your business and its people.


The Benefits of Cyber Security Awareness

Reducing the risk of data breaches is an obvious benefit to introducing cyber security awareness training to your business. Here are some other advantages that are less obvious:


Better Cyber Insurance Outcomes

Cyber security awareness training is fast becoming a key factor in the evaluation process for cyber insurance cover. Insurers are keen to see evidence of regular training that extends to all levels of an organisation, with high quality training programmes unlocking access to lower premiums, more extensive coverage, and better terms.


A Reputational Safeguard

A cyber breach can have an adverse effect on a business’s reputation, with the lingering effects impacting growth and revenue long after the event. By averting disaster, cyber security awareness training can help your business sustain the trust of its customers, preserve its reputation, and remain on track for success.


Achieve and Maintain Compliance

Security training can be used to support compliance objectives by ensuring staff know how to detect, report, and react to data breaches. Training can also help to instil data handling best practices, ensuring staff know how to handle data compliantly and understand the types of actions that could expose data to heightened risk.


Stay Ahead of Emerging Threat Trends

The cyber threat landscape is in constant flux, with new attack methods emerging on a continuous basis. Organisations that undertake regular training can familiarise staff with emerging threat trends, ensuring long-term resilience in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.


Fast-acting Incident Response

During a cyber security breach, the key to minimising the impact and containing the spread of harm is a fast, decisive incident response. Employees that benefit from security training are better placed to detect and report a breach in its early stages, supporting the deployment of swift countermeasures designed to mitigate further damage.


Gain a Competitive Advantage

High-profile data breaches and burgeoning data protection regulations have made customers more sensitive to how their data is used by companies, and the steps being taken to protect it. A culture of cyber security awareness can set a business apart from competitors, particularly in sectors where customers are highly discerning on the basis of data protection practices.

Raising Awareness – Threat Vectors to Prioritise in Awareness Training

Cyber security awareness training programmes should be deployed at every level of a business, from senior managers to junior staff. Training should encompass a broad range of subject matter and should be tailored around business activities that expose data and digital systems to elevated risk.

Try to ensure that your training programme explores the following threat vectors:


Social Engineering

Training should focus heavily on the dangers of social engineering attacks, and the coercive, deceitful, and manipulative techniques the attackers deploy. Draw attention to the emotive language used in these attacks. Emphasise associated dangers such as malware-infested attachments and credential harvesting websites which can appear innocuous at first glance. Ensure training promotes vigilance when encountering unsolicited emails, with ID verification practices promoted as a matter of course. Phishing simulations can be beneficial for testing awareness and can provide an opportunity to expose staff to realistic attacks in a safe, controlled manner.



Training should educate staff on the dangers of malware, including how these harmful programs find their way onto corporate IT systems and the kind of damage they can inflict. Emphasise the malware-related risks posed by phishing emails, rogue websites, unscreened removable storage media, and poorly patched software. Training should encourage safe browsing practices and stress the importance of downloading software from trusted, security-vetted sources.


Good Password Practice

Security training should explore the risks that can arise from weak passwords, and should offer guidance on secure password management, as well as on the use of secure authentication protocols like multi-factor authentication. Staff should be urged to create long, complex passwords that are unique to each user account, while avoiding words and phrases that could be easily guessed by an attacker such as terms associated with the business. Draw attention to dangerous password practices, such as using a single password for multiple accounts, storing passwords in a typed or written format, and sharing passwords with colleagues and associates.


Wireless Security Risks
A security awareness training programme should succinctly cover key wireless security risks. It’s essential to highlight the dangers of unsecured Wi-Fi, particularly public networks, and the risk of man-in-the-middle attacks. Emphasising the importance of strong passwords for Wi-Fi networks and being wary of rogue access points is crucial. The programme should inform about Bluetooth vulnerabilities like bluejacking and the need for regular updates on wireless devices to patch security loopholes. Finally, the use of VPNs in public or untrusted networks should be advocated to ensure data encryption and protection.


Device Security Risks

Security training should outline employee responsibilities in terms of maintaining and securely operating devices used for work purposes, including laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. The programme should emphasise the significance of regular software updates, as they often contain vital security patches. Additionally, it’s crucial to cover the risks associated with physical device theft or loss, advocating for strong password protection and the use of encryption. Lastly, the importance of secure Wi-Fi connections and avoiding public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions should be highlighted, alongside the use of VPNs for additional security.

The exact content of your security awareness training should be adapted to the nature of your IT environments, the risk exposure inherent in your data processing activities, and the sensitivity of the information your business routinely handles.


In Summary

Cyber security awareness training helps position your employees as a vital component in your security framework. Consider partnering with a cyber security focused IT provider, to benefit from the support, guidance, and resources your business needs to implement an effective training programme.


Virtual IT – Strategic Cyber Security that Prioritises Your Most Critical Digital Assets

The essentials cyber security suite from Virtual IT is the ultimate digital defence toolkit, offering everything your business needs for effective and complete protection against online threats and data loss risks. In addition to robust threat mitigations that operate environment-wide, our multi-layered approach applies additional safeguards around your critical systems and sensitive data assets. Overlapping defences seal vulnerabilities against attack, reinforcing your operationally critical infrastructure, and safeguarding information against malicious exfiltration and unsanctioned access.

We help organisations across London, Essex, Bedfordshire, Sussex, and the wider Southeast region develop and maintain a robust security posture, supporting their success through improved cyber resilience.

Contact us today, to discover how Virtual IT can be your trusted cyber defence partner.

combatting cyber threats with end user awareness