Cybersecurity Training. PHOTO: INE.

A Certainty In An Uncertain World: Cybercrime Is Spiking

Experienced cybersecurity professionals are more important than ever

Richard McLain

Cary, N.C. – Feb. 24, 2021

The global COVID-19 pandemic sent the world as we knew it into a tailspin, drastically altering every part of our lives, from home to work. Companies worldwide were forced almost overnight into a nearly exclusive remote environment — whether they were prepared for it or not.

While some businesses struggled more than others, even the most agile companies have faced steep challenges when it comes to maintaining a remote workforce that is both well-trained and able to communicate effectively.

As the world grapples with uncertainties over lockdowns and an unprecedented dependence on virtual communication, what IS certain is that cybercrime will continue to be a growing threat. Cybercrime as a whole has spiked 600 percent since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the United Nations.

Cybersecurity Ventures forecasts ransomware damage costs alone will reach a record $20 billion by the end of 2021.

In the ongoing war against cybercriminals, those on the front lines must be equipped with the necessary tools to identify and repel bad actors. With nearly 42 percent of U.S. workers still doing some type of remote work, effectively training employees becomes more important and more challenging than ever.

Watercooler group thinking has been replaced by non-traditional and intentional methods of communication like calendar invites and video chats. While those platforms have their merits (one study shows a 47 percent increase in productivity in 2020), they cannot replicate the chemistry that comes from peer-to-peer interaction.

Onboarding new employees with limited skills transfer capabilities is more challenging than ever. That baked-in communications gap, combined with the rise in flex and full-time work-from-home models, leaves open a greater possibility for threat actors to exploit vulnerabilities. Interpol reports countries around the globe are seeing a marked increase in cybercrime threats, including malicious domains, malware and ransomware.

This is where well-trained cyber warriors become both a company’s greatest defense, as well as its offense. But having training alone in place is a waste of time and resources if it is not practical and hands-on. Even under ideal circumstances, one study found employees forget 90 percent of what they learned in a training class within a single week.

There will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021

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It is essential that the training a company implements be engaging, agile and offer hands-on learning paths. Security teams tasked with locking out bad actors from remote devices and a multi-cloud enterprise are likely to be hamstrung without access to current information on changing technology.

Adversaries, ransomware, and vulnerabilities are getting harder for organizations to contend with.  Because adversaries are harder to identify in enterprises, having a well-trained workforce that is current on emerging threats and techniques is pivotal.

David Duncan, director of pentesting, threat hunting and threat intelligence for RedPoint Labs Cyber Security, credits his team’s experience with INE’s extensive training module with helping unlock sectors of a recent high-profile nation-state attack.

 “Everything I learned in the threat hunting course I applied directly into the project,” he says. “Before we started, I went back and read through some of the slides and started up some of the labs. If I have something that I don’t know about from a web app pentest or network pentest, I can go through INE’s training slides or labs and I can learn something and apply it right away. It is instant gratification.”

Just like on a sports team, practice and muscle memory is important to successfully combat cyber threats.  While professional development is an important step for companies to take, it is equally important for a company to ensure it implements the right kind of training. When choosing a training program, some features to look for include:

  • Hands-on Training: It is proven that reducing the “go to war” capability of today’s cyber warrior is critical to lowering or, in some cases, eliminating a cyber attack. In today’s world, training that does not provide hands-on, practical, real-world skills development should not even be considered in an enterprise or by a cyber professional.      
  • Certification: The best way to become an expert is to learn from one. Yet, many IT programs have teachers that are not well-versed in the field they are teaching. Check the trainers’ credentials to make sure your employees are learning from experts with real-world experience.
  • Flexibility: The courses your employees can take are only useful if they actually use them. Different people learn in different ways and at different times. Forcing everyone to watch the same video at the same time in the same place is not feasible for most modern jobs. Make sure your employees can learn in the way that best suits them.
  • Guided learning: Don’t settle for a company that drops its materials in your lap and takes off. Guided learning is essential to help your team get the most out of the material provided for them.

For businesses to be successful, professional development is not negotiable. It is one of the best ways to stay competitive both now and in the future. Take some time to find the best IT training company to meet your needs and provide you with the most learning potential for your team.

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Richard McLain is the CEO at INE, a premier provider of Technical Training for the IT industry. 

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INE is revolutionizing the digital learning industry through the implementation of adaptive technologies and a proven method of hands-on training experiences. INE’s portfolio of trainings is built for levels of technical learning specializing in advanced networking technologies, next-generation security and infrastructure programming and development.

INE’s mission is to be your trusted partner in reaching your professional goals. INE has cultivated innovative content and teaching methods, delivered through cutting-edge technology and disseminated by the most esteemed instructors in the world. Over the past 14 years, INE has helped tens of thousands of IT professionals achieve their goals and countless Fortune 500 companies build a world-class technical organization fully prepared for tomorrow’s challenges.