What attacks are the most efficient again and again against SMBs and every other type of business? Phishing. According to the Verizon Data Breach Report, phishing was present in 36 percent of all breaches in 2021, up from just 25 percent the year before and making it one of the most common vectors of attack for businesses worldwide.

What does this mean for an SMB as cyberattacks continue to rise daily? They must take the necessary precautions to protect against this attack vector to mitigate the risk to their organization. While tools such as email filtering can help, phishing awareness training is one way to help eliminate the human factor of phishing — and that itch to click on every link and attachment that comes in through email or the web.

Phishing awareness training helps employees spot potentially malicious emails or websites by showing them commonly used tricks and tactics. By making employees aware of phishing and enabling them to better protect themselves and the organization, an SMB can potentially make a big difference in their ability to defend against cyberattacks.

At the core of these efforts are regular employee training and education on phishing and how to spot it. This training can be conducted in person in the office at a company meeting or virtually through videos and other formats. An SMB needs to emphasize how necessary this training is and that employees pay attention. And, wherever possible, to make it fun!

Once employees have been trained, some SMBs choose to implement simulated phishing attacks, which let employees practice their new skills without putting the organization at risk. Simulated phishing is sending fake phishing emails to employees, alerting them if they accidentally click on them, and suggesting additional training. This can help employees build their skills in preventing phishing and ensure they are constantly on alert for signs of a potential attack. It also allows the SMB IT teams to track the success of training through simulated phishing metrics and decide if additional training is needed for the organization.

Finally, it’s important to remember that phishing awareness and training shouldn’t be just a single point in time or a once-a-year office meeting. SMBs should hold regular training to update employees on the latest attacker tactics and refresh their memory on how to spot potential attacks. SMBs can also consider regular emails and other formats to quickly update employees on phishing attacks targeting the organization or other things to look out for.

For SMBs that implement the above tactics to raise awareness of phishing inside their organization and limit its impact, it is possible to make a big difference in their ability to defend their organization against the latest cyberattacks. The time for these tactics has never been more important, as cyber threats continue to rise and cause increasing damage to organizations worldwide.