UMass Dartmouth survey finds human cybersecurity awareness lacking at companies nationwide

DARTMOUTH – A survey conducted by University of Massachusetts Dartmouth professors found that companies are not providing enough training for their employees on cybersafety, according to the university Tuesday.

UMass Dartmouth Associate Professor Tim Shea, decision & information sciences, and Professor Steven White, management and marketing, created the Annual Employee Threat Readiness Survey that assessed a company’s ability to manage the cybersecurity risks created by their employees’ online behavior.

“The ‘Human Firewall,’ the everyday employees of a company, represent over half of the multi-trillion dollar problem with cybersecurity in our companies,” Shea said. “Far too many employees do not understand that and are not getting the training they need to combat it.”

Of the 800 workers surveyed nationwide, 75 percent of employees said that their employer considers cybersecurity important, 70 percent agreed that their company provided support for concerns relating to cybersecurity, and 70 percent affirmed that a defined process for reporting breaches exists.

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The survey concluded that, though companies are making efforts to reduce employee-related cyber-vulnerability, more training and awareness is necessary for improvement.

“The results are clear: we humans are the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain,” White said. “Email and social phishing work. Each employee plays an important role in the cybersecurity of his or her employer. As hacking attempts become more sophisticated, so too should the training provided to employees. Any other course of action is irresponsible.”

Haley Hunt is a PBN contributing writer.