This is a sponsored post written on behalf of KnowBe4; the opinions represented are 100% my own.

Keeping your corporate network secure is challenging, especially if your business requires that your staff has access to an open Web. Powerful communication tools such as email and information sources including various Web sites across the Internet are a requirement in most business environments, but they are a significant threat to security because tricking uneducated users is too easy. Firewalls and security policies provide some protection from outside attacks, but are inadequate in providing protection from resources accessed outside of your company’s network. Software and hardware options are incredibly useful tools to safeguard your systems from intrusion, but all the investment in the world could fail if one user on the network clicks a link and effectively invites a threat onto the network. This is where user education can succeed.

Unless your staff is made up of security experts, the chances are high that staff, not software or hardware, may pose the biggest threat to your network. Simply put, a lack of knowledge on the part of you and your staff can have a devastating result on the security of your network. Modern hackers and malicious intruders are quickly adapting to software and hardware blocks, and they are constantly seeking new methods for finding a back door into your network. Phishing scams have grown where traditional intrusion attacks are fading away. This is due in great part to how easy it is to manipulate people into revealing private personal and corporate information using a few simple tricks.

Where ignorance can leave your network open to attack, proper education can dramatically improve the security of your network. A well educated user has all the knowledge they need to properly identify and avoid phishing scams frequently sent out through email and social media. These scams can appear to come from a trusted source, including friends, family, and coworkers. A member of your staff may receive an email or link from an otherwise trusted friend on a social network that takes them to a malicious site that takes advantage of any existing security flaws present on the browser and/or system they’re using. Once that single computer is compromised, the entire network is at risk. Keeping security and operating software up to date provides a safety net, but these phishing vulnerabilities may alter the permissions on a machine.

For that matter, simply keeping up with the URLs of the phishing sites and blocking them from your network might as well be a lost cause. New malicious sites crop up every minute, and the vast networks these professional organizations have at their disposal can push out the latest scam in an instant. These aren’t kids out to have some fun either; these are professional criminal organizations with financial motivated actions. Your staff may not be aware of how to identify a URL before they click on it, or even that they have a need to. They trust, in many cases blindly, what they receive from their friends and family, and it only takes a single malicious link to take down even the most advanced network.

Train Users to Recognize Phishing ScamsIt’s for this reason that protection has to start with education. Educating your staff, and teaching them how to identify, avoid, and report malicious links being sent to and from your network can save your company a lot of money. Even your more experienced IT staff may not be privy to the latest forms of phishing scams currently making their way across the Web.

Enter KnowBe4, the leading on-demand Internet Security Awareness Training (ISAT) provider in the industry today. By educating your staff on the latest threats posed by social engineering and phishing schemes, KnowBe4 can help your company solve the biggest threat to your network’s security. KnowBe4 uses advanced training techniques, frequent testing, and offers follow-up and remedial training for members of your staff that need the extra assistance. In short, KnowBe4 does what no software or hardware solution can. It tackles the problem of phishing at its root and the result is a significantly safer network, which could mean the difference between sensitive data remaining secure, and being distributed freely across the Web to the highest bidder.

Cyberheists are quickly overtaking more traditional major crime operations due in part to their relative simplicity and the widespread vulnerability poised by a vastly undereducated majority of users. Taking the extra steps to educate your staff can be the difference between your company earning a reputation of trust, and being added to the list of security risks consumers are advised to avoid doing business with.