Senior Managers Need Higher Cyber Security Awareness Than Other Employees

Cyber security awareness is finally increasing across senior managers, according to data from specialist cyber security training firm, SoSafe. With 50% of companies having been victims of hacking over the last 3 years, cyber risks are more and more present, but 56% of security experts claim their top-level management teams are focusing more on cyber security than they were last year.  

Cyber risk awareness among leadership is also correlated to whether a company has the resources, i.e. headcount and budget, that they need to tackle potential threats. 

According to the data: the organisations where top management are aware of the cyber risks are 67% more likely to have sufficient resources to defend themselves from cyber attacks than in organisations where senior roles are unaware of the threat landscape. Meanwhile, among companies lacking adequate security resources, just 15% of top managers prioritise their security culture.  

According to Psychologist & CEO at SoSafe, Dr Niklas Hellemann, “Management shapes the values of a company, which is why it’s essential for senior leaders to ‘walk the walk’ in cyber risk if they want to nurture strong security cultures... It’s good to see that facing the current cyber threat landscape, the top management awareness is where we need it to be: Cyber security is starting to get a seat at the executive table."

Top managers are becoming more aware of the importance of cyber security and their role model function within organisations. Only with these conditions, employees can succeed at internalising values and secure behaviours around cyber security awareness. 

Despite the need of top management awareness to make cyber security a part of the organisational culture, it’s also necessary from the actual risk perspective: SoSafe’s data reveals that top management is more susceptible to clicking on malicious email links from hackers than their employees are; the average click rate among managers is 60% higher than for other user groups, making them particularly vulnerable to an attacker. 

SoSafe’s data also reveals that senior managers are more likely to report a suspicious email (20%) than employees (8%) are, which again proves that security awareness among top management is rising. 
 
Dr Niklas Hellemann said: “Senior roles are an attractive target for cybercriminals - they have the highest access level and decision-making power, and there’s a strong threat of senior execs being impersonated by hackers with information they’ve provided, for example through CEO fraud or other AI-based attacks. 

“This is why it’s even more vital for those in leadership roles to set an example and be role models for the rest of their team, as well as to protect themselves.” said Hellemann.

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