Calculating the ROI of Security Awareness Training

Simar Kohli
April 27, 2022
A graph showing positive returns

Cybersecurity and compliance are more important than ever before

The world is more digital than ever before, particularly when it comes to work. The old way of work is gone, and companies must adapt to the new normal. Modern work involves using web-based SaaS tools instead of desktop applications. Data is stored in the cloud instead of in on-premise hard drives. Employees work from anywhere as opposed to at a physical location. All of these changes enable employees to work more efficiently while saving companies money, but the flexibility remote work offers comes at a cost.

Cybercrime is at an all-time high. There were more data breaches in 2021 than any other year on record, and that number is only going to increase as more of our lives move online. The transition to remote work has made security everyone’s job. Every employee represents a potential point of entry for hackers, so companies must ensure that their workforce is equipped to deal with modern threats.

Organizations must recontextualize security as a business need

Cybersecurity is no longer a niche that's only applicable to a handful of technology companies. Any business that collects, stores, or processes any private data should prioritize security, and in 2022 that includes the majority of businesses. Individuals are beginning to increasingly value data privacy and security, and companies like Apple have taken notice and tailored their business strategies around that.

Security and proof of compliance are becoming increasingly important for business partnerships as well. Abiding by standards such as HIPAA and PCI are mandatory for companies working with protected health information (PHI) or credit card data, respectively. Most organizations are requiring their vendors to have a SOC 2 certification. In today's interconnected business world, cybersecurity is paramount to ensuring you can work with other organizations.

In addition to being a de-facto requirement for customer and partner trust, cybersecurity is an essential business need simply because it’s much cheaper to prevent a breach than to deal with the ramifications of a security incident after it happens. According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach reached $4.24 million in 2021, and that number is only expected to grow! When spending a smaller amount on security prevents larger losses, prioritizing cybersecurity is a no-brainer.

Security awareness and compliance training are effective at reducing risk

When most people think of hacking they imagine someone frantically mashing a keyboard like a scene out of The Matrix. Although software vulnerabilities and brute force attacks are certainly ever-looming threats, research from Stanford found that human error was the primary driver for 88% of data breaches!

The vast majority of breaches occur when employees disclose sensitive data without permission, fail to secure their personal devices, or click on a link that contains a phishing attack. All of these can be addressed with effective security awareness training.

A survey of over 1,000 employees from Osterman Research found that security awareness training is an effective tool to reduce employee risk. Employees that undergo security awareness training were up to 70% less likely to engage in risky behaviors such as clicking suspicious links in an email! Security awareness training also made people more cognizant of password hygiene, protecting their physical devices, and the risks associated with public wifi. Considering that 93% of breaches involve social engineering in some form, reducing risky employee behavior through effective security awareness training is a crucial component of protecting your organization.

Calculating the ROI of security awareness and compliance training

Now that we’ve established that security awareness training is a great way to reduce risks we can quantify the value of training when viewing it as an investment. We stated earlier that the average cost of a data breach in 2021 was a whopping $4.24 million! The healthcare industry has the average highest cost of a data breach at a whopping $9.23 million per incident!

The costs of these breaches are reflected in lost productivity/time spent dealing with the ramifications of the breach, ransomware payments, and government penalties for failure to comply with regulations. There are additional costs associated with losing business due to negative press when a breach is disclosed.

Since the costs of a breach are so high, companies should be willing to invest millions into preventing them. Security awareness training is a great way to prevent breaches, so it should have an extremely high return on investment. Osterman Research found that the ROI of security awareness training was 69% for small employees and 562% for large organizations! They calculated these numbers by evaluating the average costs associated with security awareness training, analyzing the costs associated with a data breach, and weighing the lowered likelihood of a breach when companies conduct security awareness training. More details about their methodology can be found here.

Security Awareness Training has an ROI of 69% for smaller employers and 562% for large organizations!

Haekka’s Security Awareness Training has the Highest ROI in the Industry

When people calculate ROI they look at the cost of something compared to the revenue it generates, or in this scenario the losses that training prevents. Here at Haekka, we’ve taken the bold step of making our Security Awareness Training COMPLETELY FREE OF CHARGE for any number of employees at any organization. Since it costs users nothing, Haekka’s Security Awareness Training essentially has an infinite ROI. Feel free to schedule a demo of our platform or sign up for a free trial (no credit card needed) by installing it in Slack here

Haekka's SAT has an infinite ROI. Why not try it out?