Data protection is hugely important to businesses across the globe. Particularly after the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) were put in place back in 2018. In order to ensure they’ve got the best security systems in place, companies must understand how they collect and store data, as well as how it moves through their organization and how it is used. And while some will have dedicated employees or even teams to manage their data and cybersecurity efforts, it can also be helpful to ensure all staff is provided with data protection training.

This doesn’t mean everyone has to be an expert at cybersecurity, GDPR, and data protection, but even just a very basic understanding can have a number of benefits for your company. Still unsure about investing the time and money into data protection training for your staff? In this guide, we’ll take a look at just seven reasons why this is a worthwhile investment and one you should consider this year.

1. To ensure you’re GDPR compliant

While GDPR does not set out any legal requirements to provide all staff with data protection training, there are some regulations that stipulate certain members of the team must be well-educated on the subject. But that aside, providing all staff with at least a basic understanding of data protection can help to ensure your business stays GDPR compliant.

There are a number of reasons for this, some of which we’ll cover in more detail below. But in a nutshell, educating all staff can make spotting a security risk easier, ensure all breaches are reported within the allotted 72 hours, and reduce the risk of human error leading to a cyberattack or data breach.

2. To reduce room for human error

Sadly, a lot of cybercriminals prey on employees as a way of hacking into a company’s systems. This might be by targeting them with phishing emails, by pretending to be a legitimate business or governing body to extract information from them or simply by hacking their account with the password they use for everything!

Of course, these unsuspecting workers aren’t deliberately causing a data breach, but often they are the easiest target for a cybercriminal. As such, educating all staff on the signs of a scam or any red flags they should be aware of can really help to reduce the risk of human error.

3. So they’re able to understand and report a breach

An important part of the General Data Protection Regulations is reporting a data breach within 72 hours of it taking place. If your team is better able to recognize the signs of a breach they’ll be able to spot these more quickly if your business has become the victim of a hacking. Not only this, but it means they’ll be better equipped to report the breach within the timeframe, knowing who they need to report it to and how to get in touch with them as quickly as possible.

4. To reduce the risk of a security breach

Following on from some of the points above, by providing staff training to all employees you can reduce the overall risk of a security breach. This is not only because you reduce the room for human error, but also because if all staff are aware of the warning signs, they can report any issues before they get worse. This gives the security team more time to get ahead of any potential threats.

It will also teach staff better password safety practices and how to be careful when processing and using data. As a general rule, the more people that understand data security best practices and what they should and shouldn’t be doing with regards to cybersecurity, the less likely your company is to fall victim to a breach.

5. Because they may be handling personal data

One of the biggest reasons that all staff should be offered data protection training is because they are most likely to be the ones dealing with data on a daily basis. Even if they’re only dealing with a handful of sensitive data, it’s vital that they understand how to keep this information safe and the security measures that are in place to help them do this.

What’s more, as part of GDPR individuals have the right to request access to their data at any time, as well as asking for it to be deleted and removed from your systems. Your teams need to be prepared to deal with any access or deletion request they get within a 48-hour window. They need to know where to find the data, how to remove it from the systems if required, and how to present it to said individual in a secure manner. Data protection training can ensure this is all done properly and efficiently.

6. For accountability and responsibility

Another important part of data protection is taking responsibility and accountability for the cybersecurity efforts in your business. Offering staff training not only boosts your security efforts, but it also proves to govern bodies, vendors, and customers that you’re taking responsibility for your security efforts and doing everything you can to ensure that the data you process is safe from a breach. This can really help to build the reputation of your business, but it also means you can build a better case should you, unfortunately, fall victim to a hacking or data breach.

7. For awareness

And the final reason you should offer staff training is for awareness. If you put cybersecurity and data protection at the heart of everything you do, you stand a better chance of keeping your data safe and staying GDPR compliant. By educating every member of staff and generally raising the level of awareness surrounding data protection, your teams will go about every task with cybersecurity at the forefront of their mind, reducing the risk of human error.

The best way to combat anything is to raise awareness around it, and offering staff training is the perfect way to ensure that everyone you employ has at the very least, a basic understanding of the importance of data protection and how to spot the signs of a scam.