Security education on phishing can save companies millions

A comprehensive security training program can significantly cut the financial consequences of phishing in the workplace

phishing costs

Comprehensive security training programs with a continuous training methodology can significantly reduce the financial consequences of phishing in the workplace, according to a research report published Wednesday.

Security research firm Ponemon Institute recently surveyed 377 IT security practitioners in the U.S. — 39 percent of them from organizations with 1,000 or more employees who have access to corporate email systems — for the Cost of Phishing and Value of Employee Training report, sponsored by Wombat Security Technologies.

"In talking with security officers, we know that many do not expect much benefit from employee training as part of their defense against phishing attacks," Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of Ponemon Institute, said in a statement today. "This research proves that security officers should expect more from employee education and seek providers like Wombat Security who can provide results like these. As the threat landscape continues to intensify and phishing attacks become more sophisticated, this research shows that employees who have undergone security training are far less likely to fall victim to a phishing attack."

Phishing costs businesses big-time

Ponemon performed a cost analysis of the potential cost to organizations when employees are victimized by phishing scams, extrapolating that the total annual cost of phishing for the average-sized organization in its sample (headcount of 9,552 individuals with user access to corporate email systems) came to $3.77 million. The analysis included costs to contain malware, the cost of malware not contained, loss of productivity from phishing, the cost to contain credential compromises and the cost of credential compromises not contained.

[Related: The worst of the worst phishing scams ]

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