South Africans face criminal threats on all fronts. Not only does the country currently have the eighth-highest murder rate in the world but last year also ranked fifth of the global cybercrime density list, according to figures released by cybersecurity firm Surfshark in April.
Financial fraud, civil unrest as well as theft, armed robbery, carjacking, vandalism and trespassing are also rife in South Africa. As a result, citizens unfortunately have been left with no choice but to implement measures to mitigate these threats as far as possible.
This cost is immense.
Last month, finance minister Enoch Godongwana told a local business summit that the country spent some R640-billion a year on safety and security. That is a staggering 10% of GDP annually.
Businesses, as the backbone of the economy, need to practise extreme vigilance and the onus is on owners and managers to ensure every employee is familiar with security policies and practices and how to respond in the event of an attack.
South African learning solutions provider New Leaf Technologies has developed a list of components that every security plan should embrace. It includes:
* Security awareness: Employees should be educated on all security risks and how to recognise and respond.
* Policy and compliance: Workers must be au fait with company security policies and regulatory compliance needs.
* Technical training: Both information technology and security personnel must highly familiar with network security, system hardening and security tools.
* Incident response: Training should be as such that the response to security incidents and breaches is immediate.
* Phishing awareness: Recognition of phishing attempts is paramount.
* Security best practices: Password management, data encryption and safe browsing habits must be reinforced at all times.
The issue of safeguarding a business from attacks, whether they are physical or via digital channels, is that defence strategies need to be created and implemented very quickly. Technology is changing by the day but cybercriminals are astute at quickly identifying weak points in new systems.
Accordingly, businesses are also required to keep up with these changes as they happen to employ effective countermeasures. The rise of eLearning is aiding this process, particularly when a company has branches around the country and it is not always possible to gather everyone in one place at the same time.
New Leaf Technologies MD Michael Hanly says there are several advantages of eLearning in terms of safety and security training, namely:
* Scalability: eLearning allows organisations to train large numbers of employees and stakeholders simultaneously, reducing the time and resources required.
* Consistency: It ensures all learners receive the same information and training materials, maintaining consistency in security knowledge.
* Flexibility: Learners can access training materials at their own pace and convenience, accommodating different learning styles and schedules.
* Interactivity: eLearning can include elements like quizzes, simulations, and case studies to engage learners and reinforce learning.
* Tracking and assessment: Platforms are equipped with tools for tracking learner progress and assessing their understanding, making it easier to identify areas that need improvement.
Hanly says that, aside from the companies themselves, their suppliers and contractors should also be included in the online training process.
“It is often the case that contractors have access to a company’s systems or data. For this reason it is imperative they also undergo security training to ensure they follow the same security protocols and don’t introduce vulnerabilities.”
Given that South Africa has more two-million registered security officers, it also stands to reason that eLearning is tailor-made for security companies as well, Hanly says.