TORONTO, October 1, 2019 – Scalar Decisions (“Scalar”), a CDW company, is pleased to today announce an inaugural survey exploring how aware and prepared Canadian employees feel when facing the unique cyber security and cloud security challenges of the digital era. The Digital Citizen: A Canada-wide survey on security awareness in the workplace comes at a critical time when organizations of all sizes are facing more frequent cyber security threats, evolving tactics from hackers and bad actors, and increasingly expensive data breaches.
According to the new research, there is a growing disconnect between how prepared Canadian employees feel to deal with cyber security threats and how much training they receive. While 75 per cent of Canadians feel they are prepared to handle cyber security attacks in the workplace, the majority of Canadians (60 per cent) say they have not received any form of cyber security training.
From a regional perspective, employees in Atlantic Canada (82 per cent) and B.C. (80 per cent) feel the most prepared to deal with cyber security threats, while employees in Quebec (64 per cent) and Alberta (74 per cent) feel the least prepared.
“Ensuring that employees, regardless of job function, feel properly equipped, educated and trained to deal with the unique security challenges that Canadian organizations increasingly face is imperative. Employers have a responsibility to provide resources and instill best practices in employees,” said Theo Van Wyk, Chief Technology Officer of Scalar. “As the threat landscape continues to evolve, the lines between workplace and personal security risk blurs; training and preparation is key to help employees become better digital citizens.”
Employee training is a net benefit
Cyber security and cloud security attacks are still a reality in the workplace, regardless of how prepared employees feel. In fact, according to research released earlier this year in Scalar’s 2019 Security Study, 100 per cent of organizations surveyed experienced a cyber attack, at an average of 12.5 attacks per year.
Of concern and revealed in The Digital Citizen, 7 per cent of respondents indicated their organizations do not take any measures at all to prevent attacks. A large percentage of Canadians also remain unsure about cloud security, what it means, and whether they’ve received any training regarding cloud security. Following these new findings, it is clear that Canadian organizations are presented with an opportunity to better future proof employees.
In fact, one quarter (24 per cent) of those surveyed revealed they have been the target of an attack at work, and a further third (31 per cent) of respondents have been targeted at home. Employees in Alberta (36 per cent) expressed the highest rates of at-home threats, while those in Quebec (26 per cent) were the least likely.
Among those who do not receive cyber security training at work, the majority (57 per cent) would like to be trained. This desire for additional training was the most prominent with respondents (67 per cent) at large organizations, comprised of 250 to 4,999 employees. Employees in Quebec (71 per cent) and B.C. (62 per cent) were the least likely to receive training, while employees in Alberta (48 per cent) and Ontario (45 per cent) were the most likely. When looking at the findings across industries, employees of various levels of government indicated they were the most likely to receive training, at 21 per cent.
Among the 40 per cent of Canadian employees who receive training, the overwhelming majority (79 per cent) indicate that receiving training has helped them detect and mitigate threats in the workplace, such as phishing, spam, viruses, and malware. However, of these trained employees, more than half (57 per cent) received training once a year or less frequently.
“Organizations need to more strategically consider the cadence, type, and style of their training methods, in addition to developing metrics and providing avenues for employee feedback,” continued Van Wyk. “Not only will this help reduce cyber security and cloud security threats from arising in the workplace, it will also ensure that best practices learned in the workplace become habitual parts of employees’ personal lives.”
To join the conversation online, tweet us @ScalarDecisions #DigitalCitizenSurvey
About The Digital Citizen Survey
The survey was commissioned by Scalar, sponsored by Cisco and VMware and conducted by Angus Reid. The purpose was to understand how prepared employees of variably sized organizations felt towards cyber security and cloud security risks in the workplace – and whether Canadian organizations are doing enough to prepare their employees to be knowledgeable, mindful and resilient digital citizens in all aspects of digital life.
Between September 10 and September 15, 2019, Angus Reid collected responses from 1,557 English and French respondents, all of whom were employed full-time and are members of the Angus Reid Forum. Respondents came from small (15 to 24 employees), medium (25 to 249 employees), large (250 to 4,999 employees), and enterprise (over 5,000 employees) level organizations across a variety of industries, job functions and demographics. The margins of error for the survey are +/-2.5 percentage points, valid 19 times out of 20.
Scalar is Canada’s leading IT solutions provider, focused on security, infrastructure, and cloud. Founded in 2004, Scalar is headquartered in Toronto, with offices in Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Victoria. Scalar was recently named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, named to CRN’s 2018 Solution Provider 500 List, and listed on the Growth 500 for the ninth year running. In addition, Scalar was deemed a major player in the IDC MarketScape for Canadian managed security service providers and ranked the #1 ICT security company on the 2014 -2018 editions of the Branham 300. For further details, visit www.scalar.ca or follow Scalar on Twitter, @scalardecisions.