Cyber Attack Yourself? How Phishing Simulations Can Protect Your Small Business.

Cyber Attack Yourself? How Phishing Simulations Can Protect Your Small Business.

Is your company secure? Are you sure? Phishing simulations show how prepared your team is for a real cyber attack.

Cyber attacks can be launched cheaply and at scale from anywhere in the world. Their favorite attack vector? Your inbox. According to Deloitte, 91% of cyber attacks against businesses are launched via email to unsuspecting employees, with an annual financial impact measured in the $billions. 

While breaches affecting large multinational corporations make the headlines, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are fast becoming cybercriminals’ targets of choice, with research showing that 61% of SMBs across the US and UK were successfully hit with cyber attacks in the past year. Criminals have shifted their focus to smaller entities because they generally have fewer security resources and are often under the misguided notion that they’re too small to be targeted so they aren’t adequately prepared. 

Fortunately, there are concrete steps SMBs can take to dramatically decrease the likelihood–and impact–of a successful cyber attack. The first best defense is to construct a “human firewall” by educating employees to recognize suspicious emails from purportedly legitimate sources, i.e. “phishing emails.” But how can you be sure your entire team is ready for the cyber attempts marching into their inbox? Run an internal phishing simulation featuring mock attacks to discern if your employees are equipped to recognize fraudsters and criminals. 

In this blog, we’ll talk about what phishing simulations are, how they work, and how small businesses can launch them without enterprise-sized IT resources.

Why phishing simulations are essential for SMBs  

It may sound strange to launch a mock attack against your own company, but phishing simulations provide a realistic, yet safe, way to test and measure your employees' cybersecurity awareness and readiness. They mimic real-life phishing attacks using mock emails, websites, or pop-ups that appear suspiciously authentic but are harmless in reality. This creates a controlled environment where employees can interact with simulated threats and demonstrate their ability to detect and respond appropriately.

61% of SMBs across the US and UK were successfully hit with cyber attacks in the past year.

Phishing simulations are a cost-efficient, practical means to assess your team’s readiness and highlight if and where additional training is needed. Even better? With the right security tools, launching and monitoring a robust phishing simulation is easier than you might think. 

Upfort Shield, for example, provides a holistic cybersecurity suite designed with small businesses in mind. Shield includes automated phishing simulation functionality that mimics various attack vectors (e.g., mimicking messages from legitimate entities such as Chase, ADP, or Amazon) and tactics, (e.g., credentials-based phishing, attachment-based phishing, replies-based phishing). Internal admins–even if their not seasoned IT pros–can easily launch simulations right from their browser and assess how their team would respond to similar attacks in the wild.   

A dashboard showing the effectiveness of a phishing simulation.
Upfort Shield provides a clean, easy-to-read UI that shows you how your team fared against the phishing simulation.

Cybersecurity training makes a difference

Simulations surface and quantify your team’s preparedness and if additional security training is needed. Arming your team with engaging and easily accessible training is key. This is where Upfort's Cyber University excels.

Upfort’s Cyber University provides a diverse range of interactive, on-demand security training that educates your team about the latest cyber tactics including phishing emails, fraudulent wire transfers, and ransomware. 

Cyber University fosters a culture of cyber-awareness and vigilance within your organization. Data shows that taking a single course from Cyber University reduces the likelihood of falling victim to social engineering attempts by 41%.

Opening screen of an Upfort training session
Upfort Cyber University provides engaging interactive training on a variety of security topics.

Trust your team to be prepared (but verify that they are)

The chilling reality for SMBs is that nobody is immune to the devastating consequences of a cyber attack. But the good news? The right training can make a world of difference. Investing in phishing simulations and robust security training like Upfort’s Cyber University is an investment in the future of your business. These platforms equip your employees with practical knowledge and make them aware of the tell-tale signs of phishing attempts and other attacks.

Even better? Upfort provides continuously updated AI-powered email and browser protections and can automatically scan your entire system for exploitable vulnerabilities. The use of Upfort has been associated with a dramatic decrease in cyber claims, which is why many cyber insurers include Upfort for free to their customers. Want Upfort Shield for your business? Click here to learn more. 

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