Cybersecurity awareness training is concerned with making the workforce aware of the cyber threats that they are likely to encounter and developing the necessary skills to be able to recognize and avoid those threats. When you recruit a new employee, you would not expect them to be able to do their job perfectly and follow all company procedures without providing at least some job training. Similarly, it would be unreasonable to expect new employees to be security experts and be able to recognize all phishing emails, malicious websites, and scams they may come across.
Employees are frequently targeted by malicious actors. While hackers will attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in technology, is far more common for human weaknesses to be targeted, as humans are more vulnerable than technology. Businesses are investing more and more money in technology, but data breaches continue to increase year over year. While it is important for companies to implement technologies to block threats such as ransomware, malware, botnets, phishing, and business email compromise attacks, it is important not to neglect cybersecurity awareness training. Businesses that do not provide cybersecurity awareness training will have a gaping hole in their security defenses.
What Should be Covered in Cybersecurity Awareness Training?
The aim of cybersecurity awareness training is to improve understanding of threats and reduce the potential for security mistakes to be made that could open the door for malicious actors. Employees need to be taught cybersecurity best practices, be informed about risky IT practices that can easily lead to data breaches, be told the ways that malicious actors target employees, and need to learn how to practice good cyber hygiene.
Topics to cover in training should include:
- Phishing, social engineering, and malware attacks
- Passwords and password security
- Working securely at home/remotely
- Physical security
- Mobile device security
- Safe use of the internet
- The Risks of public Wi-Fi
- Removable media
- Unauthorized software installations
- Social media use
Training should be provided to all members of staff, including business owners and members of the board, as cybercriminals will target everyone in a company. Everyone therefore needs to have a good understanding of cybersecurity and the steps they need to take to avoid cyber threats.
Considerations Before You Provide Security Awareness Training
Providing cybersecurity awareness training to the workforce has been shown to significantly improve security and prevent data breaches, but how can you tell if the training has been effective? Before you provide training, you should create a benchmark against which you can measure progress over time. After you have provided training, you can test security knowledge again and find out how much more aware employees are about security risks. The easiest way to do this is with quizzes at the end of training sessions to test whether the training content has been understood, but these end-of-course tests will not tell employers if the training is being applied by every employee consistently.
You should therefore consider conducting phishing simulations on the workforce. Phishing is the most common way that cybercriminals target employees. If you conduct simulated phishing tests on your employees, you will be able to test whether they can recognize, avoid, and report threats when they are not focused on cybersecurity. If you conduct an internal phishing campaign before training, this will serve as a benchmark against which you can measure the level of security awareness of your workforce. If you then regularly conduct simulations, you can measure how security awareness is improving. When someone fails a phishing simulation, it identifies a weakness that could have been exploited in a real-world attack, and action can be taken to plug the security gap.
Real-Time Intervention Training
When a member of the workforce fails a phishing simulation, makes a security mistake, or engages in a risky behavior, you should provide intervention training in real-time in the exact moment of need. The individual may be unaware that they have taken a risk and are likely to take similar risks in the future. If you provide intervention training in real-time, you can prevent that action from being taken again. You can send a snippet of the relevant section of your company policy related to that specific activity and can automatically send training content relevant to the risk that was taken. This is easy if you use a training platform that supports real-time intervention training, as this process can be fully automated and will allow you to deliver repeatable and consistent training content exactly where it is needed.
SafeTitan from TitanHQ
SafeTitan from TitanHQ is a comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training platform that delivers training in real-time. The platform has an extensive library of training content covering all aspects of security, which is delivered in short, easily assimilated modules of no more than 10 minutes. The platform makes it easy for businesses to create training courses, and tailor those courses to different departments, roles, user groups, and individuals.
The training content is gamified, interactive, and enjoyable, and is regularly updated to include current and emerging threats. The platform includes a phishing simulator that allows businesses to develop internal phishing campaigns, automate those campaigns, and set triggers for real-time intervention training, not just for failed phishing tests, but also for other risky behaviors. The platform gives businesses a 360 view of the security awareness of the entire organization and has been shown to improve phishing awareness by up to 92%.
For more information on cybersecurity awareness training for employees with SafeTitan, give the TitanHQ team a call today and take the first step toward creating a human firewall to complement your technical cybersecurity defenses.
See also SafeTitan for MSPs for phishing simulation and cybersecurity awareness training for MSP clients.