Cyberattacks on businesses have been increasing at an astonishing rate and attacks are becoming much more sophisticated. A successful attack can cause long-lasting problems for businesses due to the reputational damage caused, especially when sensitive customer data is stolen. Customers will be lost and may never return and lawsuits following successful cyberattacks are increasingly likely. That is on top of the disruption to business while remediating an attack and the potential for permanent loss of data.
Many businesses invest considerable money into technical cybersecurity measures and while these are important and will block many attacks, some will bypass those defenses and will reach employees. Employees are an important line of defense and they should not be neglected. Education of the workforce on security best practices and the threats they may encounter can be the difference between a thwarted attack and an extremely damaging data breach.
An increasing number of businesses are recognizing that security awareness training for employees is a good investment and can significantly improve their security posture, but simply providing a training course to employees may not provide the expected benefits. You must make sure the training is effective to get a good return on your investment.
Security awareness training is important because cybercriminals usually target an organization’s employees. The Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report suggests 82% of data breaches involve the human element, which includes responses to phishing emails, misconfigurations, and other mistakes that can open the door to hackers. Through security awareness training, bad security practices can be reduced and employees can be trained to be more security aware and taught how to identify the telltale signs of phishing emails and other types of cyberattacks.
Security Awareness Training Tips to Make Training More Effective
Many security awareness training programs are not as effective as they should be, so to get the best bang for your buck you should consider the following.
Create a baseline against which progress can be measured
If you have yet to start providing security awareness training, make sure you create a baseline against which you can measure the success of the training program and ensure you continue to record metrics that allow you to measure progress. Keep records of training, who has completed each module, test results, the number of security incidents that you experience, and phishing simulation metrics.
Provide ongoing training
Security awareness training should be provided to all new hires as part of the onboarding process but don’t stop there. Even an annual training session is not sufficient. Training needs to be an ongoing process provided throughout the year. Only through continuous training are you likely to develop a security culture and be able to keep employees up to date on the latest threats.
Tailor the training to individuals
A one-size-fits-all training course is unlikely to be effective. Your workforce will consist of people that learn in different ways and have different levels of understanding about security, so your training content should reflect that. Staff members well versed in security will likely get bored by basic courses, and make them too advanced too quickly and people will get left behind. You should also provide training based on the threats employees will likely encounter – Those threats will be different for different roles.
Use a professional training course
You can develop a training course from scratch, but it will require a lot of effort to make sure it is effective for all employees, and then ensure it is kept up to date with the latest threat intelligence. You will likely have far greater success if you use a training solution provided by a cybersecurity company that has put the time and effort into making quality, engaging, fun, and gamified content, regularly updates that content, and provides a platform that allows training to be largely automated.
Ensure the training is engaging
Try to avoid classroom sessions where you explain threats and teach best practices. Also ensure that training is provided in manageable chunks that can be easily assimilated. Training should be engaging, interactive, and enjoyable, and should include a mix of training materials, including multimedia content, quizzes, and exercises.
Conduct phishing simulations
Ensure that the training process includes phishing simulations. These will allow you to measure how effective the training is and how people improve over time. Phishing simulations allow you to test to see whether training is being applied in the workplace and will identify individuals who require further training. Phishing simulations give employees practice at identifying phishing attempts and prepare them properly for real threats.
Provide training to everyone
Anyone can encounter a threat, and the CEO and board members are often targeted by cybercriminals as they have access to the most valuable data. Providing training to all will also help with the development of a security culture and employees are more likely to take training seriously if they know that everyone in the company must go through the same training process.
Security Awareness Training and Phishing Simulations from TitanHQ
TitanHQ has developed a comprehensive security awareness training program called SafeTian to help organizations develop a security culture and change employee behavior. The platform includes an extensive library of training content, split into small modules that are easy to fit into busy workflows. The content is interactive, gamified, and engaging to improve knowledge retention and allows training to be tailored to different abilities and roles.
The platform also includes a phishing simulation platform for ongoing testing against specific phishing threats, and the platform will automatically deliver training in real-time in response to security mistakes by employees, ensuring training is provided where it is needed most at the time when it is most likely to be effective.
For more information about improving security awareness through SafeTitan, give the TitanHQ team a call and take a big first step toward creating a security culture in your organization.