Security awareness training will help to make employees aware of the importance of security and cybersecurity, teach security best practices, and train employees how to identify, avoid, and report threats that they encounter; however, to get the best return on investment and make significant improvements to your organization’s security posture, there are important things to consider. In this article, we provide some security awareness training tips to help you create and maintain a training program that will deliver the results you seek.
- There is no one-size-fits-all approach
Many businesses make the mistake of developing a security awareness training plan for the entire organization and provide all employees in the organization with the same training course. While this approach can help to ensure everyone has an understanding of basic security concepts, in practice it doesn’t work. The best approach is to have a modular training course that allows training courses to be tailored to different individuals, departments, and roles. The training required by the IT department will be different from the HR department, C-suite, sales staff, and front-line staff, as the threats they are likely to encounter will be different. Tailoring training to make it relevant will help to engage employees.
- Training needs to be an ongoing process
You can – and should – provide training as part of the onboarding process, and then provide periodic training thereafter to keep security fresh in the mind and keep employees up to date on the latest threats. While it was once acceptable to provide an annual training session, the speed at which the threat landscape is changing means that such an approach no longer works. Training needs to be provided continuously if you are to stand any chance of changing employee behavior and creating a security culture in your organization. Providing training each month – such as a couple of short 5-10 minute training modules – will help to keep employees up to date on the latest threats and keep security fresh in the mind until their next annual training session.
- Intervention training is the most effective
The best time to provide training is immediately after an error has been made, as that is the time when the training is likely to have the greatest effect. If an employee is tricked by a phishing email, training immediately will help them to learn where they went wrong so they do not make a similar mistake again. If you use the SafeTitan training platform, training is automatically provided in response to mistakes by employees specific to the mistake they made or the threat they failed to identify.
- Use a variety of training materials
People learn in different ways, and while some employees will learn best in a classroom setting, others will learn better through videos, online training, quizzes, posters, email alerts, and other methods. You should ensure that you include a variety of media in your training. This will help to improve engagement and get the message across to all employees.
- Conduct phishing simulation exercises
Training sessions – whether online or in group sessions – are great, and if quizzes are conducted at the end of the sessions, you can tell who has taken the training on board, but you will not know if the training is being applied. You should strongly consider conducting phishing simulations on the workforce to test whether training is having any effect and to identify any types of threats that employees are failing to correctly identify. Phishing simulations reinforce training, help organizations deliver targeted training where it is needed, and allow them to monitor the effectiveness of training over time. If you are not measuring how effective your training is, you will not know whether you are actually making a difference or just wasting time and money.
- Use a quality training platform
There is no need to develop training programs from scratch. Use a vendor that provides quality, engaging training content and regularly updates the training in response to emerging threats. The SafeTitan platform includes a wealth of engaging, gamified training content that is enjoyable and relevant and allows organizations to create and automate tailored training for each individual. SafeTitan will deliver targeted training in response to errors by employees and the platform includes a huge number of phishing templates for running phishing simulations. Organizations that adopt SafeTitan can reduce susceptibility to phishing threats by up to 80%.