Cybersecurity awareness training for staff is a vital component of any cybersecurity strategy. Businesses should not totally rely on technical defenses to protect against cyberattacks, as sooner or later a threat will successfully bypass those defenses and reach an employee. Employees need to be made aware of cyber threats, be taught how to recognize them, and know what to do if they encounter a threat.

It is now common knowledge that cybercriminals use techniques such as phishing to steal login credentials, but surveys on cybersecurity awareness show that across a population, that knowledge is patchy and there are major gaps in understanding of cybersecurity. People generally understand that there are dangers on the Internet, and care must be taken, yet are unaware of what taking care means. Cybersecurity awareness training for staff is concerned with ensuring that all members of the workforce have a baseline level of understanding of cyber threats, are aware that they – as an individual – have a role to play in the overall security of their organization – and know how to work safely and securely.

Cybercriminals are constantly changing their tactics, techniques, and procedures to bypass technical controls such as secure email gateways and malware is constantly being tweaked to evade detection by antivirus solutions. Businesses are putting layered defenses in place to ensure that if there is a failure to detect a threat by any single security component, others will be in place to continue to provide protection. One of those layers of protection must be the workforce, as cybercriminals are actively targeting them and are looking for the errors they make as they provide an easy way to gain access to business networks.

A study by IBM indicates 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error, and the 2022 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found 82% of data breaches involved the human element. Cybersecurity awareness training for staff will not prevent all errors and data breaches, but it will significantly reduce the number of security incidents that the IT team has to deal with.

Advice on Cybersecurity Awareness Training for Staff

The ultimate goal of cybersecurity awareness training for staff is to create a security culture, where everyone has the same views, values, and social behaviors that ensure the security of the entire organization. In practice, this means everyone is aware that malicious actors – internal and external – are trying to gain access to systems for financial gain or to achieve their political or personal objectives to the detriment of the organization or its workforce, and everyone behaves in a manner that makes it as hard as possible for those malicious actors to succeed. That is not something that will be achieved overnight, and it is not something that will be achieved if every employee is given a one-hour cybersecurity training session when they join the company. It requires a plan and an effective security awareness training program, and there are key components that will help an organization achieve that goal.

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility

Everyone in the organization must understand that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility with everyone playing a role in the security of their organization, from the CEO down to the lowest level employee. Everyone should be provided with training to make them more security aware and cbersecurity training should start with the C-suite, as they will need to set an example for others to follow.

Make everyone aware of cyber threats and know how to identify them

Cyber threats take many forms. It is important for everyone to be made aware of those threats, and be taught how they can be identified and avoided. You will not turn everyone into a security Titan overnight, so start with training on the most common threats and build up knowledge over time. Tailor your training course to different departments, roles, and individuals and concentrate on improving understanding of good cyber hygiene practices before building up to more advanced knowledge.

Reward people that practice good cybersecurity

It is important to work towards a culture of compliance with security best practices, and that will be very difficult to achieve if you punish employees for security mistakes. Instead, you should reward people for good security. If there are punishments for poor security, what you are likely to do is create a culture of fear around cybersecurity. The result will be employees keeping quiet if they make a mistake and not reporting it as they fear punishment.

Provide continuous training and make it enjoyable

Cybercriminals are constantly developing new ways to attack businesses and their employees, so training needs to be updated regularly to account for the changes in tactics and be provided regularly to keep security fresh in the mind. Provide training during the onboarding process, and then continuously thereafter, with the program running 12 months a year, provided in small chunks. There is a limit to how much information can be absorbed in a training session. A little and often is by far the best approach.

Automate staff cybersecurity awareness training

Use a training platform that automates training for all employees. This will ensure that no employee misses an important lesson and it will make it easier to track progress and provide feedback on how well each individual is doing. If individuals are not performing well, they can be automatically provided with more training content than individuals who have a very good grasp of security.

Measure and test

You need to regularly check your employees’ knowledge of cybersecurity and cyber hygiene practices. If you do not measure and evaluate, you will have no idea if your training program is effective and if there are any security gaps. Conduct regular assessments through quizzes to identify possible gaps in knowledge and conduct phishing simulations to determine if employees are applying that knowledge. Any gaps in knowledge can then be addressed through further training.

The SafeTitan Security Awareness Training Platform

TitanHQ offers businesses a comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training platform for staff that covers all aspects of security and allows training to be automated. The platform incorporates an extensive range of training content, designed to appeal to all styles of learning. The training content is interactive, fun, and engaging, and split into modules to allow training to be tailored to different departments, roles, and individuals. The modules last no longer than 10 minutes to help ensure knowledge retention.

The platform can be configured to automatically generate training content in response to security mistakes and will deliver training relevant to that mistake in real-time, thus ensuring it is provided at the time when it will have the greatest impact. SafeTitan also includes a phishing simulation platform to test employees’ awareness of phishing attempts – the most common cyber threat encountered by employees.

For more information on security awareness training with SpamTitan, give the TitanHQ team a call today and take an important step toward building a security culture in your organization.