Chris Lawrence is a journalist and chief editor at Wlan Labs. He has been writing about technology for more than ten years. He writes about everything ranging from privacy to open source software. His goal is to educate readers about important topics to help make their lives easier.
When organizations are trusted to manage personal information, they must protect users’ sensitive data.
Most of us are familiar with the concept of cyber attacks, and information security experts work hard to create systems as a form of defense for the company.
However, the best technology in the world can’t currently save businesses from human error. And as cyber attacks only get more refined and damaging, security awareness knowledge becomes more crucial.
Ready to lower the employee risk component and strengthen your company’s security? Learn more about the basics of security awareness training and how to select the best cyber security awareness training program for your team.
What Is Security Awareness Training?
Cyber security awareness training is a technique used by information security professionals to teach the best practices of user behavior to the employees of organizations.
The focus of any security awareness training is cybersecurity education that employees understand to change user behavior to lessen the vulnerabilities of user risk.
One report revealed that 95% of British users couldn’t reliably identify phishing attacks. This lack of security awareness from users may be detrimental to companies left vulnerable to data breaches that could cost them thousands or even millions.
Security awareness training provides the crucial resources users need. These resources show examples of attacks and educate users on responding to and reporting suspicious activity properly.
What Are the Threats Training Solutions Prepare Users For?
You may be familiar with the concept of security breaches, but what kind of cyber attacks could be enacted due to user error on the employee end?
You may be surprised by just how prevalent these kinds of attacks are.
Data shows that attacks are up, and phishing attacks are the top culprit. Phishing directly targets users. This is why cybersecurity education that shares best practices with organizations is required.
Here are some common forms of attack that criminals create that your employees can combat:
Phishing is the most common attack and is also incredibly successful for hackers. This method is used to trick victims into revealing sensitive information.
This could be information about customers, company information, or an employee’s authorization details. As these attacks only improve, it’s getting harder to identify phishing.
Removable media are physical storage tools like USB drives or CDs. Most companies now use the cloud, but removable media isn’t fully extinct.
A cyber security network can’t always protect itself from removable media, so training must address how to handle removable media practices.
Employees often set their own passwords. But if the password is too easy to guess, it’s like leaving the door open to hackers. Part of a security awareness training program should always include learning how to create the toughest to guess passwords.
Keeping Physical Resources Safe
While cybersecurity services typically focus on digital hackers, physical attacks can be just as dangerous though perhaps less common.
If employees keep passwords written down in plain sight at their desk, which isn’t in line with best practices.
Mobile Device Hacking
Many employees now want to be able to access work data while on the go, whether they’re getting tasks done after work or meeting with clients in a coffee shop.
However, mobile devices are susceptible to attacks, and personal devices with access to company data must be protected.
Remote Work Environments
The number of employees going remote is increasing and is only expected to rise further. Services can now easily be done from home, but that doesn’t mean everything is just as safe away from the office.
Luckily, with the proper support and security awareness training, team members can make their home offices just as safe.
Employees working on public Wi-Fi networks like in a coffee shop or co-working space are susceptible to attack. They must closely monitor their behavior to avoid problems from hackers on the public network.
Cloud services are similarly growing in popularity and seem likely to become the way of the future. However, that also means hackers could be one password away from sensitive information.
Use awareness training to ensure the cloud service is kept safe both from the provider’s end and your organization members.
Improper Social Media Use
Part of awareness training education is about training employee behavior even beyond the office. Considering the billions of people who use social media, your employees likely have a Facebook or Instagram account.
They must similarly protect their personal accounts to further ensure company safety. This may also extend to e-mail and internet use at home.
How Important Is Security Awareness Training?
Social engineering attacks like phishing and viruses can leave customers’ information vulnerable to breaches.
This could cost companies a lot of money in lawsuits, ransomware, and repairing systems. It could also mean a loss of trust from customers and less business.
If enrolling in a security awareness training program could save your company thousands of dollars in losses and revenue, who wouldn’t take that offer?
What Regulations Require Security Awareness Training?
In some cases, security awareness training programs aren’t only recommended but required for compliance according to general data protection regulation. Requirements differ based on both your business’s location and industry.
For example, Massachusetts law requires any company storing and handling personal information to undergo awareness training to protect users.
As for industries, HIPAA requires that healthcare providers protect patient data. As technology advances, the days of paper charts are going instinct, and healthcare providers rely almost entirely on digital files, making security awareness training integral to patient security.
Similarly, federal regulations also require federal employees to take security awareness training. Before you start security awareness training, ensure that the security awareness program meets any other regulations relevant to your organization to ensure compliance.
Security Awareness Training Programs
So you know the importance of security awareness training, but how do you do security awareness?
While there are many resources out there to support you in training employees on how to be cyber heroes in the fight against cyber criminals, you don’t need to create a program on your own.
Professional security awareness experts create comprehensive training programs that share all the most important resources with your cohort in a way that’s easy to understand and prepares them for real-world threats.
Choosing a Security Awareness Training Program
You know your organization needs security awareness training to minimize human risk, but where do you start looking for this expert support?
Here are some tips for finding a program that will truly create a behavior change amongst your employees:
The Content Covers the Essentials
Before you consider any program, you must ensure that the security awareness training content will address the most critical threats.
The education provided by the training modules must be comprehensive to ensure that your company is secure.
Landing pages from the training company should contain information on what threats they prepare learners for.
Accessibility for All Employees
There are many levels of IT understanding in your company, and the training resources must account for these differences in ability.
If you want to see true behavior change, the training must help all employees understand.
Accessibility may include phishing simulations to provide users with a hands-on experience, but the platform should be simple to use for everyone.
Tracks User Success and Progress
If you don’t have a report of progress to identify if behavior change is likely, you can’t account for how successful your security training truly was in your cybersecurity evaluations.
This is why a data-driven approach is a must. Phishing tests, for example, should be provided and measure click rates after security training to assess the likelihood of success against real-world attacks.
Suits Your Organization Needs
First, you must determine what level of education is required to remain in compliance with regulations.
Then, consider what security awareness training content is necessary to improve your cyber security culture and change behavior based on your current systems.
Whether this means emphasizing phishing tests or remote work security, that’s up to you.
Engaging and Informative
When providing compliance training content, don’t assume your employees understand the high level of threats they’re facing.
Only use security awareness training systems that emphasize both education and engagement. Phishing simulations are an excellent, hands-on way to engage employees and ensure learning during security awareness training.
Strengthen Your Company and Team with Security Awareness Training
For any organization to remain safe, there must be a strong cyber security culture. And the best way to achieve this is with a security awareness training service from experts such as the good folks over at knowbe4 training.
This will provide your employees with the support they need to keep your business secure, no matter what comes next.