How to Put Together an Effective Security Awareness Training Program

How to Put Together an Effective Security Awareness Training Program

Less than half (45%) of organizations provide mandatory security awareness training for employees and only 10% of those that do provide it, hold it regularly. Yet employees are a major target when it comes to attacks on business networks.

Phishing remains the number one method to deploy malware, which enables data breaches and ransomware attacks. Phishing targets humans because they can be tricked and can make mistakes.

Just one sophisticated fake email that gets in front of a busy user can lure them into downloading a virus or malware that compromises your company network and results in a costly data breach.

As many as 84% of data breaches are the result of unintentional human error.

Because of the constant pressure on employees to avoid phishing coming at them via email, text, direct messages, and sometimes phone calls, it’s an important part of your cybersecurity defenses to provide your team with ongoing security awareness training.

If you’ve been struggling with how to approach cybersecurity awareness training, what to cover, and how to make it engaging, we have several tips below that can help you put together an effective program.

Tips for Training Your Team on Cybersecurity

There are several important ingredients that go into a good security awareness training program, and deciding which subjects to cover is just one of those components. You also need to decide how often to conduct training and how to keep it interesting, so your team retains the information.

Well-trained users help strengthen your overall cybersecurity posture and can reduce the risk of data privacy compliance violations and mistakes that end up resulting in a major data breach.

Here are some tips on creating an effective program to teach your team about cybersecurity awareness.

Decide on a Training Schedule

If you only train your employees once, when they’re first hired, they’re going to be ill equipped to deal with new forms of phishing that may have come along after they went through training.

Additionally, if you don’t conduct ongoing security awareness training, then your employees won’t see IT security as a high priority, because your organization isn’t reflecting that it is.

Ongoing training, no less than once a year and preferably more often, is best to ensure your team stays sharp when it comes to spotting phishing attacks and new scams coming into their inboxes. Quarterly or every 6 months are good frequencies to shoot for.

Choose Both Core & Special Topics

There are certain core topics that you need to cover in every cybersecurity training session because they’re so prevalent. These include things like:

  • Phishing attacks and how to spot them
  • Proper handling of sensitive company and customer data
  • Safe internet habits (web browsing, public Wi-Fi)
  • Password security
  • Physical security of their computer and mobile devices
  • Steps to take if they’ve downloaded malware

You can keep training fresh by also adding new topics in the mix from time to time that might not be covered in every training session but are still important. Some special topics to cover might be:

  • Phone scams
  • Device security when traveling
  • Social media privacy settings

Use Freely Available Resources

There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel when you start a security awareness training program. There are plenty of freely available resources out there that you can draw from for structuring your training.

A few resources for employee IT security training include:

Employ the Use of Video

Many users retain more information when material is taught visually rather than text only. Using video in your security awareness training can both keep users engaged and help them remember the information you’re providing.

The SecureWorld link above includes cybersecurity videos and there are also paid services like Ninjio that offer professionally done security training videos that are designed to be sent out to employees on a regular basis.

Keep Employees Up to Date on New Phishing Scams

Since phishing is the main cause of data breaches, it’s important to keep employees informed of the newest types of phishing threats. Criminals are always coming up with new ploys designed to trick employees into clicking on a malicious email, so it’s important to search on keywords like “newest phishing scams” to include them in your next training.

For example, one of the newer ploys is to try to steal Office 365 login credentials by sending what looks like an email for sharing a file with a legitimate OneDrive URL. But the file redirects the user to a fake Office 365 login form designed to steal their credentials.

If you keep employees updated on the newest tricks that phishing scammers are using, they’ll be better able to avoid them when they see them among their email messages.

Looking for Help Setting Up Security Awareness Training?

C Solutions can help your business set up and execute ongoing employee security awareness training that arms your team with the information they need to become one of your strongest defenses against a data breach.

Schedule a free consultation today to get started!  Call 407-536-8381 or reach us online.