Humans are the first and last line of defense when it comes to information security. Technology streamlines work processes and reinforces office policies, but it’s only as effective as your employees are at following and understanding the rules. That’s why compliance regulations place a strong emphasis on the importance of security awareness training. If you need to hold a training event, there are a few key things to remember.
#1. Include everyone
Every organization should take an all-in approach that helps create a culture of accountability throughout the company, not just among company executives and IT staff. After all, it’s not like we’re born with a thorough understanding of things like phishing scams and malware. Data breaches most often occur at the hands of employees outside the IT department — those who have little or no idea how to identify targeted scams and avoid suspicious websites. Security is everyone’s responsibility.
#2. Don’t make it academic
Your employees don’t want to feel like they’re being sent back to school. All too often, cybersecurity training feels like a punishment, especially if it involves coming in to work on a day off without being paid. Rather than another meaningless certificate, security training is about changing your corporate culture and making employees accountable to one another. You shouldn’t just focus on the business necessity either — make it clear that training will help your employees in their professional and personal lives.
#3. Motivate your employees
Your team isn’t likely to learn a thing if they’re falling asleep at their desks. Gamification is one way to increase engagement since it creates a sense of achievement during the cybersecurity training process. By rewarding positive behaviors with recognition with points, ranks, or badges, you can make the experience enjoyable and motivational. For example, you might assign a point to every phishing email reported. This also helps to make the training more relevant to everyday events, as well as part of the working routine.
#4. Make it a continual process
A few years ago, few people outside of the IT industry had ever heard of ransomware, and then along came global attacks like Petya and WannaCry. The fact is that major cyberattacks like zero-day malware and targeted social engineering scams invariably take victims by surprise. They aren’t prepared simply because they aren’t informed. Having an outdated knowledge of information security is almost as bad as not having any knowledge on the subject at all. Security training must be an ongoing process that focuses heavily on current trends and threat vectors.
#5. Conduct simulation exercises
If your employees can’t relate what you’re teaching them to real-world scenarios, then your training program isn’t likely to be effective or engaging. With simulated phishing attacks and questionnaires, you can make a clearer link between the trainings and the scenarios your employees are most likely to encounter. You can also make gamification an integral part of your simulation exercises to increase engagement and encourage staff to participate in future training sessions.
#6. Track performance
Just like the technology around it, cybersecurity is constantly evolving, which is why you need consistent tracking and reporting to improve your strategy. With a combination of simulated exercises and points-based gamification, your training program will gather a great deal of data over time. You’ll be able to refer to this data to gain insights into various questions, such as what the most effective and dangerous scams are, and which employees are lagging behind in their training sessions. Tracking and reporting measures should always be an integral part of the process since they translate into actionable business intelligence.
Capstone can help you implement an Employee Security Training program that is inexpensive and evergreen. Every time a new employee joins your organization, send them to the online training portal. The tool is easy to manage and the best part is that you can cross this initiative to train your employees off your list.