Thursday, August 29, 2019

How to Get Employees on Board With Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Your employees are your greatest asset – and your greatest security risk. According to a recent study, 84 percent of C-suite managers identify employee negligence as their biggest information security threat.

Enforcing a cybersecurity awareness training program is a necessary step to securing your IP and company data. But motivating your entire organization to care about cybersecurity and follow the rules is no easy feat.

In this blog, we’ll show you how to build a resilient cybersecurity awareness training program that promotes better security habits and reduces risk across your organization.

Who Needs Cybersecurity Awareness Training?

There's a common misconception that cybersecurity training only benefits IT professionals. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Your employees face an increasing number of threats in their email inboxes, networks and web browsers. Most cyber incidents stem from preventable oversights and a lack of cyber awareness. In fact, human error is responsible for 90 percent of data breaches.

Everyone in your organization handles company data daily and should be responsible for recognizing the signs of a security breach.

Cybersecurity awareness training should be a requirement for:

  • Board of directors
  • Management
  • Major shareholders
  • Partners in the supply chain
  • Governance, risk and compliance professionals
  • Product manufacturing and engineering
  • Internal and external legal counsel
  • Users with data access
  • All employees

Elements of a Successful Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program

The bottom line is simple: Nobody in your organization will care about data security, IP protection or privacy policies until you show them why it’s important, how it impacts their roles and what they can do to prevent cyberattacks.

A comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training program should educate employees on common threats they are likely to face in their daily jobs. The length and depth of your training program may vary depending on your industry and company size.

Your cyber resilience training program should cover these five four critical topics:

Phishing and Social Engineering

Social engineering and phishing attacks attempt to steal sensitive information through email, chat or other means. They’re successful because they’re disguised to look like they come from trustworthy sources, tricking users into divulging information or providing access.

Important training topics include:

  • How to identify and counter phishing scams

  • How to recognize social engineering

  • Risks of social engineering

  • Signs of suspicious or fake web pages and software

Access, Passwords and Network Connections

Many employees don’t realize the implications of insecure network connections and weak passwords.

Dedicate a section of your cybersecurity awareness training curriculum to train employees on basic aspects of the network, including access privileges, passwords and secure network connections.

Important training topics include:

  • Best practices for email and password security

  • Risks of weak passwords

  • Access privileges for various job roles

Device Security

In the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) era, more employees are using mobile devices to connect to the company network and access corporate data – creating more entry points for threats. It’s more important than ever for employees to understand mobile device protection and security best practices.

Important training topics include:

  • Mobile devices and BYOD security

  • Safe and proper use of mobile devices and tablets

  • Risks of insecure personal devices

Physical Security

Digital threats aren’t the only risks employees need to worry about. Physical security plays an equally important role in protecting your organization. Leaving a mobile device or computer logged in and unattended is a common mistake that puts sensitive information at risk.

Important training topics include:

  • Physical security best practices for devices

  • Guidelines for storing and properly discarding paper documents

  • Risks of leaving devices and sensitive documents unattended

Threat Reaction

Being aware of a security breach is crucial, but how you react to it is equally important. Stay ahead with a simple threat reaction plan that can be placed into effect immediately.

Important training topics include:

  • Assembling a threat reaction team

  • Determining the source

  • Containing the damage

  • Assessing the severity

  • Notifying those affected

8 Tips for a Successful Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program

It can be challenging to get end users on board with cybersecurity awareness training. Non-IT employees may not understand the seriousness of cyberthreats or feel like security isn’t their problem – which can make cybersecurity policies difficult to enforce.

Use these tips to create an interactive, impactful cyber awareness program that lays the groundwork for better security habits.

1. Get Buy-In from the Top

An effective cybersecurity awareness training program starts with sign-off from the top. When you present cybersecurity awareness training to the C-suite, use compelling statistics to show the financial consequences of a potential breach and demonstrate how strong cybersecurity is necessary for business growth.

Once you get management to see the value of cybersecurity awareness training, it’ll be easier to get line items approved for training resources.

2. Get Creative With Your Curriculum

If your training program consists of a four-hour lecture and PowerPoint slides, you’re probably setting yourself up for failure.

Practice interactive training techniques to keep users engaged and encourage information retention. For example, have your IT team conduct an internal phishing campaign to train employees on how to spot and report suspicious emails. You can also show users how to handle simulated incidents on their desktop, such as a DDoS attack.

Supplement interactive exercises with PowerPoints, documents, videos and in-person sessions. The more training styles you incorporate, the more likely employees will be to retain information and put their new skills into practice.

3. Start Cybersecurity Awareness Training During Onboarding

Start building the cybersecurity mindset from the time a new employee walks through the door. Make it clear to all new employees that they play a critical role in maintaining the company’s privacy and security.

Include cybersecurity policies and expectations in the onboarding paperwork. Schedule time for every new hire to sit down with an IT employee to set up passwords and security software on devices.

At the very minimum, every IT employee should be required to earn an entry-level cybersecurity certification during their onboarding process.

4. Keep Training Sessions Short, Focused and Frequent

If you hold once-a-year training sessions, that leaves 364 days where cybersecurity is the last thing on your employees’ minds. Infrequent training also spreads the misconception that security isn’t a top priority in everyday work.

Schedule monthly or quarterly training sessions and focus each session on a specific topic. Having frequent training sessions allows you to drill deeper into relevant issues and relieves the pressure to cover everything at once.

5. Update Your Program Frequently

The only thing worse than a dull cybersecurity training session is having to sit through it repeatedly, year after year.

New types of cyberthreats are constantly emerging. You should assess and update your cyber awareness program frequently – at least twice a year.

If you’re repurposing older materials, make sure to update your statistics, replace outdated examples and insert current references that will make your curriculum more relevant.

6. Measure Effectiveness

Presenting straightforward data is an effective and compelling way to show your employees how important cybersecurity awareness training is.

Come prepared with data showing how many data breaches have happened since the last training session and how many were resolved using knowledge from the training.

Using a mix of successful and failed cases is a good way to display what could have been done differently or what was done correctly.

7. Ensure Your Program Is Compliant

Do your regulation research before finalizing your cybersecurity awareness training for employees. Regulations such as HIPAA and PCI-DSS are common in many industries and can tack on additional requirements to your training program.

These regulations can create a more effective cybersecurity awareness training program overall and will keep your company on track.

8. Create Incentives

Reward employees who detect hacks and breaches with bonuses or recognition. Those who find malicious emails get rewarded, which may commit employees to cybersecurity awareness training for the long-term.

Finding fun ways to incorporate cybersecurity awareness into day-to-day activities isn’t easy, but it is unmistakably advantageous.

Cybersecurity Awareness Training for End Users

Supplementing your internal cybersecurity awareness training program with industry-leading training courses is the best way to provide your employees with the latest, most relevant security knowledge.

The following training course is designed to educate non-technical employees on the importance of cybersecurity and how it relates to every business sector.

CyberSAFE Extended Edition 2017

CyberSAFE (Securing Assets For End Users) is designed to help end users become more aware of technology-related risks and teach them what they can do to protect themselves and their organization. It’s geared toward users with all levels of computer experience.

The course teaches students how to:

  • Understand security compliance requirements and needs

  • Recognize and avoid different types of phishing and social engineering attacks

  • Recognize viruses, ransomware and other malware

  • Secure data on computers, mobile devices, networks and in the cloud

Continuous cybersecurity awareness training is the best way to reinforce security policies and reduce risk across your organization. As the world’s largest IT training company, New Horizons offers cybersecurity training courses for IT security professionals, end users and everyone in between.

Find the right cybersecurity training courses for your team today.


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