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Security Awareness Training for Employees

The human element in security is now well-established; the Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR) found that a human being was involved in 82% of data breaches.

Cybercriminals know that humans are fallible and at risk of accidents and psychological tricks. Therefore, hackers target employees. From phishing to social engineering, employees provide the ideal way for cybercriminals to steal login credentials and data, install malware and ransomware, and cause corporate damage.

Security awareness training for employees helps counteract human-centric cyber threats. Here, TitanHQ explains why training employees about security threats is so important.

What is Security Awareness Training for Employees?

Security awareness training is a way to give your staff the know-how and methods needed to protect themselves and your organization against cyber-attacks and accidental data exposure. Because so many cyber-attackers focus on manipulating, tricking, and socially engineering employees, empowering individuals with the knowledge to recognize a cyber-attack is vital in any organization’s cybersecurity strategy.

One of the outcomes of an effective security awareness training program is that employees become part of an integrated effort to prevent cyber-attacks. A concerted effort to stop threats before becoming cyber incidents helps forge a security culture. Once a security culture is established, security becomes a natural response, strengthened by a highly knowledgeable workforce.

Establishing this security culture requires a highly effective program of security awareness training.

Did You Know?

92% drop

in phishing susceptibility with SafeTitan

62%

of employees share passwords

$10.5 trillion

estimated global cybercrime cost

82%

of data breaches involved a human being

Topics Used in Security Awareness Training

Security covers a broad spectrum of threats. Developing an effective security awareness training program should cover all possible threats.

However, for even more effective training, an organization must tailor its program to reflect the level and type of cyber-attacks targeting the sector and type of employee. For example, local governments have experienced targeted attacks involving phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC).

In this case, training employees about how BEC scams work would be beneficial. General areas and topics that a successful security awareness program should contain include the following:

Phishing

Train employees about the tactics used in phishing, including the use of malicious links to steal login credentials and infected attachments that can install malware and ransomware.

A security awareness training program for employees should equip your staff with an understanding of how phishing works and what tactics are used to manipulate people into clicking malicious links or downloading infected attachments in emails.

Password Hygiene and Security

Research has shown that around 62% of employees shared passwords. Also, 70% reuse passwords and 64% of Fortune 500 employees use the same password for multiple accounts. Understanding the importance of other areas of security hygiene, such as locking devices when not in use, are also essential.

Cyber security awareness training will teach employees why sharing and reusing passwords is bad and leads to security incidents. The training will also teach employees how to create strong passwords and how to protect them.

Social Engineering

Social engineering plays a part in almost all cyber-attacks. Typically, employees are tricked in some manner, such as email phishing, on social media, or via phone calls, into handing over sensitive data such as login credentials.

In addition, some scams, such as BEC, use elaborate and targeted social engineering to manipulate specific employees, like accounts department staff, into paying fake invoices.

Social engineering is complicated and hard to spot; employees need to be taught about the types of cyber-attacks that use social engineering and how to recognize the signs of behavior manipulation.

Web Security

Safe internet use is an essential security requirement for safe working. Many employees use the internet throughout their working day and may need to download papers and other content from websites. This could put the company in danger of malware infection.

Security awareness training teaches employees the fundamentals of safe internet use and recognizing malicious websites.

Mobile Security

Employee mobile devices are a source of security threats. For example, SMShing is a mobile-based phishing threat that uses text messages or other mobile messaging platforms to send malicious links. Also, with BYOD, infected mobile apps can potentially infect the device and even the entire corporate network.

Security awareness training should include mobile device security issues.

At least one person in 86% of companies clicks on phishing links.

Seven Best Practices in Security Awareness Training for Employees

Using tried and tested best practices will increase training success and help develop a more effective security awareness training program. The following seven training tips should be used when choosing a third-party security awareness training solution and building your awareness program:

Behavior-driven Awareness

Every employee is different, and security awareness training should consider this. Behavior-driven security awareness solutions allow you to tailor your content and education program to suit the individual needs of each employee.

Learn using Real-time Intervention

Security awareness training should provide real-time feedback during training sessions. For example, if an employee shows risky behavior during training, the platform should be able to provide insight into why this behavior will lead to a security incident.

Make Security Awareness Fun and Interactive

Security awareness training should not be boring. Instead, a training solution should provide engaging, gamified, bitesize training content to keep employees engaged.

Roles-based Training

Cybercriminals often target specific organizational roles, for example, IT admins. Therefore, security awareness training content should be tailored to take role-based targeting into account; provide particular types of training, such as simulated phishing exercises that reflect real-life cyber threats.

Create Phishing Simulation Exercises Based on Real-life Scenarios

A recent Cisco threat trends report found that at least one person in 86% of companies clicks on phishing links. Some advanced security awareness training platforms like SafeTitan offer simulated phishing exercises. Simulated phishing attacks are used to send employees a controlled fake phishing email to test their response.

The phishing simulation email should reflect real-life phishing threats based on the roles of the employee recipient. For example, suppose an employee is likely to be a target for credential theft. In that case, i.e., an IT administrator, the fake phishing email should be configured to mock up a spear phishing email that links to a spoof website.

How Can SafeTitan Help with Security Awareness Training for Employees?

SafeTitan is a behavior-driven security awareness training platform designed to build a security culture. Some of the benefits of using SafeTitan to train your employees to detect and prevent cyber-attacks include the following:

Gamified Training: training content is interactive and fun, based on short and efficient testing. Testing takes around 8-10 minutes to ensure employee productivity is maintained.

Contextual Learning: feedback during a training session is essential for employees to give them the information needed to understand the impact of their actions.

Simulated Phishing: SafeTitan provides an advanced simulated phishing platform with thousands of ready-to-use templates. SafeTitan demonstrates a reduced staff susceptibility to phishing by up to 92%.

Real-time Metrics: an easy-to-understand dashboard provides insights into the effectiveness of a security awareness campaign.

Risk and Compliance Reporting: generates documentation demonstrating compliance with data security and privacy regulations.

Exceptional Support: SafeTitan can be delivered by either an MSP or directly; whichever method of delivery you choose to keep your company safe, TitanHQ offers outstanding support.

If you’d like to see how SafeTitan could empower your employees and secure your company, sign up for a free SafeTitan demo.

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J.P. Roe

J.P. Roe

  • SECURITY AWARENESS TRAINING

Talk to our Team today

Talk to our Team today

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Security Awareness Training?

Security awareness training is a company-wide employee education program covering all aspects of security. A typical training program includes: Phishing know-how; Simulated phishing exercises; Security hygiene awareness; Social engineering awareness; Web security; Mobile security.  Training is performed on a regular basis using interactive and gamified training content and simulated phishing messages.

How Often Should you Conduct Security Awareness Training Programs?

A USENIX study explored how often security awareness training should be performed. The study found that initial training typically lasted for four months but that employees could not spot phishing emails after six months. Therefore, you should carry out training at least once every six months.

What Should Security Awareness Training Include?

For an effective security awareness training program, you should cover the following areas in your training materials and sessions: Phishing training, including real-time intervention to educate employees on risky behavior; Security hygiene, including password strength, clean desk policy, and the risks of accidental data exposure; Web security and safe internet use; Mobile security and safe app use; Social engineering awareness.

What are Some Security Awareness Training Best Practices?

Best practices that make security awareness training more effective include: Rules-based tailored training content and phishing exercises; Behavior-driven training sessions; Metrics and insights; Contextual, real-time intervention; Open door incident response; Accessible vendor support as required; Encouragement from management and the board to show company-wide commitment to security.

How Do you Raise Awareness of Cybersecurity?

Raising awareness of security is an ongoing task. Security awareness training is designed to teach employees about their work areas that put themselves and the company at risk. Security awareness includes accidental and malicious events that can lead to cyberattacks and data exposure. Raising awareness about security should be a company-wide initiative that builds a security culture where employees have a deep understanding of the role they play in helping keep the company safe and data secure.

How Much Does a Security Awareness Training Program Cost?

The price of a security awareness training program varies depending on the level of awareness training and the inclusion of advanced components such as simulated phishing exercises; as a guide, SafeTitan pricing tiers start at $1.08 per user per month.

What is the Main Purpose of Security Awareness Training?

The main reason to train employees about security is to inform them of their part in securing a company and to teach positive security actions to help protect employees and the organization. Security awareness training works alongside and augments technological security measures such as email filtering and data loss prevention (DLP).

What are the Most Important Security Awareness Training Topics?

Tach and train employees on the following security topics: Educate employees about all the possible types of phishing; Teach employees to identify possible social engineering attacks; Explain how complex scams such as Business Email Compromise (BEC) work and test employee knowledge on scam tactics; Internet safety is a core topic to ensure employees know how to identify malicious websites; Mobile device security and safe app installation and use; Security hygiene and accidental data exposure.