How to successfully conduct an effective cybersecurity awareness training program

How to successfully conduct an effective cybersecurity awareness training program

Many people believe that high-profile cybercriminals typically cause data breaches. However, the reality is that the culprit is closer than you think. According to the 2020 Cost of Insider Threats report by the Ponemon Institute, negligent employees are responsible for 62% of all data breaches. To mitigate this risk, it’s imperative to conduct regular cybersecurity awareness training programs.

What is cybersecurity awareness training?

Cybersecurity awareness training educates your employees on common security issues and your company’s methods and policies for preventing and addressing these.

A workforce that is well-trained in cybersecurity poses fewer risks to the overall security of your IT infrastructure. This also means your business is less likely to suffer from financial losses and reputational damage due to cyberattacks.

A workforce that is well-trained in cybersecurity poses fewer risks to the overall security of your IT infrastructure.

How to conduct a successful cybersecurity awareness training program

To conduct an effective cybersecurity training program for your business, follow these best practices:

1. Assess your current cybersecurity awareness landscape

This is usually done by having employees answer cybersecurity awareness surveys. The data gathered from these provides helpful information on what parts of your cybersecurity initiatives are lacking and how you can strengthen them.

2. Ensure everyone’s participation

Cybersecurity best practices should be observed by everyone from the top to the bottom of the corporate hierarchy. Having everyone in the company participate regardless of position or seniority not only makes cybersecurity awareness training more effective, but it also improves morale. Doing so also sends the message that cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility.

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3. Communicate clearly

Your employees must always be informed of the goals and execution methods of your cybersecurity awareness training. Before implementing the program, conduct a short meeting or send an email to explain the training’s importance and what your employees should expect.

4. Make it fun

Your employees will quickly tune out to dull or fear-driven presentations. Capture their interest by personalizing your cybersecurity training programs according to their roles, interests, and knowledge levels. When your workers can relate with the material used, your messages will resonate better.

It’s also a good idea to gamify your training to motivate your employees to do their part in strengthening your company’s cybersecurity efforts while having fun along the way. Here are some ideas you can try:

  • Cyberattack simulations: Send out a fake phishing email to all employees and see who falls for it. Or stage a malware attack to see if your employees are quick enough to prevent their systems from getting infected. Reward those who passed, and provide a remedial course to those who struggled.
  • Escape room games: Participants need to discuss cybersecurity topics such as phishing, malware, data breaches, and other threats to get out of a room.
  • Murder mystery-inspired games: Participants need to determine what caused a data breach and how they can prevent future cyberattacks.
  • Cyber awareness challenge: In this game designed by the US Department of Defense, participants need to stop future security incidents from happening by promoting awareness of the impact of current cybersecurity issues.

5. Train regularly

Your cybersecurity awareness training program should be conducted regularly as this empowers employees with the latest knowledge to mitigate cyberthreats. Here are some things you can do to ensure continuous cybersecurity learning within your workforce:

  • Regularly send a cybersecurity newsletter to employees containing tips, things to remember, and relevant articles.
  • Conduct cyberattack simulations monthly to test your employees’ cybersecurity skills and see if they are applying what they have learned.
  • Encourage your employees to always examine their cybersecurity actions to see what they have done right and what they should improve on.

6. Measure its effectiveness

You can measure the effectiveness of your cybersecurity awareness training program using the following metrics:

  • Training statistics: These involve pass/fail rates, training duration, and percentage of employees who have completed their training.
  • Participant satisfaction: These include the percentage of satisfied employees, the accessibility of materials, and overall content appeal.
  • Real world effects: These refer to the actual benefits of investing in the training. For example, if you’re getting fewer malware infection reports than before your business conducted cybersecurity awareness training, it means that your program is achieving its desired effect.
  • Subjective indicators: These help you assess general reception of your cybersecurity awareness training program. They include employee comments, security perception, and informal discussions, among others.

Need a hand in conducting your cybersecurity awareness training programs? Complete Document Solutions can help. We will help your employees learn cybersecurity best practices while ensuring that your IT infrastructure is always running optimally. If your business is in Torrance, Los Angeles, or Long Beach, drop us a line today.

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