Top 6 tips for a successful cybersecurity awareness training program

Top 6 tips for a successful cybersecurity awareness training program

As cyberattacks grow in prevalence and sophistication, it's becoming more difficult for employees to identify and manage them. This makes your workforce a risk to your cybersecurity. In fact, according to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, one-third of data breaches involved insider threats, or security risks that come from people within an organization.

To help your company stay on top of the latest cybersecurity threats and solutions, conducting cybersecurity awareness training can help.

What is cybersecurity awareness training?

Cybersecurity awareness training is the process of educating your entire workforce about various information security threats and your organization’s policies and methods for addressing and preventing them.

The goal of cybersecurity awareness training is to equip employees with the knowledge to combat today’s cyberthreats. They need to learn what the company considers risky or safe, what clues to look out for, and how to respond accordingly.

How to conduct an effective cybersecurity awareness training program

To ensure an effective training program, follow these best practices:

1. Evaluate your cyberthreat landscape
Evaluation is the first step in developing a comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training program. This can be done in several ways, but most companies use a phishing test or a company-wide cybersecurity awareness questionnaire. The data from these evaluation materials lends insight into how you can strengthen weak parts of your cybersecurity.

USWired offers a risk assessment service wherein we detect and study your systems’ vulnerabilities to both physical security threats and cyberthreats. We also make recommendations on how you can improve your business’s cybersecurity to reduce the risk of cyberattacks.

2. Ensure participation at every level
Cybersecurity awareness should be incorporated into an organization’s culture, practiced by everyone from the top to the bottom of the hierarchy.

Involving everyone regardless of position or seniority not only adds to the effectiveness of the cybersecurity awareness training, but it also boosts employee morale. It gives a clear message that cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. And by having C-level executives on board with the training, there should be very little to no resistance along the way in terms of participation.

3. Get creative
Your employees have grown tired of dry and boring PowerPoint presentations and one-size-fits-all training sessions. Although this is a common training method, it makes it challenging to track if employees are actually learning.

To pique the interest of your employees, personalize your training programs to their company role, knowledge level, and cybersecurity interest. When people can relate with your training modules, posters, newsletters, and emails, they will pay attention and your messages will resonate better.

You can also gamify your cybersecurity awareness training. For instance, you can have a “murder mystery”-inspired game where players need to determine what compromised the system and how they can prevent future cyberattacks. You can also try escape room games where players need to discuss topics such as malware, phishing, password security, and data breaches to get out of the room.

These team exercises encourage your employees to work together and use problem-solving skills to learn proper cybersecurity habits. By gamifying your training programs, you motivate your staff to do their part in your company’s cybersecurity efforts while having fun along the way.

4. Train and assess regularly
Cybersecurity awareness training shouldn’t just be a one-time event, but rather a continuous pursuit toward the prevention of data breaches. It also requires constant employee involvement. Here are some things you can try to ensure cybersecurity learning continues:

  • Conduct monthly cyberattack simulations to make sure that employees are remembering and applying what they’ve learned
  • Encourage employees to reflect on their cybersecurity actions (especially after a cyberattack simulation) ─ what they’ve done right and failed to do, and what they should improve on.
  • Regularly email a cybersecurity digest to employees containing tips, to-do lists, and relevant articles.

5. Create a baseline
To determine how well you’re achieving your cybersecurity awareness training goals, you need to have a clear idea of where you started. Baseline assessment scores can help you measure your progress. What are your current metrics regarding malware attacks? How often do you fall for phishing scams? If your baseline is five compromised clicks in a month, having it drop to two per month is a good indication that your training sessions are working.

6. Monitor consistently
You can use tools such as risk calculators to make analyses and gain deeper insights into your cybersecurity data. These can also track the people or groups who are most vulnerable to cyberattacks and generate training report cards. With such tools, monitoring your success rate and modifying your training to address concerns can be done more efficiently.

You can also partner with a managed IT services provider like USWired to complement your cybersecurity awareness training program. With our cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions, we can help your workforce stay safe online. To learn more about how we can keep your small business secure, download our FREE eBook today.


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