The aim of security awareness training is to educate employees on effective cybersecurity practices in order to mitigate potential security risks. This educational program equips personnel with the necessary tools and information to safeguard against security threats.
The security of your organization relies on the vulnerability of its weakest link, which is often its employees rather than its technology. Scams like phishing and business email compromise through social engineering target the trust and weaknesses of individuals.
Sophisticated email scams demonstrate the importance of security awareness training. Employees need the skills to combat cyber threats–especially the threats that slip past defenses.
Why Security Awareness Training is Important
Building a stronger cybersecurity system can be achieved through the education of employees on security awareness.
To safeguard a network effectively, it takes more than just implementing useful cybersecurity measures. Instilling positive habits in staff members has a significant impact on network protection. When a company has both security-trained personnel and a powerful network in place, it minimizes the chances of danger and maintains a secure environment for the organization.
To prevent cybercrime losses caused by social engineering, which are the biggest contributors, security awareness training is essential. These attacks circumvent conventional cybersecurity measures and capitalize on mistakes made by individuals. In addition, social engineering attacks can harm an organization’s reputation and unveil confidential information, not just cause financial damages.
As remote work has become more common, there is now a greater imperative to educate employees about security. Hackers have exploited vulnerabilities in remote setups to launch attacks, making it crucial for staff to receive training and safeguard both themselves and their company.
Training employees is a crucial measure towards ensuring security compliance.
How To Train Employees for Cybersecurity
The responsibility of teaching employees about cybersecurity best practices typically falls on the security team of an organization. This initiative ought to encompass the following elements:
An interactive demonstration of prevalent cyber assaults.
Conducting phishing simulations to educate staff on identifying such attacks.
Training that focuses on the dangers and risks that are specific to an organization or team, as well as on industry-specific topics.
The security awareness training offered differs among industries, as a healthcare organization is vulnerable to distinct risks than those facing a software enterprise. It is recommended to seek the assistance of a cybersecurity expert in developing a customized security awareness course for your staff.
Due to limited funds, smaller businesses may not have the luxury of employing a specialized security team or hiring cybersecurity professionals. However, they can utilize these resources to develop an affordable training program that focuses on enhancing security awareness.
Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0 of the Federal Communication Commission
The toolkit intended for small and midsize businesses in the C3 Voluntary Program by the Department of Homeland Security.
The Cyber Essentials Toolkit of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency should be rephrased as follows: The toolkit for Cyber Essentials by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
It is crucial to maintain updated security awareness training for your employees as cybersecurity is constantly evolving. Changes to company policies, procedures, and cyber threats necessitate periodic updates, with a recommended frequency of quarterly or more often, to ensure that cybersecurity protocols are continuously practiced.
What Does a Cybersecurity Awareness Training Program Teach?
Cybersecurity awareness training is usually aimed at educating employees on safe usage of computers, online communication, and networks. It not only highlights the significance of security awareness training but also enables employees to contribute to the cybersecurity defense mechanism. A security awareness training regimen may encompass the following components:
It is important to educate employees on strong password practices to prevent account takeovers and brute force attacks. Additionally, reminding them about company policies for password change frequency and implementing multi-factor authentication can strengthen account security against hacking attempts.
To ensure secure remote work, organizations should educate their remote staff on safeguarding their personal devices and networks. This includes tasks such as verifying the security of their WiFi networks and regularly updating antivirus software.
It is important for employees to familiarize themselves with various types of scams, such as social engineering attacks and phishing emails, and be able to identify warning signs in potentially harmful emails. Additionally, employees should be knowledgeable about the appropriate actions to take if they encounter a scam or receive a malicious email. Company policies pertaining to such situations should be communicated clearly to ensure that employees understand how to handle them.
Current cyber threats: Leaders should regularly update employees on potential cyber threats. This helps keep security awareness a priority for employees. For example, if a competitor recently suffered a data breach, you may want to share this with your employees to remind them of the consequences of not staying vigilant. Keeping employees informed will help them continue to practice cybersecurity protocols. Focus on your specific industry to make lessons more relevant and applicable.
Top Cybersecurity Training Tools for Employees
KnowBe4: Best Overall
According to Wall Street analysts, KnowBe4 is excelling in its field, bringing in an impressive $400 million in yearly revenue and forecasted to expand at an astonishing 78% annually for the following five years. Unlike other companies that concentrate on creating security applications, KnowBe4 puts its main emphasis on providing security awareness training. The company provides a comprehensive range of services, including baseline testing to assess an organization’s susceptibility to phishing, an extensive collection of stimulating network security awareness training material, automated training programs, simulated phishing exercises, and a system to track improvements in user behavior.
- Interactive browser-based training
- Skills-based and culture surveys focus on improving security culture
- Custom phishing templates and landing pages
- Employee engagement to report suspected phishing
- Comprehensive training library with fresh content
- AI-driven phishing and training recommendations
- USB test, vishing, and smishing included
KnowBe4 provides four different pricing levels based on the number of seats per year, which vary in cost and increase in features for security training. Additionally, three add-ons are available for purchase with any tier, and their prices are also determined by the number of seats in a class.
Proofpoint: Best For Customization
In 2019, Proofpoint obtained its security training technology from Wombat. Their Security Awareness Training is customized to suit the vulnerabilities, roles, and skills of an organization’s users, ensuring the right information is delivered to the right people at the right time. To create lasting changes in user behavior, Proofpoint presents this knowledge in bite-sized modules. Additionally, the company offers various security training options, including email security, threat protection, and cloud security tools.
- Consistent training around the globe with multi-language support
- Track progress with dynamic reporting and a results API
- Integration with Target Attack Protection (TAP)
- Detects Very Attacked People (VAPs) and Top Clickers in the organization, giving insight into the types of threats they’re receiving or engaging with
- ThreatSim Phishing Simulations to understand susceptibility to a variety of phishing attacks
- CyberStrength knowledge assessment tool assesses user vulnerabilities beyond email and USB drives, covering critical security issues such as the use of mobile devices, social engineering scams, passwords, and web browsing
Ninjio: Best For Multilingual Teams
Ninjio employs concise, animated videos tailored to sustain the focus of learners, all the while emphasizing the importance of cybersecurity. These videos have a duration of three to four minutes, and new ones are regularly produced on a monthly basis. Drawing from actual businesses that have experienced security breaches, the training encompasses various situations that staff may encounter and provides coping strategies. Furthermore, a competitive leaderboard has been incorporated in a game-like format to motivate participation and maintain employee interest. Feedback from users has been exceedingly affirmative.
- Hollywood-style storytelling for better connection and engagement
- Uses real-life examples
- New episodes each month
- Offers a private hosting portal
- Interactive quizzes in multiple languages
ESET: Best For Gamification
With ESET cybersecurity training, employees have the flexibility to learn at their own pace and revisit courses for a review. The training courses specifically target common cybersecurity challenges encountered by employees such as credential theft, phishing, and social engineering, instead of addressing all cybersecurity topics. Basic remote employee training is offered for free, but for features like an email reminder, gamification, and phishing simulator, an upgrade is required.
- Phishing simulator
- Takes less than 90 minutes to complete
- Over 30 years of research and in-house training experience
- Real-time reporting
There are two types of security awareness training available from ESET: a free 60-minute course that’s basic and a paid 90-minute premium course. The premium course includes added features such as gamification, a phishing simulator, and automatic email reminders. To train 10 workers, the premium course costs $250 and can be scaled up to $1,625 for 100 employees.
Cofense: Best For Phishing
Cofense PhishMe provides more than just employee education as it not only offers training but also detects phishing emails that evade email gateways, quickly analyzes them, and isolates them. Additionally, the company presents 12-month PhishMe Playbooks, which includes phishing simulation situations, landing pages, attachments, and learning material.
- A Smart Suggest capability uses algorithms and best practices to recommend scenarios based on current active threats, industry relevance, and program history
- Cofense Reporter provides detailed reporting on phishing patterns and results
- Cofense PhishMe Catalog has thousands of educational assets, including videos and infographics
- Automated responses to phishing attacks
- Includes technology to detect and catch phishing email attacks to prevent them from reaching users
Is Security Awareness Training Enough?
A solid cybersecurity system demands more than just skilled personnel; it necessitates a multi-layered strategy to avoid data breaches. Without the support of security systems, raising awareness of security-related matters is insufficient. Therefore, it is essential for institutions to not only educate their employees but also install solid technological barriers to safeguard their network.
Inbound emails are often used to launch cyber attacks, making email security a vital concern. To safeguard your workforce’s email accounts from harmful messages, implementing sophisticated email security solutions like Abnormal Security can be very effective. With their inbound email protection system, Abnormal Security can identify and intercept email security threats such as credential phishing.