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Best Practices for Employee Security Awareness Training

In a technology-driven world, security awareness training is a critical concern for any business. Simply put, security awareness training equips employees with important knowledge about cybersecurity as well as company policies. The basic idea of this training is to acquaint the employees with various security factors, both digital and physical and it is most effective when carried out as a continual, on-going process.

Every organization has their own distinctive training programs based on their diverse policies and IT usage. Having said that, there are a number elements that almost every security training program has in common. Let’s take a look at the best practices for your employee security awareness training that will best equip your staff to deal with these critical issues.

Take an All-In Approach

When it comes to cybersecurity, anyone can be a weak link. You cannot include or exclude individuals based on organizational structure or hierarchy. Therefore, organization-wide security awareness training including each and every employee is the best practice. The training’s should include all end users instead of a select few.

Although all employees should be included in the training, training sessions may need to be separated into different groups of employees. This is because the access levels could vary between employees in different departments or with different levels of responsibility. It is therefore imperative to customize the sessions for various roles to make them more relevant and specific.

Focus on the Biggest Risks

At the end of the day, the purpose of employee security awareness training is to better equip employees against any threat or attack on your IT infrastructure. Therefore it is important to focus training on the company’s greatest vulnerabilities.

To achieve this, it is vital to gather and analyse precise data about the key risks that the company is trying to avoid. How to manage these risks should then become the goals for the training. That is to say, the training sessions will seek to educate employees on how to avoid or minimize these risks. To that end, any organization’s security awareness training is fundamental to its policies. At the same time, it informs the employees on the behaviour expected of them at work.

Create Easily Digestible Pieces of Learning

While creating the training material, it is important to make it interesting. There is no point in speaking for hour after hour without the trainees listening to any of it. To better accomplish the goals of your training, you should break down the content into smaller sections. Long lectures and extended training sessions may have lots of useful information, but this is useless if no one is paying attention.

Instead, breaking down the content into smaller chunks is usually most beneficial. You can even make training sessions more interactive by calling up volunteers to role-play examples, such as for security threats like phishing or emails. Running simulation tests after demonstrating a potential threat will also help in capturing trainees’ attention.

Use Gamification Techniques

Research has shown how gamification can enhance user engagement in literally any sphere. Be it a classroom or a workspace training session, gamifying it will raise the trainee’s motivation exponentially and make the training more effective.

This is particularly applicable to security awareness training. For example, you can create a training leader board which ranks employees based on their scores in the training assessments. This gives them motivation to pay greater attention to the training sessions. Adding some incentives can also be effective.

Create Relevant Assessments

Another good practice to follow for security awareness training is to create relevant assessments. Your training material should be closely reflected in the tests. Having tests that do not cover all major points of the training, or that introduce new concepts, are not an effective way of assessing or reinforcing this important training.

Assessments generally fall into two categories: simulation-based and question-based. Based on the cyber threat you are dealing with in the session, the type of test you choose should be relevant to the content. It should also be framed in a way that it can test the employees learning takeaways from the training. It is as important to design relevant assessments as it is to create the content for the training.

Summing Up

Employee security awareness training is a good way to educate your employees about cybersecurity risks as well as company policies. It gives you a critical opportunity to educate your employees on how to protect themselves and the company.

This training mainly covers different kinds of cybersecurity vulnerabilities and how to manage these risks. However, it is also a good opportunity to discuss the company’s values, culture, and policies to communicate to your employees the kind of behaviour you expected from them.

Although security awareness training programs should differ from one company to another depending on individual needs and requirements, the above-mentioned best practices are relevant to all. A focus on these core areas will let you make your training sessions more engaging, effective, and fruitful.

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