Health and Safety

Security Awareness Training For Your Teams

Security awareness training is the method used to inform and educate the teams within your business on the importance of cyber security and is a key part of risk reduction for your company.

The training should help to highlight the risks currently faced by businesses, how your employees can be involved in incidents, and the importance of their role in preventing cyber security incidents.

Why Security Awareness Training Is Important

The number of security incidents and data breaches which are recorded each year has been increasing.  The cost of the average data breach has also escalated to a 2023 average calculated to be $4.45 million.

The majority of cyber-attacks are not focused on a specific individual or organization, but instead target a wide range of businesses and individuals with a similar logic to that of a sales conversion rate.

Given a large number of messages sent, a small number will convert to a lead and a small number of leads will convert to sales.  Except in this scenario the sale is a compromised device or account.

Every employee within a business can be impacted by Phishing scams.  Multiple companies have reported that within days of new employees joining their company, Phishing emails start to be received.

Keeping your staff trained on the most recent emerging threats and having an induction process for all new employees which covers cyber security is therefore important for the ongoing protection of your staff and your business.

Improving Engagement With Security Training

A common issue with any security awareness training program, particularly one that is reused as part of a monthly, quarterly, or annual training program is that the content soon becomes dated and stale.

This is a concern for any business as it can quickly encourage staff to begin overlooking potential security issues and ignoring the recommended advice within a training program.

To prevent your training material from becoming tiresome and dull, it is important to actively make improvements throughout the year.

Varying the Content

If the same training material is used again and again, it can become tiring for both those required to deliver the training and those receiving regular training updates.

Old and Stale content can also have a negative impact on security as staff can become numb to the message and more lax with their attention to security.

Keeping the training continually updated and varied with how it is delivered and the content that is delivered can circumvent this, and help to improve your team’s knowledge and your company’s security.

Tailor The Content For Relevant Industries and Departments

A common issue that can occur with security training is for your employees to not see the relevance to them or the business.

It is a common opinion to think that “It won’t happen to me”, and “Why would anyone target me”.  However, it is reported that around half of businesses and a third of charities have reported their experience dealing with a security incident in 2023.

By customizing your training material to highlight ongoing security incidents that have impacted companies that work in a similar industry or of a similar size, you can emphasize the direct risk that is currently being faced.

Utilize News and Recent Reports

Many news articles are published with reported security incidents and data breaches, which are not solely focused on large corporations.

Statistics and analysis reports are also published throughout the year to highlight the risks that businesses are currently facing and the number of cyber attacks that are encountered.

Incorporating this real-world data into your training material can help to raise awareness to the direct threats that your business needs to protect itself against.

Incorporate Technology For Tests, Reports, and Statistics

Providing reading material and presenting information can be useful, but it is important to include active engagement with your training material to help the information stick.

Engaging your employees with short quizzes, and tests can encourage further engagement with other training material and get your teams to report potential incidents.

Maintain Open Communication and Accept Recommendations

Establish dedicated methods of communication through email, messaging groups, and other routes, which are for the sole purpose of reporting potential security issues.

Having these established communication methods encourages more reporting from your teams, and actively responding to reports provides positive feedback that the information provided is being acted upon.

Topics For your Security Awareness Training

Keeping your training content varied is important for engagement, but it is also necessary to cover the topics that are relevant to help improve your company’s security.

Some of the relevant information that your teams should consider which can have impacts on both personal and business accounts and devices include:

  • Security and Social Media
    • Data leaks have occurred through social media posts, with sensitive information included in images, client information disclosed in messages, and other disclosed data.
  • Password Security
    • A common issue that still occurs is the use of weak and reused passwords, with reuse occurring across personal and business accounts.
  • Remote Working
    • Personal devices are often incorporated into business use when working remotely. This can be laptops, phones, or storage devices.  Each of these can present risks, where the data is unmanaged, unencrypted, and could be lost, misplaced, or stolen when traveling.

Security Through Awareness Training

Many companies implement security measures to protect their devices and accounts, but their employees can sometimes be overlooked, despite the largest threat to many businesses being Phishing attacks targeting your staff.

Implementing a varied, topical, and informative security awareness training program can help to address one of the biggest causes of data breaches for many companies and improve the company’s overall security posture.