Security awareness training plays a vital role in helping employees learn how to identify and prevent cyber-attacks. It is often seen as a “nice to have,” but a good training program is one of the most cost-effective ways there is to reduce information security risk.
But to be effective it is vital to get the participant’s buy-in and to feel like the training has value for them.
To gain support for your cybersecurity awareness program, employ these tactics:
Gain executive sponsorship
Lack of leadership support for your security awareness training program can have a significant impact on your ability to get the key messages across throughout the organisation.
If those at the management level openly endorse and promote the training, the rest of the staff are more likely to see the meetings as vital.
Without this endorsement, the sessions hold less urgency and may become just more messaging to ignore, or another set of meetings to endure.
Connect with the audience
Position your security awareness program as a fundamental component of achieving your business goals.
An effective way to connect program outcomes to achieving business goals is to use specific and relevant examples.
Suppose a key focus for your organisation is a high degree of service availability. This can be adversely affected by the introduction of malware, and a common vector for intrusion is a USB memory device. In this scenario, your staff can more easily identify how good habits with external media are relevant to their own work.
Articulate the inherent value, benefit, and time savings in a language that will resonate with the participants, demonstrating what’s in it for them if the program is successful.
Cautionary tales are often also effective in making an impression on an audience. With cyber intrusions now commonplace, most leaders can easily demonstrate how a business objective could have benefited from additional security or how an event could have been prevented by heightened awareness.
Make it engaging
If possible, try to avoid an entirely passive experience for your trainees.
While it makes sense to have some “watch & learn” components, you should ideally try to create a more varied experience to avoid your important messages “going in one ear and out the other”.
By utilising interactive elements, such as pop-quizzes or simulated attacks, and multi-media, such as graphics, videos, and so on, you will engage your participants far better and increase the likelihood that the lessons are learned.
Use professional resources
If you are not an expert in cyber-security and/or have little or no experience in delivering cyber awareness training, it is a good idea to make use of resources designed by those who are and do.
Gov.uk and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have a variety of online and free to download resources available, such as this online course that you can direct your staff towards and can be completed in around 30min’s.
The NCSC also offers industry-specific cyber-awareness guides and resources for some sectors, so you may find something perfect for your needs with a little browsing.
Another option is to employ a cyber awareness training service, such as industry-leader KnowBe4, that includes a range of pre-made training “sessions”, or allows you to create your own by selecting from a large selection of professionally created resources that can be filtered and searched to make finding what you need easy and quick.
A service like this has another big advantage in that it is primarily designed around the ability to deliver simulated attacks and to monitor and report on them. This is an ideal way to prepare for formal cyber awareness training as you will have detailed insights into how well your staff are able to spot and react to attacks prior to training and be able to select real-life examples of good and bad cyber awareness from their own responses to the simulated attacks.
Ready to take the first steps toward better cybersecurity?
If you would like to know more about Cyber Awareness Training or other IT managed services that can drastically reduce your cybersecurity risk, get in touch with us.