What Is Security Awareness Training?
Security awareness training is a form of education that seeks to equip members of an organization with the information they need to protect themselves and their organization’s assets from loss or harm. For the purposes of any security awareness training discussion, members of an organization include employees, temps, contractors, and anybody else who performs authorized functions online for an organization.
Organizations that must comply with industry regulations or frameworks such as PCI (Payment Card Initiative), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), the Sarbanes-Oxley reporting requirements, NIST or ISO usually deliver security awareness training to all employees once or perhaps twice a year.
And even though it may not be required by Small and Medium Enterprises for compliance reasons, they can also benefit from training their employees to avoid cyberheists through phishing attacks, account takeovers, or other well-known means that cybercriminals use to misappropriate company funds.
Why Security Awareness Training (SAT)?
To be aware, you need to be able to confront (face things as they are). SAT helps employees confront the fact that bad guys are trying to trick them. Once they confront that, they become aware and able to detect these scam emails and can take appropriate action like deleting the email or not clicking a link.
Cybercrime is moving at light speed. A few years ago, cybercriminals used to specialize in identity theft, but now they take over your organization’s network, hack into your bank accounts, and steal tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Organizations of every size and type are at risk. Are you the next cyber-heist victim? You really need a strong human firewall as your last line of defense.
Variety of Content
More than just formal training
When you think of security awareness training content, the first thing that comes to mind is probably traditional courses in an LMS. It’s so much more than that! Other examples include videos, games, blog, webinars, posters, messaging on swag, self-produced content, newsletters, email content, etc. Anything you can deliver that conveys your message and elicits some kind of thinking, engagement or reaction is considered content.
Make your content interesting and relevant to your uses
This is important when it comes to training because if content isn’t appealing to the audience it’s in front of, it doesn’t feel relevant to them and won’t stick with them. Relevance is key. The human mind learns through storytelling, security awareness training is no different. A story contains contextual information that a boring, written policy simply cannot. People learn in many different ways and naturally gravitate toward different types of content, so it makes sense that if you use a one-dimensional approach in training, you are going to lose a huge part of your audience. You want to come to the learner with content suited for them rather than try to make them learn in one certain way.
And don’t just add more content for the sake of having more content. A diverse portfolio of different types of content will get the message to resonate. Repetition is key for knowledge to stick, and you need to have variety to go along with a repetitive message. Showing the same exact course over and over isn’t going to make much of a difference. If you’re not sure where to begin, you’re not alone. Many vendors can provide recommendations and best practices. Start there and adjust over time according to what works for your environment.