Strengthening Cybersecurity Awareness: 10 Employee Training Tips
In this article, ten professionals, including CEOs and Cybersecurity Experts, share their top methods for training employees to be more vigilant about cybersecurity. From making cybersecurity fun and real to conducting engaging cybersecurity awareness sessions, these insights offer a comprehensive guide to protecting your company from potential cyber threats.
- Make Cybersecurity Fun and Real
- Implement Cybersecurity Simulations
- Teach Micro-learnings After Failed Phishing Attempts
- Incorporate Cybersecurity in Weekly Meetings
- Invite External Speakers with Hacking Experience
- Use Interactive Online Training Programs
- Hold a Role Reversal for Employees as Hackers
- Adopt Password-Management Systems
- Foster Reporting Culture and Continuous Learning
- Conduct Engaging Cybersecurity Awareness Sessions
Make Cybersecurity Fun and Real
Make it fun, but real. Share stories of mistakes people have made. Have them listen to Darknet Diaries. Start a personal cybersecurity group. If you want your employees to be more vigilant, they need to be constantly reminded. It is not a part of most people’s jobs to think about cybersecurity. If you make it interesting, it will help them think about it more.
Implement Cybersecurity Simulations
One of the most impactful methods we’ve implemented in our agency is cybersecurity simulations. These are real-world, scenario-based training exercises where employees encounter simulated phishing emails, fake ransomware attacks, or other cyber threats in a controlled environment.
The beauty of this approach is that it moves beyond theoretical learning and puts employees in the thick of potential threats. If they fall for a simulated attack, immediate feedback is provided, educating them on what went wrong and how to respond correctly in the future. This experiential learning is more memorable and effective than traditional, lecture-based training.
Post-simulation analytics can pinpoint areas where the team is most vulnerable, allowing us to tailor further training to address specific weaknesses. Over time, we’ve witnessed a significant reduction in susceptibility to actual phishing attempts and a heightened sense of cyber vigilance among our staff.
Teach Micro-learnings After Failed Phishing Attempts
Micro-learnings follow failed phishing attempts. Doing a few big courses yearly to keep your cybersecurity scores up is of limited effectiveness. What works much better is running practical phishing simulations with your employees and then assigning the ones that failed a micro-learning that takes less than five minutes. Cybersecurity is best when it is kept top of mind, even if the actual content of the sessions isn’t as in-depth as the yearly longer format variety.
Incorporate Cybersecurity in Weekly Meetings
As a CEO and founder of a recruiting firm specializing in the equipment and industrial sector, it’s up to me to train my employees in cybersecurity. Dealing with sensitive information regularly—clients and candidates trust me to keep their personal information safe.
The most effective way to keep employees aware and alert is through regular monitoring. Threats change often: malware used to be a big concern, now it’s unsecured Wi-Fi and phishing schemes. Make cybersecurity part of your weekly meeting so that the risk is never forgotten. Ask questions and check in to be sure people are maintaining best practices. Complacency is a boon for hackers; due diligence is the only way to combat the natural inclination to let efforts slide.
Invite External Speakers with Hacking Experience
Bring in external speakers who can speak from the perspective of a hacker. One of the more effective cybersecurity trainings I’ve seen was a town hall where the company brought in a former cyber-criminal turned ethical hacker. He talked about how he managed to get through the security of companies just like theirs.
Hearing him talk about how much of it comes down to taking advantage of the human element by doing something as brazen as just walking in the front door with a delivery uniform, or calling around until he gets someone to start a screen share with him, was a sobering experience.
Use Interactive Online Training Programs
One effective method for training employees about cybersecurity is through interactive online training programs. These programs provide practical scenarios that mimic real-life cyber threats. Employees learn to identify and respond to potential risks, such as phishing emails or suspicious online activities.
This hands-on approach helps them understand the importance of cybersecurity and equips them with the necessary skills to protect the company from cyber threats.
Hold a Role Reversal for Employees as Hackers
Put your users in the shoes of a hacker. One of the more effective exercises I’ve seen has been to assign random users to try and get access to information they shouldn’t be allowed to access under controlled circumstances.
Give them a few tools and tips, and then let them try to figure it out. It works shockingly well because it illustrates just how easy it can be to let things slip or not follow internal cybersecurity procedures, allowing a hacker to gain access to sensitive data.
Adopt Password-Management Systems
In my experience, one effective tool I’ve found extremely helpful is LastPass. It’s a password-management system that not only helps in creating strong and unique passwords but also stores them securely. This eliminates the need for employees to remember multiple complex passwords, making it less likely they’ll opt for easier, less secure options. As a result, it strengthens our overall cybersecurity posture.
In addition to password management, LastPass has a feature that enhances security by notifying the administrator if someone else tries to access a tool or sheet. When an unauthorized attempt is made, the admin is alerted via email about the incident, including the location from where the access was attempted. This provides real-time, actionable insights that can help prevent potential data breaches, making LastPass a comprehensive tool in our cybersecurity arsenal.
Foster Reporting Culture and Continuous Learning
Regular cybersecurity workshops and training sessions are essential. These sessions should cover the latest cyber threats and attack techniques. Through hands-on simulations and real-world examples, employees can develop a better understanding of potential risks. This knowledge empowers them to identify and respond to threats promptly.
Moreover, fostering a culture of reporting suspicious activities is crucial. Employees should feel comfortable reporting any unusual incidents or potential threats they come across. Encourage open communication and provide clear reporting channels. This not only enhances vigilance but also enables a swift response to mitigate risks.
Finally, providing employees with access to up-to-date resources is vital. Cyber threats constantly evolve, so it’s essential to offer educational materials and guidelines that reflect the latest trends and best practices. This ensures that employees stay well-informed and equipped to tackle emerging threats effectively.
Conduct Engaging Cybersecurity Awareness Sessions
One effective method for training employees to become more vigilant about cybersecurity is to conduct regular and engaging cybersecurity awareness training sessions. These sessions can include simulated phishing exercises, interactive modules, and real-world examples of cyber threats.
Additionally, organizations can use gamified training platforms that make learning about cybersecurity engaging and fun. Continuous reinforcement through reminders, newsletters, and periodic assessments helps employees stay informed and vigilant.
This approach not only educates employees about potential threats but also empowers them to recognize and report suspicious activities, making them valuable assets in the company’s defense against cyber threats.
Edlyn Collanto, B2B Marketing Research Specialist, UpCity
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