What Is Cyber Security Awareness Training and Why Is It Important

Technology Solutions

Although having cyber security measures in place is useful, this doesn’t mean that cyber security awareness training for your organisation is no longer needed.

If for some reason measures, procedures, or policies fail, you need your entire team to have a solid understanding of what it means to be prepared for an attack and prevent one in any way they can.

This is where cyber security awareness training can help as implementing a programme or hiring a company to conduct training for you ensures that all educational content is covered and your teams know the procedures for each and every possible attack.

In this post, we will be highlighting the importance of cyber security awareness training, what should be included, and how to ensure all of your employees get the most out of the training programme.

So, let’s get going.

What Is Cyber Security Awareness Training?

Cyber security awareness training is the formal process for educating organisations on how to protect company data, devices, and overall networks.

This training should address the risk of human error which is involved in a large amount of data breaches and cyber security attacks.

Cyber security training educates employees on the range of threats they may encounter as well as how to track and plug gaps within their organisation’s network.

Ultimately, providing training for employees can help teams to recognise threats past and present, and understand how to respond in the most proactive way possible.

Cyber security awareness training should be an ongoing process throughout the company year in order to keep teams up to date on threats that will arise and keep minds fresh on best security practices.

Why Is Cyber Security Awareness Training Important?

Whether your organisation is large, or a start-up, training is important across the board in order to mitigate the role human error can play.

For example, handing over credentials, leaking information, or changing access controls can all be carried out by employees and can pose a huge risk to companies.

A large percentage of cyber security attacks involve human error, therefore training employees is a vital step to prevent risks from infiltrating your organisation’s network.

Often cyber attacks can financially ruin a business or be detrimental to its reputation, and this can affect the longevity and future success of a company.

Therefore, providing a solid cyber security awareness training programme for your organisation is a step in the right direction to avoid risks of all shapes and sizes.

employees on computers

What should Cyber Security Awareness Training Include?

Depending on the size and scale of your organisation your training programme will likely differ, however, it’s important to provide a variety of learning methods to suit every team and the individual employee.

Additionally, it’s essential to provide both educational and interactive training content and activities to ensure employees can put their knowledge into practice.

This will help them to better prepare for the event of a real attack and give them the correct knowledge and skills to combat hackers and protect company data.

Below we have outlined some of the main things to consider when putting together a cyber security awareness training programme, or what to look out for when hiring an external team to run your training for you.
Educational Content
All training should be based on educational content and it’s no different for cyber security awareness training.

When training an organisation there are various topics you can include based on your company’s cyber security goals, such as:

  • Phishing attacks
  • Passwords and authentication
  • Mobile security
  • Working remotely
  • Public networks and wifi
  • Cloud security
  • Social media use
  • Internet and email use
  • Social engineering attacks
  • Internal and external threats
  • Ransomware attacks

The list is not exhaustive and there are a variety of other topics to cover however these are some of the most common when it comes to improving the understanding of cyber security threats and more importantly how to prevent them.

These topics should be covered through a range of written materials and interactive online learning, as this way all employees can access cyber security training in the way that works best for them.

It may be that senior members of your organisation prefer to watch a presentation and answer test questions, or instead, they prefer watching educational video content and putting this knowledge into practice in an interactive gaming experience.

Therefore, it’s important to provide a range of learning methods to ensure all team members are confident in every aspect of cyber security awareness.

table with laptops

Knowledge Tailored to All Employees

The content you are providing should equally be available for all levels of staff so that senior and junior members of staff have access to the right content based on their role.

For example, senior team members will likely have higher access levels to confidential files, so the training for this group should be more focused on passwords, authentication, and internal attacks.

Whereas for junior team members, there should be an emphasis on more common threats such as Phishing and Ransomware attacks, and how to recognise and prevent them.

All team members within your organisation should be confident in all areas of cyber security however due to the sheer amount of content it’s important to focus on knowledge specific to roles to begin with.

Follow-up and Ongoing Messaging

Once you have conducted cyber security awareness training, it is good practice to ensure workers always receive refresher training so they are clear on the policies and procedures in place in your company.

In order to do this you can deliver shorter training sessions regularly throughout the year on how to identify risks and handle problems if and when they occur.

Equally, these refresher training sessions give you ample opportunity to alert the entire organisation of any emerging threats that may be on the rise or have recently affected other organisations.

Experiential Sessions

To test your team’s knowledge of the content they have learnt through the educational sessions and activities, it’s a good idea to provide experiential sessions.

These sessions can be in the form of games or interactive sessions where participants are required to work through simulations and scenarios to protect company data.

This will not only test employees’ understanding, but it will reinforce the severity of online dangers and the real threats to your organisation.

These experiential sessions help to reinforce the educational side of training in realistic simulated situations.

Sessions with Industry Leaders and Experts

To solidify employee learning, and if possible, inviting industry experts into your organisation to provide cyber security presentations can be a useful addition to your training programme.

Those who have dedicated their career to the cyber security industry, and skilled professionals willing to teach employees are the experts you should contact to lead workshops or present research or educational content.

This will help to promote best practices and help your organisation to become better prepared against attacks that are up to date with the current cyber climate.

woman playing cyber war games

How to Get the Most out of Your Cyber Security Training

In order to ensure your teams receive proper training and understand how to use what they have learnt in practice it’s important to continue training once the initial programme is complete.

This can be done by providing refresher training, using interactive training games that can be reused throughout the year, and spacing out learning so your employees aren’t overloaded with information all at once.

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

Repeating training doesn’t have to be monotonous but instead can provide different ways of retaining the information learned.

Creating a sustained and easily adaptable training programme helps to ensure team members are regularly refreshed on the most important cyber security awareness information.

Interactive Training Games

As we have mentioned above interactive training games are an effective method of training as they allow teams to be immersed in scenarios involving cyber attacks.

This type of experiential learning will help staff on all levels to learn as it provides interactivity and engagement that studying educational content alone doesn’t.

At TLR we have a mixture of training programmes including cyber war games and security training boot camps, and this blend can help improve information retention as well as allow participants to put theory into practice.

Cyber war games are an example of interactive training games and the kinetic cyber experiences help to broaden participants’ technical knowledge in a fun and relatable way.

Space Out Learning

Another way to help retention of information in your organisation is to space out training programmes and refreshers throughout the entire working year.

Rather than signing your employees up to a two-day intensive course once a year, where they will likely miss or forget certain parts of the content, space out cyber security training into smaller sessions.

It’s a good idea to conduct a few morning or afternoon sessions that last a few hours every month or two, as this means you can refresh old information and provide up-to-date information on current cyber threats.

Equally, this means you aren’t leaving too large of a gap between sessions and it’s, therefore, less likely your teams will need to spend more time going over the old content.

What Is Cyber Security Awareness Training and Why Is It Important

In order to ensure your organisation is protected across the board, cyber security training is just as essential as a security architecture and incident response policy.

Although your organisation is likely to have measures in place for when an attack may occur, training your teams can help to ensure if systems go down and your measures don’t respond, your workforce knows exactly what to do.

Whether you choose to focus on educational content through presentations and online tests, interactive learning through experiential sessions, or both, training should be an integral part of your cyber security strategy.

Alongside cyber war games, the training boot camps provided at TLR can offer an understanding of cyber security fundamentals at a range of different levels, providing baseline knowledge as well as deeper technical knowledge.

If you’re looking for the right training programme or activities to enhance the knowledge of your organisation and want to better prepare them for any cyber risks, get in touch with our team today!

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Written by

Dave Roberts