5 Ways to Educate Your Employees on Security Awareness

With the increasing threat of cybersecurity, organizations need to undertake regular security training and audits to remain secure. All employees, from the top-level senior management to entry-level teams, need to undergo regular security awareness training.

According to the 2016 IBM Cost of Data Breach report, the average cost of an individual security breach is $4 million. Is your organization adequately prepared for potential cyber threats?

The best way to mitigate organizational cybersecurity threats is by engaging employees in all matters of security. This means educating them on security threats and how to prevent them.

Below are five proactive ways of educating employees about cybersecurity threats.

  • Find Out What Employees Know

A good security awareness program should be based on the requirements of your organization. Before drafting any training, find out how much your company is prepared for cyber threats. For example, you can initiate an internal phishing attack to find out how employees will respond. This experiment will provide an overview of how prepared your team is to handle external cyber threats.

From the results of the internal tests, you can tailor the organization’s security training based on how much your employees know and how well they tried to handle the simulated cyber threat.

Another option is to use quizzes or polls to find out the areas that employees would like to be covered in the security awareness training. To get a more accurate picture of how much your employees know about security, make the poll answers anonymous.

  • Carry Out Training Beyond Traditional Online Training

Cybersecurity awareness training should be tailored to the needs of your organization. The key to successful training is to make it easier for all staff members to understand how cyber threats work and how they can be mitigated. This may mean splitting your training sessions into small sessions covering specific topics.

Employees may grumble about attending multiple security training sessions. However, given the potential multiple security threats organizations are increasingly facing, there should be no compromise in preparing employees for breaches.

Make each training short and follow up with multiple-choice questions to gauge the employees’ understanding of the issues covered.

  • Implement Interactive Training

Training sessions that consist of nothing, but lectures and presentation slides are boring. Security awareness training should not be just another routine training for your organization. The training is critical to the data security of your company, which can have economic and legal repercussions.

Come up with interactive training sessions to keep employees engaged and help them retain the information presented. For example, use role plays, visual teaching aids and relatable examples to teach about cybersecurity.

Encourage note taking, provide interactive self-study DVDs and even develop an online interactive cybersecurity training course that employees can go through regularly. These initiatives will make it easier for employees to understand cybersecurity threats.

  • Carry Out Ongoing Training

Cybersecurity security awareness training should be an ongoing effort. With cyber threats evolving every day, it is critical for employees to keep abreast of the best data security storage, access, and management practices.

Ongoing training does not mean weekly lectures. There are different creative ways in which you can train employees about security awareness. For example, you can send weekly emails to employees on specific cyber threats and how they can be mitigated. These emails can be informal and edgy to make employees want to read them.

Even better, you can encourage adoption of best security practices by initiating regular competitions to test the employees’ understanding of the training offered. For example, how about having a “Security Awareness Employee of the Week Award” where one of your employees can win a prize for correctly answering a question based on your security emails?

  • Create a Security-First Culture

Creating a security-first culture in your organization can help to mitigate potential cyber threats. Implement an employees’ security policy in the workplace. The policy should be used in the day to day running of the organization. C-suite leaders should take the leading role in adoption of security policy and encourage employees at all levels of the organization to follow suit.

Employees should be aware of the security hierarchy of the organization. For example, it should be clear what level of security clearance is required to obtain certain information. The persons in charge of the various security levels should also be known.

Creating a culture of awareness makes it easy for employees to recognize security threats and, hence, keep the organization safe. When security policies are outlined in a dense document, employees may not see their benefits. However, when the policies are adopted in the daily firm operations, their benefits will be apparent, and employees are more likely to stick to them.

The above are five ways in which you can educate your employees about data security awareness.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.