Ways to Develop a Cybersecurity Training Program for Employees

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Cybersecurity experts would have you believe that your organization’s employees have a crucial role in bolstering or damaging your company’s security initiatives.

While you may disagree, data breach studies show that employees and negligence are the most typical causes of security breaches, yet these prevalent issues are least discussed.

According to a recent industry report from Shred-It, an information security provider, 47% of top business executives believe that employee error, such as the inadvertent loss of a device or document, has resulted in a data breach within their company. According to another study by CybSafe, human errors have been responsible for over 90% of data breaches in 2020.

It’s no secret that companies of all sizes increasingly feel the sting of cybercriminals exploiting vulnerabilities in remote and hybrid working environments. However, little to no effort is made toward strengthening defenses. Now is the moment to train your personnel on security best practices, if you haven’t already.

As a result of inadequate security measures, customers have long suffered the most. However, the stakes for employees and their businesses are higher than ever this year. Experian predicts 2022 will be a hangover from the “cyberdemic” of 2021, making it crucial to stay ahead by designing a cybersecurity training program for employees and strengthening defenses.

Developing a cybersecurity training program requires knowing where the blind spots are. While there are numerous approaches to promoting a more cyber secure workplace, here are the most common and effective ways:

  • Trick Employees via a Phishing Campaign

You can test your employees’ ability to distinguish authentic email content from fraudulent attachments by mass spear-phishing them. Employees who fall for the phishing email are the ones you need to be extra careful about.

They might be the ones that eventually end up disclosing a company’s valuable digital assets. Once you have the data, you may measure the entire risk to your network and build remedies from there using custom reporting metrics.

  • Customize Your Security Training

All employees, irrespective of their designation or job role, should be a part of the security training. However, employees who fell for the spear-phishing campaign are the ones you need to observe and invest your security training into.

When delivering cybersecurity training, stress the importance of the training as an exercise that can also be applied elsewhere. Employees will be more inclined to utilize secure procedures at work if they do so at home on their computers and phones.

  • Incentivize the Security Training

Nothing motivates an employee more than being rewarded for their performance. Set up metrics and determine the level of participation, enthusiasm, and cybersecurity knowledge an employee obtains via quizzes or cross-questions. Employees who follow best practices should be rewarded, and others should be encouraged to improve their cybersecurity habits.

  • Cover Cybersecurity Topics

Engage your employees by introducing cybersecurity topics and certifications. Employees new to the cybersecurity realm would greatly benefit from relevant courses and learnings that might augment their skills and shine bright on their resumes.

Social media platforms are riddled with short instructional videos, which can be a great source of learning for those struggling to complete cybersecurity courses and manage work simultaneously.

  • Introduce Data Privacy Laws

Data privacy laws have been here for a while. However, they have recently received recognition after the EU introduced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016, which came into force in 2018.

Most employees don’t know much about data protection laws or don’t know them altogether. It’s crucial to educate employees regarding existing and upcoming data protection laws and how they impact the business. According to MediaPro, a multimedia communications group, 62% of employees were unsure if their company must comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Integrating data privacy laws and regulations within cybersecurity training is crucial. While employees do not need to be compliance specialists, they should have a fundamental understanding of their company’s privacy policies, data handling procedures, and the impact of data privacy laws on their organization.

  • Address Security Misconceptions

Massive data breaches and ingenious hackers have muddied the waters of what is and isn’t possible when carrying out a cyberattack, making it challenging for novice security personnel to tell the difference between facts and made-up security misunderstandings.

Lack of understanding and misconceptions make matters worse as employees tend to become too concerned about non-existent or misunderstood risks while being less concerned about real ones. That begs the question: Are employees taking cybersecurity seriously, or will they be a liability rather than an asset?

To move forward, begin by designing a survey that starts with the basic cybersecurity knowledge and distributing it across the organization. The survey could contain questions such as:

  • What is cybersecurity,
  • Why is cybersecurity important,
  • Do employees lock their devices and keep strong alphanumeric passwords for online accounts,
  • Do employees connect to a secure WIFI network provided by the company, etc.

The results will demonstrate the current knowledge base within the organization and whether the employees take cybersecurity seriously.

While discovering the loopholes within your organization is one thing, developing a cybersecurity training program specifically tailored to patch those vulnerabilities might not be enough. Not only this, keep a strategy that focuses on zero-day attacks to avoid any damages. As an individual entrusted with developing a training program, you should know that you need a long-term solution to the existing problem.

Humans have always been the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain, and human errors will only escalate despite the depth of training given. That leaves organizations in a tough spot and struggling to meet compliance requirements.

Understand the Consequences of Inadequate Security Training

Training just for the sake of training will not benefit anyone. Employees need to dedicate their hearts and minds to the training, and continuous sessions should take place so that employees always stay current with the latest happenings and privacy frameworks. Poor training may further confuse employees, which may also draw additional dangers.

With Securiti data privacy automation tools, you can reduce or eliminate reliance on employees and move towards a more modern and error-free framework.

About the Author: Anas Baig

With a passion for working on disruptive products, Anas Baig is currently working as a Product Lead at the Silicon Valley based company – Securiti.ai. He holds a degree of Computer Science from Iqra University and specializes in Information Security & Data Privacy.

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The post Ways to Develop a Cybersecurity Training Program for Employees appeared first on Security Affairs.

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