How to Conduct Online Cybersecurity Training?

Cybersecurity training prepares employees to respond to an active incident, prevent an incident, learn specific technical skills, or impart general knowledge. Every employee will need some level of training, depending on their roles and current skill level.

However, conducting this training in person can be prohibitively expensive or time-consuming for many employees. Instead, online cybersecurity training allows employees to learn the material remotely, at their own pace, and benefit from virtual simulations.

How can you conduct effective cyber security training online? We’ll explain how to provide effective online cybersecurity training for employees.

Benefits of Online Cybersecurity Training

Virtual cybersecurity labs allow employees to learn at their own pace while having more control over the time and place they train. This high level of flexibility allows even the busiest trainees to fit training into their schedules. However, it’s worth noting that although this can vary depending on the program, there may be remote instructor-led sessions.

For multinational companies, online cybersecurity training also removes geographical boundaries and allows every employee to participate.

While flexibility shines as a major benefit, there are plenty of other perks to conducting cybersecurity training online, including:

  • Cost-effectiveness:  Online training eliminates the need for physical classrooms, travel, and other related expenses. Once the training program is developed, it can be scaled up to train many employees at minimal additional cost, making it a cost-effective solution for organizations of all sizes.
  • Consistency and standardization:  With online training programs, all employees receive the same quality of instruction, ensuring consistency in the knowledge and skills trainees walk away with. This level of standardization helps maintain consistent cybersecurity awareness and competency across the organization.
  • Engaging and updated content: An online cybersecurity training platform can incorporate multimedia elements such as videos, interactive quizzes, simulations, and virtual labs that help engage different types of learners. Additionally, cybersecurity threats and best practices are constantly evolving. Online training modules can be quickly updated to reflect the latest information.

Challenges of Online Cybersecurity Training

Online cybersecurity training can often require tackling several challenges. Maintaining engagement and motivation can be difficult without an instructor to provide immediate support for some course content or peers. To address this, training programs need to incorporate interactive and engaging elements. 

Another possible challenge is technical issues such as poor Internet connectivity or software glitches that can disrupt the learning experience, leading to frustration. Ensuring a robust and reliable technical infrastructure is crucial, including choosing the right training platform and equipping employees with the necessary tools.

Assessment and accountability are also challenging but necessary. Without the right lesson plan and platform, it’s hard to gauge the effectiveness of the training and the actual improvement in the targeted cybersecurity skills. Regular assessments and feedback can ensure employees absorb the material and can apply it.

Additionally, when it comes to extended programs, online training can feel isolating, missing out on the collaborative benefits of in-person learning. Virtual interaction and collaboration opportunities can mitigate this and improve the learning experience. 

Strategies for Effective Online Cybersecurity Training

How can you design a cybersecurity training program that tackles the above challenges, prepares trainees for real-world scenarios, and improves the company’s security posture? Let’s break down key strategies to build an ideal online cybersecurity training program.

Define Objectives and Audience

Start by identifying the cybersecurity skills and knowledge you want trainees to acquire or update. Determine who the training is for, then tailor the content to match the knowledge level and roles of the participants, from general staff needing basic awareness to IT professionals requiring advanced training.

Develop Comprehensive Content

Create modular content that covers specific topics such as phishing, password security, network security, and incident response. Use various formats like videos, infographics, interactive quizzes, and simulations to keep the material engaging and cater to different learning styles.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel for some universally applicable topics, as there may be existing lessons or modules you can use as inspiration.

Choose the Right Platform

Select a virtual training platform with a Learning Management System (LMS) that supports multimedia content and interactive elements and provides tracking and reporting features. Ensure the platform is accessible on different devices, including computers, tablets, and smartphones.

The virtual platform will surpass typical LMSs, allowing participants to benefit from simulated cybersecurity activities.

Implement Interactive Elements

Incorporate simulations and virtual labs to provide hands-on experience with cybersecurity scenarios. Use quizzes and assessments throughout the training to reinforce learning and measure progress, providing immediate feedback to help learners understand their mistakes.

Using various training methods helps accommodate different learners, keeping them engaged in the material.