Cyber Security Awareness Training

What is Cyber Security Awareness Training?

Threat actors are getting smarter, and digital threats are growing more sophisticated. Although security technology has evolved in leaps and bounds, there’s one thing that remains constant: Employees are the weakest link in your cyber security chain. That’s why it’s crucial to mitigate the risk they pose to your business and its data. 

While cyber security training and cyber resilience training are primarily intended to teach security teams and leadership how to actively and proactively protect your business, cyber security awareness training is for all employees. A security awareness training course teaches how to recognize and avoid the most common cyber threats in the workplace. It also provides guidance on general best practices such as mindfulness, safe browsing and password hygiene. 

Why is Cyber Security Awareness Training Important? 

Human error accounts for anywhere from 74% to 95% of data breaches. This is because when given the chance, the majority of cyber criminals will always take the path of least resistance. Why expend time and effort to crack a sophisticated firewall when you can fool an employee into simply opening the door

There’s a reason phishing is the most common form of cybercrime. 

See also: Cyber Security Training

What does Cyber Security Awareness Training Cost?

The short answer is that training costs considerably less than a data breach. The longer answer is that it depends. For a small company, security awareness training can be close to free. Larger organizations may find themselves spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on their training program. 

Given that the average cost of a data breach in 2023 was US $4.45 million, a few thousand dollars is a small price to pay. 

Benefits of Cyber Security Awareness Training

The most obvious benefit of a security awareness training program is that it makes your organization more secure. While it’s impossible to prevent all threats, risk mitigation goes a long way toward making you less of a target. Remember that criminals will always choose the path of least resistance — and if your employees are educated and aware, that’s not you. 

Other benefits of a security awareness training program include: 

  • Improved password hygiene. By coaching employees on the importance of strong, unique passwords and providing them with a password manager, you greatly reduce your chances of being breached via an external hack. 
  • A better defense against social engineering. Social engineering attacks rely on carelessness to succeed. Criminals want your employees to act without thinking — because caution is one of the greatest weapons against tactics such as phishing. 
  • A lower chance of malware. If an employee understands what a malicious file looks like and knows the risks of unauthorized downloads, they’re generally less likely to browse in ways that are unsafe. 
  • Regulatory compliance. If your business works in a regulated industry, cyber security awareness training for your employees is a must. Otherwise, you may risk one of them running afoul of regulations without even realizing it. 
  • A cybersecurity culture. Through security awareness training, you can help every employee feel not only empowered in their knowledge but also responsible for the safety and security of your business and its assets. 

Best Practices for Cyber Security Awareness Training

A good cyber security awareness training program should generally be dynamic and interactive. More importantly, it needs to be adaptive; personalized to the learning style and knowledge of each employee. Beyond that, it should be designed with the following in mind: 

  • An up-to-date view of your organization’s unique threat landscape. 
  • Live simulations of phishing and other social engineering attacks. 
  • Regular updates. 
  • Accessibility and ease of use. 
  • How participants will be assessed and certified.
  • Delivery via either bite-sized learning or microlearning so that employees can learn on the job and on a consistent basis.

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