One of the most important things a business can do is make sure its information is secure. No matter if you are protecting internal or external customer information, security is key. Security awareness plays a huge role in a company’s overall security, but many businesses ignore training and making their employees aware of security issues or are ineffective in how they spread training information. Here are six ways to improve your company’s security awareness training.


  1. Set the example. An emphasis on security awareness starts at the top of the company. Employees won’t want to learn about security awareness if they don’t see their managers and executives also in the training. Executives aren’t immune to security threats, so make sure they participate in the training as well. Having employees at all levels in the same general training helps underscore the importance of the training and makes sure all employees are on the same page. Managers should participate in trainings so they know what their employees are learning and how it all fits into the larger security strategy. It also provides an outlet for employees to provide feedback on the cybersecurity plan so that executives can make adjustments as needed.


  1. Teach diagnostics. One of the biggest keys of security awareness training is teaching employees how to find their own answers. Many companies simply teach the same security cure for every problem and then get frustrated when the solution doesn’t solve every issue. Instead, teach your employees where they can look for help diagnosing their specific security problem and finding the right solution. This can take the form of a flowchart that walks employees through various steps until they know what to do or who to turn to, or it can be a list of common issues and how to solve them.


  1. Provide the right training. Not every employee has the same access, so not everyone needs the same training. Ideally, all employees would participate in the same overall training, but then each department or segment of employees would join training sessions that are specific to their responsibilities and the security risks they could face. Employees who work on outside-facing systems and interact with clients might need to be made aware of certain threats and scenarios that might not be applicable to internal employees. One of the reasons security trainings can be ineffective is if they throw too much information at employees—by making sure employees get the correct information for their job, you can help limit unnecessary information and keep their attention with information they actually need to know.


  1. Make it part of the culture. An annual security awareness seminar probably isn’t going to be very effective and memorable for employees. Instead, try to make security awareness part of the company culture and something that employees see regularly and are familiar with. This varies depending on the organization but can take the form of monthly or quarterly training sessions, posters around the office to remind employees of threats, regular emails from security leaders, simulated security threats, or even games or contests. A comprehensive awareness program will help employees always have security at the forefront of their minds.


  1. Update the training material. Security threats are constantly changing, so your training materials need to stay updated as well. Training employees on how to handle attacks on systems that haven’t been used in years is a waste of time for everyone involved. Have some employees from the IT department or an outside firm keep a finger on the pulse of new cybersecurity issues and work them into training to keep everyone up to date on the most recent threats and counterattacks.


  1. Combine training with technology. Providing great security awareness training doesn’t mean much if your company doesn’t have the right security measures in place. Aware employees can’t stop an attack if they don’t have strong security solutions and the right tools. For best results, have a strong cybersecurity system, including network visibility solutions, that can keep the entire company as safe as possible. That way, you can train employees on exactly what to do with the systems your company already has up and running.


by: Rick Delgado