phishing

Is security awareness vital for your organization?

Introduction to Security Awareness Training Program

Security Awareness Training Program helps to educate the employees on various cyber risks and threats and magnify their awareness on best practices that keep their networks secure. The repercussions of not following the process would damage the organization's data. The primary goal of this training is to educate students on how to shield the data from manipulation.

The fascinating fact of today's technology world is that it does not seem to impede but is expanding with time. Our day-to-day activities of connecting our businesses have transformed into an online life, which is increasing rapidly. This highest use of internet services has not only opened doors to exploit our vulnerabilities but given a chance to the cybercriminals to perform a successful attack.

Neither business nor an organization would want to face a breach since its impact is enormous, affecting the reputation and brand. Luckily, the good news is there are processes and programs in place that can stop the effect of a cyber-attack and, when executed appropriately, will mitigate the risk. That is where the security awareness training program comes in.

Employees must understand how to protect sensitive company data. Security awareness training is a formal program to educate employees about cybersecurity and avoid becoming victims of cyber-attacks or data breaches.

The objective of the Security Awareness Training Program

The objective of the security awareness program assures that the workforce of all levels follows the instructions and carefully utilize the information and resources entrusted to them. The training encourages and helps in identifying the end-users to be aware of the threats. The training programs, however, get updated based on changes in new technologies followed by new threats. Following policies and utilizing the knowledge gained from such training programs will minimize the exposure of your sensitive information.

Importance of Security Awareness Training Program

One of the most significant risks to an organization’s information security is often not the glitches in its IT infrastructure. Instead, it is the action of the personnel that leads to security challenges either through exploiting the data, not reporting any unusual activity, accessing sensitive data not related to the user, and not adhering to procedures and so on.

The primary reason to include security awareness training is that educated staff can defend against common types of attacks surfaced on businesses. For instance, prevalent phishing attacks involve emails from spoof domain names giving a chance to attackers to pretend as someone familiar to the staff and ask them to click on false links or provide sensitive information.

  • An organization's success often lies in the hands of its employees. Establishing a security training program suffices the requirement of understanding how important it is to protect sensitive data and the risks of mishandling information.
  • Employees alarming suspicious emails detects a threat, or any other malicious activity to the superiors will make the company less vulnerable to attacks.

Most professionals with security awareness come from technical backgrounds. Having a specialized knowledge is an advantage since you understand the technologies and risks involved within a security system of networks. The challenge lies with the non-technical group, such as HR, legal, marketing, who have less knowledge and lack the skills, the awareness training might be advanced for them, due to lack of computer skills.

Reason for lack of Security Awareness Training Program

Many surveys and research findings claim that employees are considered a significant threat in an organization. Lack of attention, not adhering to security policies and negligence, has led to security breaches in an organization's IT infrastructure. Some other factors resulting in data leakage are:

  • Information sharing to External sources
  • Lack of tool, techniques, and process

Structure of a Security Awareness Training Program Below are the key points to have a successful security awareness program.

  • Security programs to meet all the industry standards and compliance regulations.
  • Non-technical professionals can expect to follow the security rules and stay abreast of new tools and technologies as and when they get introduced.
  • Non-technical personnel can expect to understand and learn the vulnerabilities involved in the networks and systems and act promptly.
  • Flexible training programs are introduced based on the requirement of an individual. There are classroom sessions, online training programs.

What topics should security awareness training include?

Depending on the job role of end-users, they must be trained on the core security topics. For instance, an employee working with payment card details will require PCI DSS training, another going on frequent business visits will benefit from public Wi-Fi and mobile device training. Role-based security awareness provides organizations a source for training personnel at the levels based on their job functions and responsibilities. The goal is to build different training catalogs to help deliver the right training to the right people at the right time. Besides, managers with privileged access should have a firm understanding of their security requirements, particularly with access to sensitive data.

Some of the core security awareness training topics identified are:

  • Use of the Internet and email
  • Passwords & Authentication
  • Physical Security
  • Mobile Device Security
  • Remote working
  • Public Wi-Fi
  • Cloud Security
  • Social Media Use
  • Phishing
  • Malware (Viruses, worms, Trojans, Spywares, Adwares)
  • Desktop Security
  • Social engineering
  • Home Security

Remote working best practices are:

How can Organizations benefit from Security Awareness Training Programs?

The key benefits of a security awareness training program.

Protection of Company Assets

When organizations upgrade their security protocols and ensure employees have the security knowledge and are in compliance., then the chances are less to tackle severe security breaches and threats. As an outcome, operational ability, machines, and the information that your company operates on are protected. Besides, a company is less likely to face lawsuits, fines, security audits, and data breaches.

Introduction to different Tools

Security awareness programs should introduce the employees on a wide variety of tools and techniques. The training should be diverse to incorporate all the methods that employees require for education on security. Hands-on training would be the best method since this would give them the scope to understand the detection and prevention of security breaches.

Saving Money

Rather than spending on vast sums of money on the damage to systems, reputations, and other company assets, a security awareness would benefit in preventing attacks, breaches, threats, and will cost less. Employees will detect any loss and breach sooner, which will help the company address breaches sooner, hence reducing the costs of such an event.

Customer Satisfaction

Customers feel a sense of confidence in working with your business when they are aware that the employees are trained to avoid security breaches. The business is less likely to face fewer incidents of breaches in customer information, fewer lawsuits, and losing customers.

Security awareness training keep businesses operating even during a security incident occurs. These trainings are the means to minimize business downtime and show that the firm is stable on its current security posture and is committed to protecting customers' and employees' data.

Speed Detection

If hackers try to access company data or practice any techniques such as phishing, a man in the middle attacks, or social engineering, trained staff can detect and report the suspicious security incident in a much more efficient manner. Their security awareness and attention will enable them to see the changes in their system, and they can alert their managers for the immediate response process.

Security awareness best practices

Security Training mandatory for new employees.

Creating awareness and educating the new employees about online security threats and attacks should start from their day of joining the firm. Incorporating a security awareness training into your onboarding program ensures, it covers the vital aspects such as data protection rules and policies, and the employee is aware from the start.

The onboarding stage will show the new hires that the organizations care about the security aspects as it does for job duties and responsibilities. As an outcome, the new hires can understand the importance of careful online behavior from their first week.

Revise and repeat security training regularly

Security training for employees must often be conducted with lots of opportunities for practicing safe online behaviors in between. Constant security awareness programs are also the means where an organization includes any additional changes and information about the latest scams into your training.

Boost Employee Confidence

Though employees are always the primary target for cyberattacks, they are also the first defense line. And keeping your defense firm will build the organization cyber protected. To motivate the employees and be part of the training programs, they should incorporate gamification tricks that make them feel inspired and appreciated for their security training achievements.

Second, when a threat is identified, roll out a company-wide email to inform the employees how much their training has helped the company defend the upcoming attacks.

Security Awareness Program Checklist

The security awareness program guides how to use the best practices resulting in the organization's success's growing security posture. The goal of a ,security awareness program is to implement best practices and increase the knowledge of the newest security threats and prevent them. The program ensures all employees in the organization possess a minimum level of know-how concerning security matters, followed by an appropriate sense of responsibility. Hence having a checklist in place will help the firm plan and manage its security awareness training program effectively. The list below provides the steps needed while preparing a checklist of your organization.   

Create

  • Build a crisp project plan that will help the training program.
  • Build a baseline of the organization's security posture and identify the aspects that should be covered in the security awareness program.
  • Identify the goals, risks, and security policies of your company.
  • List the catalog of compliance or audit standards that the organization must imply.
  • Identify security awareness requirements for the standards.
  • List the key stakeholders and take their approval and support
  • Build and form a team that will help plan, execute, and maintain the training program
  • Distinguish the target audience and chart the training plan for different roles (e.g., employees, IT personnel, developers, senior leadership).
  • Pair up the different content types to different roles of the employees in the organization. The content is the training modules or material to be delivered by a security professional within the organization. The material can differ from security awareness training posters, email phish testing software that trains and assesses employees, and on-site training presentations and testing.
  • Identify the key topics and modes of communicating the content, such as in-person, video, online, hands-on, etc.
  • Include 3 categories of training: new, annual, and ongoing. 

Implement

  • To meet the requirements, design the training materials, and content based on different Job roles.
  • Document how and when you intend to measure the success of the program. 
  • Track the completion of the training of every group    

Endorse

  • Stay abreast of new technology updates, threats, and compliance standards. Include them in the annual update in the training manual.
  • Conduct periodic assessments.
  • Survey the training program asking for feedback on the usefulness, effectiveness, understanding, implementation, and recommendation
  • about the training program and how future training programs should reflect that feedback.
  • Involve the key decision-makers for future support, endorsement, and promotion.
  • Gauge when to review your security awareness program each year.

Documentation

  • The most important aspect of any training program is to document. Incorporate the security awareness program information and mention the past listed steps in each of the sections above.
  • It should also contain a mechanism for reviewing employee feedback about the training program and how future training programs should reflect that feedback.

Simulation

  • One of the vital aspects of security awareness training i.e. simulation. Organizations usually repeat the same mistakes by merely using identical simulation techniques every time. This way, the teams get prepared to catch on to the simulation schedule and be better prepared to respond. To get a real conclusion of security preparedness, suggest trying to conduct simulations at random times. This way, companies can identify the success of their training through careful scheduling and comprehensive analysis.

Does security awareness training work?

The below graph projects that how efficient security awareness training is at reducing cyber risk. Employees who receive security training are significantly more skilled at identifying threats than those who have not.

the-roi-of-security-awareness-training

[The data is adopted from the Osterman research and indicates the increase in the awareness among the employees, who have undergone security awareness training on phishing.
Source: https://www.infosecinstitute.com/blog/the-roi-of-security-awareness-training/ ]

Conclusion

Often employees constitute a significant threat to an organization's security structure. Similarly, they are also the key drivers that lead to their achievements. A security awareness training program is an essential component required for compliance with laws and regulations of information security training programs.

To conclude, it is necessary for organizations to implement such programs that help in the long run, in prevention and remediation procedures, and can prevent a lot of potential problems that would affect the infrastructure and the business. Sometimes, awareness is a fundamental element to prevent and protect. Hence the training programs should be reinforced regularly.

References:

Frequently Asked Question:

Q. What is a security awareness training program?

Security awareness training  a method to train and educate employees about the information security aspects and how to detect and protect their networks, computers, and devices. 

Read More:

Q. What should security awareness training topics include?

  • Use of Internet and email
  • Passwords & Authentication
  • Physical Security
  • Mobile Device Security
  • Remote working
  • Public Wi-Fi
  • Cloud Security
  • Social Media Use
  • Phishing
  • Malware (Viruses, worms, Trojans, Spywares, Adwares)
  • Desktop Security
  • Social engineering
  • Home Security

Read More: https://www.cisomag.com/webroots-report-highlights-the-need-for-cyber-resilience-and-security-education/

Q. Why do we need security awareness training?

Security awareness training is essential so that employees understand the risks and threats associated with the cyber industry. Security awareness training ensures that the staff is vigilant to the consequences and can protect the organization from external attackers.

Read More: https://blog.eccouncil.org/5-essential-steps-to-improve-your-cybersecurity-strategy/