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Why is Security Awareness Training Important?

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

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What Is Security Awareness Training?

Ah, the age-old question of what came first, the chicken or the egg? In order to start understanding why Security Awareness Training (SAT) is important, we need to start with what it is.

In its essence, SAT is an organisation-wide initiative, implemented to help employees identify and avoid real-life cyber-threats at home but also in the workplace. SAT should be viewed as a continual learning process, and reinforcement is essential to building a cyber-secure workplace. This is the exact philosophy we have adopted at GoldPhish, through utilising our various mediums of content whether it be interactive quizzes, educational videos, or informative longer-form modules, we believe that a combination of all of these mediums will reinforce cyber security and keep this front of mind.

Now that we understand what Security Awareness Training is, let's look at why organisations need training.


Why Do Organisations Need Security Awareness Training?

Cyber threats are constantly evolving and their cost and impact continue to rise each year. According to CybSafe, data breaches cost UK organisations an average of £2.9 million per breach. A study done by Verizon found that 82% of breaches involve a human element.

As companies begin to implement and improve technical security controls to keep the threat actors at the door - the hackers are realising that targeting the humans in an organisation is a much easier route to the crown jewels.

A strong Security Awareness Training programme for educating the workforce, from the Intern to the CEO, is now recognised as a fundamental security control for minimising losses. Employees able to understand the threat, identify and report suspicious activity, and behave securely when online and in the office will be a key asset to an organisation's overall security.


Why Is Online Training Important?

The simple answer is that it’s flexible. Studying online teaches you vital time management skills, which makes finding a good work-study balance easier. Not only is it flexible, but it is commonly known that our attention spans are much shorter than they used to be.

Online training provides participants with the opportunity to progress through the training at their own pace. More importantly, in-person training does not allow management to report on the progress of participants. The reason for online training becoming a fundamental part of SAT is the element of transparency and a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the current training.

Luckily for you, we have integrated this into the GoldPhish platform. We allow managers to have complete control over their training campaigns and pull real-time reports of the ongoing training.


What Are the Benefits of Security Awareness Training?

Let’s look at the other side of the coin. We have covered why online training is important, let us cover what are the specific benefits when it comes to SAT.

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Not only is mitigating human error a major benefit, but here are several other benefits of SAT:

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Prevent data breaches and phishing attacks

Starting with the most obvious, security awareness training helps prevent breaches. Equipping employees with the knowledge to be able to identify and report a phishing email or attack, will go a mile in improving the organisation’s security.

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Build a cyber-secure workplace

Developing a culture of security has long been seen as the holy grail for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs). With the help of SAT, more organisations are heading in the right direction. Creating a culture of security means building security values into the fabric of your business. Training that covers situational awareness (why someone might be at risk) plus work and home-life benefits is a good way to bring people on board. Advanced training platforms can help monitor and develop a culture of security, making people your first line of defence against social engineering attacks.

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Make more robust technological defences against cyber threats

Without SAT and cyber security education, technological defences can't fulfil their potential. Attackers today rarely bother trying to attack businesses through technological means only. Today’s attackers typically target people, as they are seen as an easy way into protected networks.

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For compliance

As the cyber insurance landscape is shifting, so are the regulations regarding compliance and SAT. It is therefore mandatory to implement SAT for regulatory purposes. However, SAT should not be implemented solely to comply with regulations. Compliance can be a happy by-product of security awareness training. Introducing the right training content makes your organisation more secure as well as the rest of the ‘ecosystem’.

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Improve employee wellbeing

SAT doesn’t just keep people safe at work. It keeps them safe from cyber security threats, phishing, and social engineering in their personal life, too. This translates to safer families, children, and households. Remember, if SAT does what it’s supposed to do in threat prevention, it isn’t just an employer benefit. It’s an employee benefit, too.


What Should a Strong Security Awareness Training Programme Include?

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Educational content

​Training content should be as interesting and engaging as possible. Bite-size e-learning experiences are extremely effective in raising awareness on a particular topic. Content needs to be simple, digestible, and jargon-free. Here is a list of key subjects we believe should be covered.

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Ongoing campaigns

​Security Awareness Training is "security marketing". When trying to change end-user behaviours and build a secure culture organisations need to adopt a marketing style approach using strong communications, regular training campaigns, and constant feedback. Key subjects should be reinforced on a regular basis to keep security front of mind.

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Simulated phishing campaigns

​Utilise tools such as simulated attacks like phishing, evaluations, and assessments to evaluate enterprise workforce to follow best practices in cybersecurity.

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Measuring and reporting workers

​Identify weaknesses, and flaws in the current programmes and update them for effectiveness.


Best Practices for Delivering An Effective SAT Training Programme:

In order to deliver effective SAT training, multiple factors need to be taken into account. In order to effectively deliver SAT training, organisations will need to begin by defining their programme’s goals and scope of policy, along with garnering organisational buy-in.

End-users, and employees, must be taught not only how to recognize social engineering and phishing threats, but also how to treat them and report them. SAT is among the most high-value mitigations any organisation can perform to significantly reduce cyber security risk. The most challenging aspect for many organisations, is to know where to begin when creating these programmes. Knowing who you want to train, and on what, you can now pinpoint how you want to deliver the goods. Part of a solid strategy is considering your information security communication plan and how it will cohabitate with the other goals. You want to engage people. If users are not listening or are not motivated to change behaviours, your programme will fail.

Click on each of the below best practices for building a cyber-savvy culture:

Employee engagement

The first step is to engage your audience. You will need to engage your audience on two levels: Organisational The company culture. You can develop a plan and approach in conjunction with senior management and corporate communications that reflect top-down, full support of the security awareness programme initiatives and goals. Work directly with senior leadership & corporate communications to identify opportunities to strengthen the support for security awareness and secure behaviours and habits. (Think all-hands meetings, CEO involvement, etc.) Individual Emphasising that people have lives outside of work and are also subjected to the same types of risks is a great way to engage users. The intent will be to empower users with the ability to make smart, security-driven decisions in their personal lives that nurture secure habits; along with the tools and resources to maintain secure behaviours at work. Giving them the knowledge and skills to protect their family and personal lives is always a big win.

Get leadership buy-in

Show both the personal and organisational importance of SAT

Keep it simple

Give it in small pieces

Provide relevant content

Make it interactive

Convenience is key

Use varied learning methods

Provide regular continuous learning


So, where do we go from here? We develop a cyber-savvy workforce!

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GoldPhish educates end-users on the cyber threat and helps build more secure organisations with awareness training and simulated phishing.

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