How Security Awareness Training Helps Employees Identify Attacks

Jul 10, 2024

The internet is an exciting and opportunity-driven place to explore. However, where there’s value, there are also threats. With the rise of phishing, cyber threats are prevalent and on the rise. This makes getting educated, aware, and alert on the matter imperative for organizations. But how can subject matter experts help employees identify attacks before they happen? 

In this article, we cover how you can develop effective security measures and share key insights from SME Anthony Shaefer, IMS’ Director of Customer Success, on engaging employees in security practices. 

Security Awareness Training Quote


The Importance of Security Awareness Training

In 2023, there were 2,365 cyberattacks affecting 343,338,964 individuals. That’s not something you want to wave a stick at and hope it goes away. While cyber security is advancing to monitor and prevent such incidents, innovations in cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated. 

We can’t stress enough that getting your employees involved is imperative, and to bring our point home, here are some key benefits to security awareness training:

  • Prevention of Data Breaches: Security awareness training equips employees with the knowledge to recognize and respond to security threats, significantly reducing the likelihood of data breaches.
  • Enhanced Detection of Phishing Attempts: Training helps employees identify phishing emails and other fraudulent communications, which are often the entry points for more significant security incidents.
  • Fostering a Culture of Security: Regular training promotes a security-first mindset among employees, making security a fundamental part of the company’s values and operations.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Many industries are governed by regulations that require security training as part of compliance measures. Awareness training ensures that employees are up-to-date on how to handle sensitive information legally and ethically.
  • Reduction in Insider Threats: Educating employees about the signs of insider threats and how to report suspicious activity helps mitigate risks from within the organization.
  • Empowerment of Employees: Training empowers employees to make informed decisions and take action when they encounter potential security threats, enhancing overall organizational resilience.
  • Cost Savings: By preventing security breaches, organizations save on the potential costs of remediation, legal fees, penalties, and lost reputation.
  • Improved Customer Trust: A well-trained workforce demonstrates to customers that the organization is serious about protecting their data, thereby enhancing trust and customer loyalty.


Trends in Cybersecurity Training


Q&A: Effective Security Training Strategies with Expert Anthony Schaefer

Now, let’s take a moment to learn from a seasoned pro who’s been in the weeds of this often chaotic fight against cyber threats. We spoke with subject matter expert Anthony Shaefer to gain invaluable insights. 


Tackling the Challenges: Engaging Employees in Security Practices

Q1: What are your biggest challenges when it comes to employee security awareness? (e.g., engaging employees, keeping information relevant, measuring effectiveness)

A1: The biggest challenges when it comes to employee security awareness are a combination of making training engaging to employees as well as making the training relevant to the ever-changing landscape of cybersecurity.  As the methods for intrusion change, we must constantly update training to defend against these threats.


Q2: What are your goals for security awareness training? (e.g., reduce click-through rates on phishing emails, increase reporting of suspicious activity)

A2: The goals for security awareness training should include decreasing click rates and recognizing phishing/spoofed emails, but also assist in crafting a skeptical mind.  There needs to be a mindset to verify any emails that are out of the ordinary or are requesting information not typically asked for.  Small mistakes can create very large problems and making employees aware of this has generally increased the number of reported intrusion attempts.


Q3: Have you seen any positive results from your security awareness training programs? (e.g., increased awareness, employees identifying suspicious emails)

A3: While I haven’t had much time here, KnowBe4 was a great tool for the clients at my previous employer.  Clients that ran campaigns generally had much lower ticket rates for potential intrusions and did a great job of submitting tickets for emails that they thought might be potential phishing.  While not all the emails were malicious, it was good for the users to verify.




How to Develop Effective Security Awareness Programs

Here’s a step-by-step guide to developing comprehensive training and ongoing improvements:

  1. Assess Current Security Knowledge and Risks: Start by evaluating the existing security awareness levels and identify specific vulnerabilities within your organization through surveys and security tests.
  2. Define Clear Training Objectives: Establish specific, measurable objectives for your security awareness program, such as reducing phishing attack susceptibility or enhancing data handling practices.
  3. Develop Role-Specific Modules: Tailor the training content to address the particular needs and potential security challenges of different job functions within the organization.
  4. Utilize Interactive and Engaging Content: Implement interactive training techniques, including quizzes, gamified elements, and practical simulations, to make the learning process more engaging and easy to retain.
  5. .Use Tools and Resources for Enhancing Security Awareness: Leverage software platforms, online courses, and partnerships with Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to keep your training program on point.
  6. Measure the Effectiveness of Security Awareness Training: Set key performance indicators (KPIs) such as phishing detection rates and incident reporting frequency to evaluate the training’s impact.


Sample Phishing Report


Build a Resilient Defense with Security Awareness Training

In summary, the internet is a fact of life for many, if not all, businesses these days. However, this doesn’t negate the fact that there is criminal activity on the wide web also. Cybersecurity awareness training can help mitigate and prevent data breaches and unwanted cyber-attacks. 

With IMS, you gain access to top-tier security awareness training that equips your workforce with the tools and insights needed to identify and respond to cyber threats effectively. Contact us today and book a consultation call.


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