It’s 22 years into the new millennium and cyberattacks are more prevalent, sophisticated and scarier than ever. It doesn’t matter how much a business invests in technologies and systems to protect its assets against threats if employees are incognizant of phishing emails and ransomware attacks. It’s time for businesses to get with the program. A user awareness training program.
User awareness programs educate employees on the foundations of spam, phishing, spear phishing, malware, ransomware and social engineering so they can use this knowledge in their day-to-day job.
Keys to a User Awareness Training Program
Below is a list of six keys that will help launch such a program for those businesses that have wisely considered such an investment.
1. Gain Organizational Buy-In
User awareness programs are company-wide and require the participation of every department to be effective. IT handles launch, management and maintenance. Executive leaders are responsible for the overall adaptation of the program. Then, HR is accountable for triggering onboarding and training. Support from these major players is essential for a trickle-down effect of getting the rest of the employees to opt-in and participate in the program.
2. A Consistent Program
Phishing emails are sent all day, every day. A once-a-year training course to keep employees on the lookout for attacks is not enough. An effective program that educates employees is both consistent and year-round to be vigilant and knowledgeable when it comes to cybersecurity.
3. Go Above & Beyond the Minimum Requirements
Many cybersecurity insurance companies and state regulations require user awareness training programs as a prerequisite for coverage or compliance. Too many companies see training programs as a way to check off a box to complete these mandates. Don’t fall into that slump. Wholesome programs are empowering, are a good investment and can provide years of bolstered defense when done on a consistent basis.
4. Select the Right Approach
Companies can choose from three main approaches to user awareness training programs:
- Content: A company can create its own content and run the program itself.
- Platform: A company leverages an outside organization’s program. Capture pre-created content and use templates.
- Managed Service: A company can completely outsource a user awareness training program for another company to manage.
It is important for a business to analyze its internal resources when determining the right approach. Does it have the time to create its own content? Does it have the necessary technology for platform management? Does it have the funding to hire a managed service?
A good program educates its users, is relevant to your organization and is customizable. It should instruct with its text and video content but also provide interactive tools such as quizzes. The best programs will truly engage its users rather than just deliver content.
5. Utilize Complex Tactics
Attackers are tricky and are using more sophisticated phishing emails every day. They’ll do thorough research to construct messages that are tempting for specific individuals and organizations. Employees are not getting real-world experience if generic templates are used during simulated training attacks. Complex tactics must be used during training so users can reap the most out of the experience and develop a deft eye.
6. Have Dedicated Resources
User awareness programs work best when they have a dedicated resource that can focus on its management. Initial setup is not long but implementing it requires more attention and effort. After that comes customizing the program, tracking progress and handling upkeep tasks. Don’t forget, the real key is not one single running but rather consistent, ongoing trainings.
How Brite Can Help
Brite offers a comprehensive user awareness training program that truly gives employees the experience they need to fight phishing. Our extensive process includes five steps:
We’ll gauge the percentage of your users who are at-risk through a simulated phishing, vishing or smishing attack.
Brite selects training content from the world’s largest library of security awareness training. We have access to interactive modules, videos, games, posters and newsletters. We’ll also remind users to complete the trainings. Take a look at some of our free resources here.
We craft carefully selected and company and industry specific templates to create realistic simulated phishing, vishing and smishing attacks to test your users.
Detailed reports documenting progress on an organizational, teams and high-risk individual scale are provided monthly for tracking the success of your program.
Brite will send a total of four simulated campaigns a year with each campaign consisting of at least ten emails. Year-round, consistent training is key to keeping employees trained and at the top of their game.
Humans are the targets of cyberattacks, not security tools or machines. User awareness training programs are essential for those technologies to work properly. Furthermore, if you’re paying for a training program, take the time to truly invest in it by properly educating users. Follow the 6 keys to success above and you’ll be off to a great start.