Mimecast: How to Get Employees Invested in Security Awareness Training

NEW YORK, April 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Remote work has become a new normal for industries worldwide, which presents exciting opportunities but also has the potential to expose critical security weaknesses, since employees tend to let their guards down while working from home. As more communications and data are shared via email or stored on cloud servers, avenues for cyberattacks have only increased.

Making sure employees have a high level of knowledge around how to handle email securely at home or in the office is essential, but while the IT team may understand how important cybersecurity is, other employees may need to be convinced. Here’s how to get employees invested in security awareness training in five simple steps.

1. Focus on specific areas of risk

Good training should never be generic. Security awareness training materials should be tailored to the needs of each individual business, focusing on specific concerns related to their industry.

Some industries’ top cybersecurity concern may be legal or HIPAA compliance — for another company, they may have dealt with targeted malware attacks. Keep training connected to the most relevant concerns employees are dealing with.

2. Give real-world examples

Cybersecurity can feel abstract for the unfamiliar. Many employees may think security awareness training isn’t that relevant to them, as they don’t work in IT or handle legally sensitive materials.

Giving practical, relatable examples of how common cyberattacks such as phishing scams can impact people at any level of an organization will help keep employees aware that their role does make a difference. It may help to give examples of situations where a cyberattack can have an impact on a personal level, such as defrauding an employee out of money directly.

3. Keep it short and simple (and fun?)

Trying to make corporate educational materials genuinely fun often has results that are a bit groan-worthy. Instead of reaching too far for humor, respect that most employees will be approaching security awareness training as just a small part of their busy day.

Give employees the most important information on each subject in an easily digestible format that feels relevant to their work. By keeping the information as short and simple as possible, it will be much easier for employees to give it their full attention and understanding.

4. Be transparent

Often, employees will be resistant to cybersecurity measures due to concerns about their activities being tracked.

It can help to communicate openly about the purpose of any new security software or tools, and to explain that software is being used to keep company and client information secure, and not to monitor productivity.

5. Let employees test out of training

Not all employees are starting from the same level of security awareness. Some employees may have a deep background in cybersecurity, or the internet savvy to avoid common phishing scams.

The best security awareness training tools will give employees the ability to test out of (or into) training with simple tests, such as a fake phishing email. By tracking which employees fall for the test and which ones respond appropriately, it makes it easy to see who needs a higher level of attention for training.

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