two women facing security camera above mounted on structure

Today, online security is more important than ever before. Digital transition is now ubiquitous, and with the rise of remote work and cloud-based computing, businesses face even greater challenges in keeping data safe and networks secure.

However, with a comprehensive and robust security awareness training program, any organization can give itself the best chance of maintaining high levels of security and reducing the impact of potential threats.

Here, we explore what this looks like in reality and how an organization can successfully build an effective security awareness program.

Review the Status Quo

The first step to building and improving a security awareness training program is examining and analyzing existing protocols and initiatives. This means those in charge should gather data on the type of threats faced, where data breaches have previously occurred, and the current understanding of cyber security concepts across departments.

Generally, it is a good idea to begin with the IT team and work down from there, learning how each team deals with potential risks from different perspectives. Additionally, by starting with the IT team, security training coordinators can grasp what types of initiatives have been used and how they have been received, then moving on to gather the opinions of those departments or teams using them.

Identify Weaknesses

Gathering all this information allows program coordinators to see the big picture, which then helps to identify weaknesses and potential issues. Start by examining both qualitative and quantitative data to determine where staff lack understanding of initiatives and protocols, where time constraints impede effective reporting, and where gaps in skills or knowledge need to be addressed.

Maintain a Supportive Culture

Ensuring staff are free to discuss and report nascent threat and protective measures is key to maintaining a supportive culture that promotes goods security awareness. Outline a simple and effective method of reporting threats as they happen and allow departments and teams to talk about the threats they face and how they deal with them.

Sharing knowledge also encourages greater engagement, meaning employees are less likely to sweep threats under the rug or simply ignore them for fear of reprisals or being made to feel “dumb.”

Review Monthly

With such a diverse range of cybersecurity threats that are constantly evolving, delivering a monthly review that explores a variety of awareness topics is critical. These monthly sessions can be as in-depth or as selective as required. However, security awareness coordinators should ensure that the most common threats are covered throughout the year.

This means reviewing where weaknesses are identified and tackling topics that address the related threats, as well as covering the latest global or national threats that are likely to affect security.

Practice Life-Long Learning

Life-long learning should be a mantra practiced by companies across all aspects of their operations; however, when it comes to security awareness training, the benefits can mean the difference between safeguarding valuable assets or dealing with a costly security breach.

Implement life-long learning that deals with cyber security best practices and keeps staff on their toes when dealing with developing threats. This is best achieved by delivering training materials in easily digestible and interactive formats, allowing staff to access the latest educational resources when they have a spare moment and on a regular basis.