Trustwave Rapid Response: CrowdStrike Falcon Outage Update. Learn More

Trustwave Rapid Response: CrowdStrike Falcon Outage Update. Learn More

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5 Reasons Employees Hate Cybersecurity Training and 6 Tips to Turn Them Around

Cybersecurity is no longer solely an IT department’s concern; it's a company-wide responsibility. But with busy schedules and overflowing inboxes, getting employees to truly pay attention to cybersecurity training can feel like an uphill battle.

Let’s start off with why too many staffers are apt to mentally tap out when taking an awareness course.

  1. Boring. Training tends to center on videos of staged events where actors sit around in a very far-fetched setting discussing their daily activities or another topic that is then somehow related to cybersecurity.

  2. Unimportant. Workers often don’t connect what might be poor cybersecurity decisions to actual outcomes. Security awareness training is crucial, but sometimes it can feel irrelevant.

  3. Impersonal: It certainly makes sense that cybersecurity training should focus on the business, but workers often tune out when the instruction does not include their concerns.

  4. Untargeted: Sitting through a session with lessons on topics that don’t concern the employee is an instant turn off.

  5. Punishment: Sometimes the lessons make the employees feel as if they have already done something wrong.

Now, let’s look at how to design a cybersecurity awareness program that will keep employees engaged and informed.


Make Security Awareness Training Engaging and Effective

  1. Making Security Personal: This point emphasizes explaining security not just for technical reasons, but for its real-world impact. Ditch the jargon by avoiding confusing technical terms and language everyone, especially the non-technical people, will understand. Next, everyone likes visuals. Images, videos, and demonstrations keep people interested, while droning on with a long speech will lose employee engagement. Next, show, don't tell. Instead of just saying "Phishing steals data," demonstrate how a phishing scam can trick someone into revealing passwords or clicking malicious links. Then, explain how the entire organization is in this fight together. Frame security as a team effort. Explain how good security practices protect not just the company's data, but also employees' personal information and the company's reputation.

  2. Keeping it Relevant: Use real-world scenarios to make security training relatable to the average person in your organization. One way to do this is learning from others’ mistakes by sharing example data breaches that have impacted companies similar to yours. This hammers home the potential consequences of lax security. Simulate phishing attacks in a controlled environment (with clear warnings beforehand!). This lets employees experience how these scams work and helps them learn to identify them.

  3. Turning Training into a Game: Use gamification to make security training more engaging. We all know that healthy competition is good, so consider awarding points or badges for completing training modules or reporting suspicious activity. This creates a friendly competition that motivates participation. Focus on the positive and encourage good security habits, and don’t create stress. Focus on rewarding positive actions, not punishing mistakes.

  4. Small Doses, Big Impact: Deliver security training in short, manageable pieces. Break down complex topics into bite-sized chunks that are easier to absorb and remember. Use different formats to keep things interesting. Consider using infographics, interactive quizzes, or short explainer videos, and it’s better to institute multiple short training sessions. These are more effective than one long, tedious session.

  5. Positive Reinforcement Works: Much like handing out awards for staffers who become ace phishing scam spotters, it is a great point to recognize and reward employees who follow good security practices. Such recognition does not have to be complicated or expensive. A simple public pat on the back will acknowledge employees who consistently demonstrate good security habits, and this motivates others and reinforces the desired behavior.

  6. Communication is Key: Creating a culture of open communication about security concerns should be a primary takeaway. Employees are more likely to report suspicious activity if they feel comfortable raising concerns. Make it clear that there's no punishment for asking questions or reporting suspicious activity. This fosters a culture of open communication and helps identify potential threats before they become problems.

By implementing these strategies, you can cultivate a company culture where cybersecurity isn't just a checkbox exercise, but a genuine concern for everyone. Remember, a secure organization starts with a security-conscious workforce.



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