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7 Benefits Of Security Awareness Training

Arooj Anwar
By: Arooj Anwar Awareness training | 16 October

In this blog post we’ll cover 7 reasons why security awareness training is important and what a good training program should look like. Awareness training is not just a compliance box to tick; it's the key to changing your organization's cybersecurity culture. With the right training, you can make your team aware of cyber threats and reduce those costly human errors that often lead to data breaches. An astounding 74% of data breaches in 2023 involved a human element. Read on to discover the importance of awareness training. 

What is security awareness training?  

Let's break it down—it's a crucial part of your company's cybersecurity plan. 

When done right, it teaches employees about online safety risks and how to spot and handle potential threats. Security awareness training helps organizations lower the chances of data breaches, viruses getting into their systems, and falling for scams like phishing. 

By giving employees the know-how to stay safe online, you can keep their information secure and protected from cyberattacks.  

What are the key features of a successful security awareness training program? 

An effective security awareness training program has several key characteristics that make it successful in teaching employees how to protect against cybersecurity threats. Here's what it typically looks like: 

Engaging Content

The training offers engaging and easy-to-understand content. It avoids jargon and technical language, making it accessible to employees with varying levels of technical expertise. 

Continuous Delivery

Rather than delivering all the training at once, it's delivered over time. This can be done through short, regular sessions to avoid overwhelming employees with too much information. 

Reporting Mechanisms

Employees are educated in how to report security incidents or suspicious activities promptly. There should be clear and easy-to-follow reporting procedures. 

Regular Updates

The training content is updated regularly to keep pace with evolving cyber threats and technologies. It ensures that employees are equipped to deal with the latest challenges. 

Management Support

Senior leadership actively supports the training program, emphasizing its importance to the organization. This support encourages employee participation and commitment. 

What can go wrong without security awareness training?  

Cybersecurity awareness training serves as a fundamental building block for an organization's digital safety and compliance efforts. It empowers employees with the knowledge and skills needed to understand digital risks and safeguard against them. But if companies don't give this training to their employees, it's like leaving a big gap in their defense. Let's delve into the potential consequences that may arise in the absence of such training: 

  • Increased Vulnerability: Without training, employees are more vulnerable to common security threats like phishing and malware, making it easier for cybercriminals to breach systems. 
  • Data Breaches: Lack of awareness can lead to unintentional data breaches, exposing sensitive information, damaging reputation, and financial losses. 
  • Poor Password Practices: Employees may use weak passwords, increasing the risk of unauthorized access to accounts and systems. 
  • Unreported Incidents: Security incidents may go unnoticed or unreported, allowing attackers to cause further damage by going undetected. 
  • Compliance Violations: Organizations could unknowingly violate regulatory requirements, leading to legal and financial repercussions. 

The absence of security awareness training heightens the risk of security breaches, data loss, and compliance issues, potentially resulting in financial and reputational damage.  

7 benefits of security awareness training 

Security used to be straightforward - just remember a strong password, and you were secure. However, in the face of evolving cyber threats, the landscape has changed significantly. In this section, we'll explore 7 benefits security awareness training.

Protects sensitive data

One of the biggest reasons why you need awareness training is to protect sensitive data. Cyber criminals often target companies to steal valuable information such as customer data, trade secrets, and financial information. Employees need to be trained in how to protect this data, including the use of strong passwords, how to detect and avoid phishing scams and how to securely store and share sensitive information. Protecting personal data is even more critical now that companies must comply with regulations like the GDPR.  

Educates employees on security threats

Not everyone knows about the variety of security threats your organization faces daily. Security awareness training educates employees about these threats. When employees understand the impact of security threats, they make better decisions. Recognizing IT security threats on time is crucial. For example, if an employee who hasn't had security training clicks on a phishing link and only realizes the mistake later, they might not realize how important it is to report it quickly. Employees who know about the risks tend to make smarter choices because of their training.

Builds a security-focused culture 

Building a culture of security is a big deal. It means that security becomes a priority for everyone in the organization. Security awareness training helps with this by teaching employees their roles and responsibilities. It shifts their mindset from "someone else's problem" to "my problem." This makes them more likely to take proactive steps to protect sensitive data and report anything unusual. 

A woman trying free awareness courses on her computer

Supports incident response 

In the event of a security incident, a quick and effective response is crucial. Security awareness training equips employees with the knowledge and skills to respond promptly and correctly. This can minimize the impact and recovery time of such incidents. When everyone knows their roles and responsibilities, it can be the difference between a minor incident and a major disaster. 

Helps meet compliance requirements 

Security awareness training plays a role in helping companies meet their compliance requirements. It does so by educating employees about industry rules and data protection laws, encouraging them to follow company policies, and teaching them the right way to handle data. The training keeps evolving to keep up with changing rules, ensuring that companies stay compliant. For instance, companies subject to the GDPR learn to prioritize the protection of personal data, reducing legal risks and strengthening their commitment to data privacy. 

Reduces human error 

Human error is a leading cause of security incidents. Human error, often unintentional and non-malicious actions by employees, is a significant contributor to security incidents within organizations. These errors can range from clicking on a phishing email link to mishandling sensitive data. Employees are less likely to make such costly security mistakes if they've received proper training. This can save your organization a lot of money, as security breaches often come with hefty costs 

Increases Customer Confidence 

Customers are becoming more aware of the dangers of cyber threats. To maintain trust, you should take steps to show you can protect against such risks. Companies can lose even their most loyal customers and suffer blows to their business reputation after a data breach puts consumer information at risk. According to IBM's Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022, the average cost of lost business due to a data breach is $1.42 million USD. When customers see that a business is actively addressing cybersecurity, they'll have more confidence in that company and will be more willing to do business with it. 

By implementing security awareness training, you establish a protective barrier that separates cybercriminals from potential victims. This barrier is necessary to reduce the potential risks and negative impact on your business. Check out this blogpost for 11 tips on making awareness training enjoyable for your employees. 

How often should security awareness training be conducted? 

To achieve the best results, security awareness training should be delivered continuously in small, easily digestible amounts, often referred to as microlearning. The traditional "once-a-year security awareness program" is now considered outdated and ineffective for achieving lasting improvements in your organization's security culture.

At CyberPilot we make it easy to set up continuous training courses and provide tools for your admins to easily track and monitor progress. Knowing what the ideal frequency is for awareness training can be confusing, which is why we encourage you to take a look at our comprehensive blog post about the recommended training course plans, we share tips on how often to conduct training, and guidance on how you can customize courses to match your specific needs.   

What topics should security awareness training cover? 

Security awareness training should cover a range of topics to ensure that employees are well-informed to protect an organization from various security risks and threats. You can find inspiration for these topics in our course catalogue. 

Here is a list of essential topics that we think should be included in security awareness training courses:  

Gaining the benefits of awareness training with CyberPilot 

In conclusion, security awareness training is incredibly important for your organization. It helps protect your business from cyber threats caused by employee mistakes. For the best results, this training should be ongoing and cover various security topics. 

If you're interested in implementing cybersecurity awareness training across your company, you can start with a free 14-day trial with us at CyberPilot. We offer continuous training and resources to help defend your business against employee-related security threats. 

By prioritizing cybersecurity, you not only strengthen your organization but also build trust with your customers. This trust can make a significant difference to your business's success.