How to Create Cybersecurity Training for Employees: 10 Steps
🍿 5 min. read
In a world threatened by cyberattacks, the importance of cybersecurity training for employees can’t be overstated. With the average breach costing companies over $9 million, companies must take action to avoid risk. Read on to discover the essential steps that will safeguard your business and empower your workforce in the face of evolving threats.
🔍 What you’ll find in this post
Why is cybersecurity training for employees important?
Cybersecurity training for employees may not be on the top of your list of priorities, but consider this: Mecklenberg County officials in North Carolina received a ransom note from a hacker, threatening to bring the county to a standstill if it didn’t pay a ransom of $23,000.
The county refused, the attack went through, and the most populated metro area in North Carolina was reeled back into the 20th century, relying on paper records and processing for permits, jail intakes, court cases, and every other function of county government. A measly 44 of the county’s 500 servers were breached, but the cost to the county was estimated in the millions.
IBM’s 2022 report found that the average data breach cost $9.44 million. In healthcare? The average cost in that industry skyrockets to $10.10 million.
While 83% of companies will experience a data breach (or multiple), early identification and containment can help. The same IBM report found a $1 million savings for companies who identified and contained a breach in 200 days or less.
With the speed of business today, cybersecurity training for employees is important to prevent attacks from taking place, but also for knowing how to identify and report when they do occur.
Who needs cybersecurity training in my workforce?
The answer to this question is simple: if an employee touches a computer, tablet, or smartphone, they need cybersecurity training. So, everyone (mostly).
In the Mecklenberg attack, hackers used primarily email attachments to install ransomware on the county’s computers. However, more and more data breaches are happening in the cloud, about 45% according to the IBM report.
How to create effective cybersecurity training for employees
Creating an effective cybersecurity training for employees starts at the top and is meaningful, just-in-time, and ongoing. Here are ten steps for training employees on cybersecurity best practices, and putting your cybersecurity training plan in place.
1. Get executive buy-in
Play the numbers: the costs of cybersecurity awareness training are worth the ROI when it comes to protecting your customers, their data, and your company’s proprietary information.
It may be as simple as pulling together the statistics on the costs of cybersecurity training versus the costs of rebuilding your reputation and customer base after an attack. Focus on hard numbers and tailor your pitch to leadership knowing your company’s needs.
2. Take a broad view, and then evaluate your company’s weak points
When designing cybersecurity training courses for your company, look at the overall security already in place, and then consider the weakest points in your system.
Are there gaps in security when it comes to payment processing? Inter-office emails? Uploading files to the cloud or another public file storage program? Attachments and document security? Figure out the weakest link and focus the start of your course design there.
3. Figure out what employees already know
Don’t waste employees’ time (and your own) teaching them what they already know.
Work with your cybersecurity training developers to evaluate employee awareness before sending everyone to the same training.
👉Learn more: A high-quality training needs analysis can help you figure out what employees already know, and what they need to learn to protect your business.
4. Use microlearning and at-hand resources
Chances are good that your company already has training resources at hand. Don’t reinvent the wheel. If your employees respond best to online training, don’t shuffle them into a room and make them stare at a four-hour presentation.
Utilize the principles of microlearning to deliver essential small bites of information that address the most vital cybersecurity tips for employees.
5. Train employees about email and phone phishing scams
Get specific when it comes to current phishing scams via phone and email.
Even the most well-informed employees may not be completely up-to-date on every scam that comes down the pike. Microlearning can come in handy here, too. Nearly 91% of cyber attacks start with an email. Teach employees how to protect themselves (and the company!).
6. Standardize a company-wide process for updating passwords
Do you want employees to change passwords every 30 days? Should each password have a capital letter, a special character, and eight or more characters total? What about two factor authentication (2FA)?
Set the standard, and make sure the entire company knows what it is, and create automatic processes that force them to update their passwords.
7. Use personal examples
In a company of any size, chances are good that one or more employees have been the victim of some form of identity theft or cyberattack.
Make your cybersecurity training personal by having willing employees share their experiences, tying them back into protecting the company, too. From Uber to Equifax, everyone is vulnerable.
8. Make it real-time
Your company can also create simulated cyberattacks for each department of your company. These “live-fire” training exercises can sharpen cybersecurity awareness and get everyone ready if the time comes when it’s not just a drill.
Evaluate employee response to the drill and adjust your training accordingly.
👉Discover more: Find the most powerful benefits of on-the-job training for your workforce
9. Train early, train often
Start cybersecurity training for employees during the onboarding process as an integral part of joining the company.
This can help you identify new employees’ levels of awareness and tailor training to their needs. Check in as they integrate into the workforce, with ongoing refreshers.
10. Make it an ongoing, team effort
Cybersecurity awareness training isn’t just an annual proposition, or a single course you roll out once.
Similar to a regular software upgrade, cybersecurity training should be an ongoing, team effort that takes into account changes in the industry, the world, and the ever-evolving tools of the hackers.
Find help for your cybersecurity training plan
If it’s time to roll out more robust cybersecurity training, get in touch with EdgePoint Learning to talk about your training plan and needs.
We have a dedicated team who are up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity developments and training methods. From strategy to roll-out, we’re here to help.