What is cyber security training essential for organisations?

2024 03 27 · 4 min read

Gartner’s report on cyber security predictions in 2023-2024 reveals that despite knowing the risks, over 90% of employees engage in insecure actions during work activities. 

Even in the peak of information security, the human factor still remains a weak link, underscoring the urgent need for companies to prioritise investments in cyber security training. 

This is why we present you with a step-by-step guide to information security training that uncovers its purpose, types, possible challenges, and more. Read the full piece to learn more! 

What is cyber security training?

Cyber security training contains a comprehensive approach to educating employees of organisations on the latest best practices, techniques, and tools to safeguard their digital assets, sensitive data, and intricate systems from many cyber threats in today’s interconnected landscape. From sophisticated hacking attempts to insidious malware infections, cunning phishing schemes, and manipulative social engineering tactics, the breadth of cyber threats necessitates a thorough understanding and proactive defence strategy.  

Moreover, cyber security training provides employees with the know-how to identify vulnerabilities, set up solid security measures, and handle cyber-attacks effectively. In simple terms, it helps reduce risks and stay resilient against evolving threats by promoting security awareness and giving employees the necessary skills and knowledge. 

Why is cyber security training important? 

Cyber security training is essential in today’s digital world due to the rising complexity of cyber threats and our growing dependence on technology, both personally and professionally. Its importance can be explained through several reasons: 

  • Data protection. Employees often handle sensitive information, and understanding how to safeguard this data is essential. Training ensures that individuals know the best data protection and privacy practices; 
  • Prevention of insider threats. Employees can unintentionally or maliciously pose security risks. Security awareness training educates individuals about the potential consequences of their actions, helping prevent insider threats; 
  • Compliance. Many organisations are subject to data protection and cyber security regulations. Awareness training ensures employees understand and comply with these regulations, avoiding legal and financial consequences; 
  • Security hygiene. Basic security practices, such as strong passwords, always updated software, and potential security threat recognition, are crucial for maintaining a secure environment. Cyber security training reinforces these fundamental habits; 
  • Impact mitigation. Educated employees can identify and report security incidents promptly. This early detection can significantly reduce the impact and potential damage caused by a cyber attack; 
  • Cultural shift towards security. Establishing a culture of cyber security within an organisation fosters a collective responsibility for security. Training helps create a mindset where employees understand their role in maintaining a secure environment; 
  • Adaptation to evolving threats. Cyber threats constantly evolve, and new attack methods emerge regularly. Regular security training informs employees about the latest threats and equips them with the knowledge to adapt their behaviour accordingly; 
  • Protection of reputation. A security incident can harm an organisation’s reputation. Cyber security awareness training allows employees to clearly understand the potential impact of their actions on the organisation’s image and encourages responsible behaviour; 
  • Cost savings. Investing in cyber security awareness training is often more cost-effective than dealing with the consequences of a security breach. Training helps prevent incidents that could result in financial losses, legal actions, and negative impact on the organisation’s reputation. 

Organisations can fortify their defences against emerging threats and mitigate the potentially devastating consequences of cyber attacks by empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills to navigate the complex cyber landscape. 

Cyber criminals are highly adaptable and continuously evolve tactics to exploit new vulnerabilities and bypass security measures. Cyber security training is a proactive and essential part of a solid cyber security strategy that enables a more resilient and secure organisational environment. 

How often should cyber security training be conducted?  

The frequency of cyber security training can vary depending on factors such as industry regulations, organisational policies, and the evolving threat landscape. Regular and recurring training sessions are crucial to inform employees about the evolving threat landscape and ensure they understand and follow best practices.   

The suggested frequency is once a year for general training and more often for additional deep-dive sessions. It is essential to mention that all companies, regardless of industry, that handle sensitive data are at risk and must prioritize cyber security. Ensuring employees across various sectors are well-trained and updated on the latest threats, vulnerabilities, and security measures is essential for building a robust defence against cyber threats. A proactive cyber security culture not only safeguards sensitive information but also contributes to the overall resilience of the organization in the face of evolving cyber security challenges. 

Who provides cyber security training? 

In general, cyber security training is provided by various entities, each providing distinct perspectives, expertise, and resources to address the evolving challenges of cyber threats. Here are a few examples: 

  • In-house security team. Many organisations have internal training departments or dedicated cyber security teams responsible for developing and delivering training programs tailored to their needs and requirements; 
  • Third-party training providers. Businesses may also engage third-party training providers specialising in cyber security education. These providers offer a wide range of courses, workshops, and certification programs designed to address different skill levels and areas of expertise; 
  • Industry associations and non-profit organisations. Industry associations and non-profit organisations often offer cybersecurity training and resources to their members or the public. These initiatives may include webinars, seminars, conferences, and online learning platforms to raise awareness and enhance cyber security knowledge. 

Regardless of the training provider, ensuring they have certified cyber security experts is crucial. Below, we outline key certifications to consider when selecting a training provider. 

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). Globally recognised for expertise in designing, implementing, and managing cyber security programs; 
  • CompTIA Security+. Entry-level certification covering foundational cyber security concepts and practices; 
  • Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). It focuses on ethical hacking techniques, penetration testing, and vulnerability identification; 
  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM). This demonstrates expertise in developing and managing information security programs; 
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). It validates skills in auditing, controlling, and assessing information technology and business systems. 

These certifications carry significant recognition and respect within the cyber security industry, greatly enhancing career prospects and professional credibility for individuals aiming to progress in cyber security. 

What are security awareness training types? 

Considering the broad cyber security landscape and the unique requirements of organisations, security training providers must tailor programs to individual needs. Various types of cyber security training cater to different audiences and objectives: 

  • General awareness training. Provides basic knowledge about common cyber threats, best practices for cyber security, and how to recognise and respond to potential risks. It is typically aimed at all employees within an organisation to promote a baseline level of security awareness; 
  • Technical training. This training, such as password security or mobile security training, focuses on developing technical skills and expertise in network security, cryptography, penetration testing, and incident response. It is geared towards IT professionals, cyber security specialists, and technical staff responsible for managing and securing digital systems and networks; 
  • Role-based training. Customised training programs are designed for specific job roles, such as executives, IT administrators, developers, or customer service representatives. This training focuses on each role’s unique cybersecurity challenges and responsibilities; 
  • Data protection and privacy training. It educates individuals on properly handling and protecting sensitive data, emphasising compliance with privacy regulations and organisational policies; 
  • Secure remote work training. This addresses security considerations when working remotely, including using secure networks, VPNs, and best practices for protecting sensitive information outside the office environment; 
  • Incident response training. It helps to prepare individuals and teams to effectively respond to cyber security incidents, including data breaches, malware infections, and cyber attacks. It involves developing incident response plans, conducting tabletop exercises, and providing hands-on training to enhance readiness and resilience; 
  • Ethical hacking training. This training enables individuals to think like hackers and identify vulnerabilities in digital systems through authorised penetration testing and ethical hacking techniques. It is valuable for security professionals seeking to enhance their offensive security skills and protect against cyber threats; 
  • Phishing awareness training. It focuses on recognising and avoiding phishing attempts, including email, social engineering, and other deceptive tactics used by cyber criminals to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information; 
  • Social engineering awareness. Attackers use target-specific tactics to manipulate individuals into divulging confidential information. This training may include awareness about pretexting, baiting, quid pro quo, and other social engineering techniques; 
  • Third-party security awareness. It focuses on the security risks associated with third-party vendors and the importance of vetting and monitoring their security practices to ensure the organisation’s overall security. 

By implementing these practices, organisations can strengthen their cyber security defences and minimise the occurrence of security incidents. Regular, well-planned training sessions contribute to building a resilient workforce capable of recognising and mitigating cyber security threats. 

What are the common challenges faced in cyber security training?  

As cyber criminals always evolve, and cyber threats become even more advanced, cyber security training providers should be aware of some possible and prevalent challenges. Below, we present several challenges that warrant attention: 

  • Firstly, keeping pace with the rapidly evolving landscape of threats and technologies can be challenging. This requires continuous updates to training content to ensure its relevance and effectiveness; 
  • Secondly, engaging employees and fostering a culture that prioritises security awareness can be difficult. It demands creative approaches to make training sessions stimulating and memorable; 
  • Additionally, securing executive buy-in and allocating sufficient resources to training initiatives can be obstacles, as cyber security may not always be perceived as a top priority; 
  • Another common challenge is overcoming resistance to change or complacency among employees. Some may resist adopting new security protocols or underestimate the seriousness of potential threats; 
  • Lastly, measuring the effectiveness of training programs can be challenging, as it is often difficult to quantify the impact of training on reducing cyber security risks and incidents. 

Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach that involves proactive planning, effective communication, and ongoing evaluation of training efforts. 

How can organisations measure the effectiveness of security training?  

Any kind of training serves as the initial step in acquiring knowledge on specific topics. Subsequently, putting that knowledge into practice and evaluating its implementation is crucial. When it comes to cyber security training, organisations can measure its effectiveness through several methods: 

  • Assessment tests. Administering pre-training and post-training assessments to evaluate knowledge gained and identify areas of improvement. This helps gauge the extent to which employees have absorbed the training content; 
  • Simulation exercises. Conducting fake cyber attacks or phishing attack simulations to test employees’ ability to recognise and respond to real-world threats. This provides hands-on experience and assesses the practical application of learned skills; 
  • Feedback surveys. Soliciting employee feedback to gather insights on the training content, delivery methods, and overall effectiveness. Also, analysing feedback helps identify strengths and areas for improvement in the training program; 
  • Performance metrics. Monitoring KPIs related to cyber security, such as incident response times, malware detection rates, and employee compliance with security policies. Improvements in these metrics indicate the effectiveness of the training; 
  • Incident response evaluation. Assessing the organisation’s response to cyber security incidents before and after training to determine if there is a reduction in the frequency or severity of incidents. This indicates the training outcomes in improving incident response capabilities; 
  • Employee behaviour changes. Observing changes in employee behaviour, such as increased adherence to security protocols, a heightened awareness of cyber threats, and proactive reporting of suspicious activities. Positive behavioural changes demonstrate the impact of the training on cyber security posture; 
  • Compliance audits. Regularly conducting compliance audits is essential to ensure alignment with regulatory requirements and industry standards. Compliance with cyber security regulations serves as an indicator of the training’s impact on meeting regulatory obligations. 

By employing these methods, employees can effectively measure the impact of cyber security training and identify areas for continuous improvement to enhance overall cyber security readiness. 

Cyber security training equips individuals with the knowledge and skills to navigate the complex landscape of cyber threats, ultimately enhancing organisational resilience and reducing the risk of cyber attacks. Organisations can fortify their defences and adapt to the evolving cyber security landscape with confidence by prioritising employees’ cyber awareness and investing in comprehensive training programs. 

Interested in discussing your case? Let our security team guide you in choosing and implementing the tailored information security training for your employees. Contact us now. 

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