Cybercriminals like to target the weakest link in companies’ security defenses — and that link is often the employees. But it does not have to be that way. Your employees can provide an important line of defense against cybercrime if you educate them about IT security. For this training to be effective, though, it needs to be engaging and well planned.
Here are six tips that can help you deliver IT security training that employees will remember:
1. Educate in Small Chunks
If you bombard employees with a lot of information all at once, they probably won’t remember most of it. A much more effective way to get people to retain information is to provide ongoing training in small chunks. For instance, you might cover phishing emails by presenting a certain amount of material each week. This way, employees will be better able to digest the information as well as fit the training into their work schedules.
2. Make the Training Personal
With cyberattacks being so rampant, your employees are likely concerned about protecting their personal smartphones, tablets, and other computing devices. A good way to get them interested in your business’s security measures is to start by discussing how they can secure their personal devices. Once employees learn good security habits at home, they will be more likely to practice them at work.
3. Make the Training Hands-On
Think back to your college or high school classes. Did you learn more in the courses in which the teacher lectured in front of the class or the ones in which you actively participated in activities? Having hands-on activities will help hold employees’ attention during the training session as well as help them remember the information afterward. The activities do not have to be elaborate. They can be as simple as presenting employees with copies of emails and having them pick out the ones that are phishing scams.
4. Include Everyone in the Training
It is important that all your employees receive basic security training. Even managers should participate in at least the basic security program. Hackers like to target managers because they tend to have access to more sensitive and valuable information. Keep in mind that some employees might need additional instruction that takes into account specific tasks related to their position.
5. Regularly Test Employees’ Security Knowledge
After employees have completed a training session, you might want to test what they have learned. For instance, if you recently covered how to spot phishing attacks, you might want to send out a fake phishing email with a suspicious link that, if clicked, leads to a safe web page containing the message “IT security training phishing exercise”. This test can reinforce what employees have learned as well as help you determine the effectiveness of the training. Afterward, you should follow up with employees, especially those that clicked the link. You do not need to embarrass or scold employees during this discussion. Instead, you can provide additional education and resources as well as answer any questions they may have.
6. Keep in Mind That Training Has Its Limitations
No matter how good your IT security training program is, there is a chance your business will fall victim to a cyberattack. Plus, there is always the risk of insider threats. For these reasons, you need to implement other security measures, such as installing anti-malware software and keeping your applications updated.