Employee Cybersecurity Training: What Not to Do

Cybersecurity is one of the most important factors for protecting your business from hackers, viruses, and malware that could end up costing your company hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, only 31% of respondents to a survey said they receive annual company-wide employee cybersecurity training or updates from their employer. 

Even receiving just one employee cybersecurity training annually is not enough. Here are six common mistakes employers make during employee cybersecurity training.

Mistake #1: Making Training Singular Events

If the employee cybersecurity training at your company consists of one annual event that goes over the same non-updated material as the year before, your company needs to rethink its strategy. 

For effective cybersecurity training, sessions should be frequent, engaging, and up to date on events. Frequent training is much more effective because the vital information shared will stay fresh in employees’ minds instead of allowing cobwebs to build up during the 12 months between annual training.

Mistake #2: Relying on a Video to Deliver Employee Cybersecurity Training

Another common “training method” is to just leave the teaching to a training video—an unattached method that leaves employees feeling that while cybersecurity is an important issue, it’s somehow not relevant to them and their day-to-day responsibilities. Video training also typically leaves employees with many unanswered questions and even unclear instructions or information.

Mistake #3: Teaching Textbook Definitions

Simply teaching employees, “this is what a hacker is, this is what a virus looks like,” and so on will not do much to boost a company’s cybersecurity. Instead, employees should be taught to prevent, identify, and take action against threats. 

The more knowledge employees are armed with, the better chances that a company’s cybersecurity efforts will be successful. Remember, your employees are on the front lines and can often be your first defense against hackers, viruses, and suspicious activity. The more they know, the better.

Mistake #4: Not Asking for Feedback for Employee Input

A presentation where a fellow employee gives a spiel on cybersecurity for an hour and then dismisses staff to return to work will not cut it. How will you know what dangers commonly and currently threaten your company if you don’t hear from your employees firsthand what cyber threats they face daily? Be sure to end all training sessions with a Q&A session so employees can get direct and immediate answers to their questions and provide feedback. Another option is to send out a post-training survey to gather feedback.

Mistake #5: Using Content That Is Not Engaging

Don’t give employees the chance to tune out. To combat this, you must deliver a memorable, interactive training that will leave a lasting impact. Enable discussion among peers and with the trainer. 

Learning as part of a conversation where employees feel their questions are answered and their ideas are valued is an excellent way to ensure employees remember what they learned and get direct answers or suggestions for any cybersecurity issues they may be running into.

Mistake #6: Expecting Employees to Become IT Experts

You should expect employees to do all they can to prevent and identify cybersecurity threats according to their ability and knowledge. What you can’t expect is for non-IT specialist employees to become IT experts. It’s important that all cybersecurity training materials should be broken down into a manner that the layman can understand and execute. 

When you include too many technical terms details, you risk employees not being able to remember the most important portions of the training. Simplify the approach by focusing on actionable advice the employees can actually use. Non-IT-employees should not be expected to understand how ransomware and malware operate, but they can be expected to learn how to identify and prevent core security risks. When you focus on what’s most useful, you will make it a lot easier for the employees to take the proper steps when they do encounter potential cybersecurity threats.

In order for cybersecurity training to be effective and offer an organization the utmost protection, keep the following in mind:

  • You should conduct cybersecurity training year-round, not just once a year.
  • Use engaging exercises and challenges that employ procedural knowledge.
  • The training should also include feedback and a two-way conversation between the trainer and the employees.

For more information on effective employee cybersecurity practices and for all of your managed IT services needs, contact AxiaTP today.