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How Security Awareness Trainings Can Protect Your Organization



The global pandemic has exposed the possibilities of working from home for millions of people. But behind the new comfortable lifestyle, the threat landscape has also changed. Cyber ​​attackers started to leap almost instantly as the human factor has always been one of the most common reasons for their success.

Safety awareness and employee training have become an essential part of the daily work routine. Today, more and more companies want to organize cybersecurity training for their teams and are looking for the most effective means to do so. Let’s take a closer look at the essential aspects of security awareness training that can help protect your business from cyber threats.

When it comes to cybersecurity training, it all boils down to two points:

1) Basic training for all employees

2) Additional training of IT teams

Both should be done first as part of the onboarding process and then continuously every year or even often.

Basic training

General training must be organized for all employees within the company. This can also apply to contractors who have access to your IT ecosystem.

The training covers the following aspects:

  • Company security policies and procedures
  • Protection of personal data
  • Phishing awareness training
  • Essential cybersecurity for teleworkers
  • Personal online security

The goal here is to train the right mindset and the right skills. You have to be patient and persevering. The results will come with time.

First, you need to define the areas to focus on. You can conduct a brief survey of the team and collect statistics on the level of awareness. This will help you determine where exactly the gaps are. After defining the training program, you need to choose the format. It could be recorded videos or podcasts, posters in the office break room, live presentations offline or online, etc.

Finally, determining how you are going to monitor your progress is crucial to ensure that the training is going in the right direction and at the right pace. You need to understand what specific results you hope to achieve, what success will be for you in this case.

Training of software development teams

For your IT services, it is a good idea to supplement general training with additional training. It should focus on awareness of threats, risks and best practices in application security. Such training should also include the fundamentals of the Secure Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC).

The initial algorithm is the same as for general training. You need to analyze the current level of awareness and skills, plan the training, choose the tools you will use, and define how progress will be tracked. Below are some helpful tips for doing so.

1. Start with the fundamentals of application security

This training covers high level information on Secure SDLC and Top 10 vulnerabilities OWASP will lay a solid foundation for secure development principles. Basic training should also introduce teams to the basics of safe design. It is important to organize this training for all members of the software development team.

2. Added role-based application security training

Now is the time to deepen your team’s knowledge with a good technical understanding of the OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities and the most common remediation strategies for each issue.

At this point, team members should take different types of application security training depending on their role. Developers are trained in coding standards and the technologies with which they interact. Testers are trained to know how to identify security flaws and what tools can be used to do so. Product managers receive training on topics related to Secure SDLC security practices.

It is also important to add practical tasks where possible to make the training more illustrative.

3. External purchases vs. development of internal training

All forms of training programs can be conducted internally or externally. Internal sessions are provided by internal specialists. Seniors train juniors. But, generally, experts of this rank are busy with their own regular activities and find it difficult to allocate time. Additionally, the expertise of someone who already works at your organization level may be insufficient to create a comprehensive cybersecurity awareness course.

External training from third party specialists can be a good alternative. It gives you the opportunity to learn from industry influencers and highly skilled experts. They can also reveal new approaches that you might not have considered before. However, the average cost may be higher.

If you decide to use external training, it makes sense to pay attention to aspects such as the quality of the content, the reporting capabilities, the ease of administration and of course the price.

You can do a power move and develop basic training in-house and purchase external training for more advanced levels. This will surely maximize your results.

4. Indicators, metrics and reports

If you want to be effective, you need to know where you are, and how much and how quickly you need to do it. Security awareness surveys and assessments are essential for you and your team. They help your business understand how content and learning resonate with people and allow your team members to assess their progress.

5. Make your security awareness training an ongoing process

Most organizations organize training at least once a year. It’s a good habit, but the current situation in the world indicates that it may not be enough. Today, you must maintain a culture of information security. You need to make security awareness an ongoing process. The format of small engaging missions on the portal or in the form of short videos delivered frequently helps to maintain safety awareness throughout the journey.

You can also take advantage of social engineering practice tests where employees will have to decide what to do in certain situations (warn the responsible party, ignore the malicious link or follow it, etc.). These actions will determine if the organization is at risk for cybersecurity incidents. However, make sure you don’t push these tests too often.

Final thoughts

Cyber ​​security awareness training is essential to the sustainability of businesses. But you have to keep in mind that no type of training is a quick fix. Thus, it is essential to understand that these trainings must be an integral part of the company’s processes and be carried out on a regular basis. Implement them step by step and continuously work on raising awareness among all employees in your organization.

Dmytro Tereshchenko, Head of the Information Security Department, Sigma Software Group



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