30th August 2022

What is cyber security awareness training?

Security awareness training is an information program designed to improve individuals' understanding about cyber threats in addition to techniques to identify and avoid them. As members of an organisation, it is important that all staff understand the role they play in maintaining proper cyber hygiene. The aim is to reduce the risk of a successful cyber attack.

Cyber awareness training

Introduction to cyber security awareness training courses

Most awareness programs start by making an initial assessment and then using that to develop the training program to address the weakest topics. The breadth and depth of the program can be tailored to suit the needs of the business and the expertise of the trainees. Many programs are now delivered online or via e-learning.

Why cyber security awareness training is important

The internet is a powerful tool to enable all manner of information gathering and transactions (business and personal). However, there are individuals and groups who use it as a vehicle to attack others and steal from them. Anyone using the internet is a potential target for criminals, and cyber security awareness should be a part of their defence.

Importance of cyber security awareness training for employees

A modern business typically uses the internet for almost every transaction and typically involves sums of money larger than for any individual. The potential gain for a criminal is much higher. At the same time, the transactions generally are undertaken by potentially untrained individuals and therefore businesses - and the staff within them - are the most lucrative targets.

Benefits of cyber security awareness training

There are several benefits but the primary by far is the massive reduction of risk of loss to the organisation or the individual. Loss can mean many things but the two primary factors are financial and reputation loss.

Cyber security awareness training modules and topics

There are many terms that are sometimes used interchangeably, although some do have subtly different implications.

Cyber risk awareness training

Risk awareness means understanding the likelihood of a successful attack. It involves assessing the chances of a particular attack vector happening, the extent of vulnerability within the organisation, the effectiveness of any protections that are or that could be deployed, the damage that would be caused by an attack, and so forth.

Cyber threat awareness training

Threat awareness describes an understanding of the types of attacks that are or could be launched against you or your business. By understanding the threat vectors, one can build defences against them.

Cyber safety awareness training

Cyber safety is a term to describe how well-equipped a particular individual or organisation is in operating online. It measures the safe and responsible use of modern internet-enabled devices. If you are cybersafe, you understand the risks and have put identification and prevention mechanisms in place to minimise the chances of a successful attack.

Cyber security phishing awareness training

Phishing is currently the primary attack vector, either by itself or when coupled with other attack vectors. Training to identify and defend against this vector is a core part of most awareness training programmes.

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack where the attacker pretends to be a trusted authority and convinces the victim to reduce their defences in some way. It is often used to steal user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers, or to click on a malicious link. Phishing may be an attack in itself or part of a much bigger organised attack.

Cyber security employee awareness training

Employee awareness training refers specifically to an awareness training programme within an organisation. The trainees are the employees within the business. In some cases, the programme would be tailored such that topics were emphasised to meet the roles of specific groups of employees.

Cyber security awareness training and simulation

A technique used to understand the current level of vulnerability to a range of threats is to launch a simulated attack. Such an attack follows the normal patterns of a malicious attack but the perpetrators are instead working on behalf of the victim and do not end in a criminal act. This is similar to the concept of ethical hacking.

Cyber security awareness training for employees

Why cyber security awareness training for employees

Many businesses choose to run a training program for their employees as a protection strategy. In some cases this is advantageous or mandatory from an insurance perspective. The reason is that the sums of money transacted by a business, and the commensurate losses that might be suffered are generally large and a successful attack would have a big impact on other organisations.

Employees at financial institutions

Financial institutions are economic centres where very large sums of money are routinely transacted all the time. They are generally also big employers. These are the most valuable targets because of the potential for stealing very large sums from them and because there are so many employees, any one of which could make a mistake and weaken or breach their defences.

Employees at small businesses

There are a very large number of small businesses in operation, so collectively their net value is high. Individually, however, they typically do not deploy sophisticated threat prevention technologies, many are expensive and the value in the business does not justify the expense. Nevertheless, such organisations are just as vulnerable and valuable to an attacker to low-scale attacks such as phishing and cyber awareness is still an effective prevention mechanism.

The best cyber security awareness training for employees

Flex IT offers an online training program for businesses. The initial step is a gap analysis by each employee to evaluate their current level of awareness, after which they are enrolled on specific training programs. Performance is measured and fed back. The entire program is delivered by email and forms a part of the security awareness for the business.

Cyber security awareness training tips

The benefit of a training plan is to keep levels of awareness high and to ensure that weak areas are having focus. So don't cheat the programme, because it defeats the object. Don't be afraid of having a low score, attackers take advantage of human nature so a low score is where most people start. Do treat the sessions as a learning opportunity, listen to and follow the feedback from the training sessions, the recommendations have been created following substantial research into behaviour techniques and attack patterns.

Annual cyber security awareness training

Many security programs involve an annual cycle. Some have a formal refresher training session once per year, sometimes as part of central evaluation or continuous improvement system. Cyber Essentials calls for refresher sessions on a planned schedule, often annually.

Here's a link to our Cyber Essentials article.

Cyber security awareness training certificate

Some training programmes provide for certification. Some programmes include a certificate to confirm that an organisation has engaged on a regular training program. Some offer certification based on performance during an assessment, such are generally tied into exit assessment from fixed-term training or 'high performer this month'. Some industries and organisations offer professional certification programmes that are essential for some jobs.

Free cyber awareness training

The internet holds many things and there are free awareness training resources available. As a qualifier, however, as with any resource on the internet, it may not be what it seems. Many resources will be teasers, leading to an invitation to engage in a paid service. Some may be old, offering outdated advice; some may even be malicious. We recommend to engage with a recognised professional body offering an awareness programme - talk to us.

Details of the program

Cyber security education training and awareness online training

Flex IT offers an online training programme for business clients. After enrolment, each attendee is provided an initial assessment questionnaire, establishing a gap analysis to prioritise the forthcoming programme. The candidate is then sent email notifications of enrolment into the program components. Subsequent refresher sessions are notified by email and delivered online. Results are collected and collated by the service and provides a report to the security manager for review.

Cyber security awareness training for employees cost

Our cyber security awareness programme is available online. Fees are based on number of enrolled members and charged monthly for as long as the programme lasts.