Over the past two years, in light of the rise of hybrid and full-time remote workers, organizations have renewed their interest in employee cybersecurity training. With all of the cybercrime trends pointing to more frequent and costly incidents and data breaches, there’s a real incentive to make sure your training is effective. But unfortunately, it can be difficult to achieve the goal, especially from a distance.
For example, during training, you need to keep your employees engaged and motivated to pay attention. After all, you want them to maintain a reasonably high level of cyber hygiene after being trained. Ultimately, if you lose your employees’ interest in training, they will also be much less motivated to help you protect your digital assets. In this article, we look at some of the key elements that make an “awesome” e-learning program.
The Components of a Successful Safety Training Program
For your employees to remember and practice what they’ve learned, you need to make training scary, fun, exciting, and competitive, all at the same time. Here are some techniques you can use:
Use the principles of gamification
As the name suggests, make your training a game. In other words, it’s like completing a puzzle. You put some things in, but then you motivate your employees to put in the rest. First, you must present to them what you want to teach. For example, it could be ransomware. In this case, you explain to them how this threat variant actually plays out (no need to go into all the technical details here – if you do, you’ll lose them instantly). Then you engage your employees in simulation exercises to further engage their interest. To motivate them even more, you award recognition points and badges after they successfully complete a particular task. For example, if they successfully detected the start of an attack (like receiving a phishing email), you award them an honor badge if they take the right steps to mitigate, like deleting the email and inform the IT security team. . If you’re using gamification in your e-learning, it’s important to divide your employees into teams to foster a more collaborative environment.
Make training relevant
One of the best ways to get your employees to understand all the ramifications of a cyberattack is to talk about a real-life scenario. But to demonstrate its full impact, you need to relate it in a way that it had an impact on someone close to it, like a colleague. It will make the strongest impression if you can get the relevant colleague to come over and talk about it. For example, if an employee of your company has been the victim of identity theft, perhaps you can ask that person to discuss how they learned about it, the impact they had about her daily life and the steps she has taken to mitigate the risk of it happening again.
Make the trainees laugh
Yes, cybersecurity is a very serious thing, but you know what? Remember that old adage that laughter is one of the best forms of medicine? Recent studies have shown that laughter is also one of the best ways to cultivate a sense of trust and caring among your employees in order to help them learn.1 A good way to engender this is to have your employees act out various fun skits that simulate real-life security breaches. For example, you can have one play the role of a cyber attacker, while the other plays the role of an administrative assistant. This could mimic a social engineering call in which the goal is to wire a large sum of company money to a fake offshore bank account.
Use a variety of styles
One of the worst things you can do in an e-learning program is deliver a lecture-like format that buzzes endlessly. It is guaranteed to lose the interest of your employees within the first 10 minutes. Instead, mix up the training program by varying its content. For example, the first part might be a lecture on phishing emails, then a game, followed by a true story. With this type of approach, you can almost bet that your employees will come away after the training with a much better idea of how to identify a phishing email and what corrective action they should take if they receive one. .
At the end of the eLearning, one of the best ways to recap the main points is to put them in a video, which can also add more variety. It is important that this video be short, no more than 4-5 minutes. The video shouldn’t be someone just talking, it should also be engaging. For example, use cartoon characters to keep your employees interested.
It is very important to remember that e-learning is not just a done deal. You should continue to have these kinds of programs on a regular basis in order to keep your employees’ level of Cyber Hygiene at its highest level. So remember these pointers:
- Do your training sessions once a month or at least once a quarter.
- Do not keep them for more than an hour. After that, you are guaranteed to lose the attention span of your employees.
- Be sure to reinforce the concepts you have taught. For example, once in a while after completing their training, run a simulated phishing attack to see how many employees fall prey to it.
- Use metrics to quantify the ROI your business gets from training. That’s all your CIO and/or CISO will want to see, so if you can provide those kinds of numbers, you’ll have a much better chance of securing more funding for future cyber awareness programs.