What is awareness training and why is it so important?

You can't say cybersecurity without saying awareness training. Here's an insight into what awareness training is and how it works in practice.

02-03-2022 - 5 minute read. Posted in: awareness.

What is awareness training and why is it so important?

You can't say cybersecurity without saying awareness training. Here you will get an insight into what awareness training is and how it works in practice.

In the vast majority of companies, it's not their IT systems or software applications that are the weakest link in their IT security - it's their people. Indeed, many employees are not very aware of IT security, cyber threats or all the consequences of hacking. That's where awareness training comes in.

Human error in IT security

Your employees can be your strongest or weakest defence against cyber threats. It depends on their awareness and knowledge of cyber threats. Cyber attacks are a real threat to the IT security of all businesses, so it's essential that attention is focused on avoiding becoming a victim of a cyber attack.

Human error in cyber security breaches is caused by a lack of knowledge about cyber attacks and how they are carried out, a lack of knowledge about data handling and a lack of understanding of the consequences of one's own unintentional actions.

If just one employee is inattentive and clicks on a link or downloads an attachment in an email, the entire company's IT security can be compromised in a matter of seconds.

Most companies spend resources on the technical side of IT security, such as antivirus and protection software. Often, the IT department is also given the biggest responsibility for protecting the business.

Unfortunately, this is far from enough and too few companies devote resources to the human side of IT security, which is arguably the most important.

How awareness training works

Most cyber attacks, such as ransomware attacks, are initiated with a phishing email. Ransomware attacks are usually very damaging to businesses, both financially and in terms of data. It is therefore essential for all companies to raise employee awareness of cyber threats and IT security so that they can avoid their employees falling for a phishing email.

Several companies offer awareness training and most programmes are built around phishing simulations and micro-learning. This gives employees the tools and skills in data security that are essential.

Phishing simulations

Your company can receive phishing emails designed to mimic real phishing emails. The content of these emails varies, but they are often built on the principles of social engineering. The phishing simulations train your employees to direct their attention to the email addresses and links in the emails.

In phishing emails, the email addresses often contain misplaced numbers or characters, especially in the domain name. By replacing an 'o' with a zero or swapping letters in company names, such as Goolge instead of Google, cybercriminals can easily trick unwary employees into thinking an email is from a legitimate company.

Cyber criminals can hide hyperlinks by changing the link to text, for example by writing "click here" where "here" is the link itself. They can also change the link to text that mimics a legitimate link to a website. By sending simulated phishing emails to your employees, they become familiar with the common content of phishing emails and learn the tricks that cyber criminals use to make their fake emails look legitimate.

Exercises and micro-learning

Awareness training can be seen as courses where a course consists of content and exercises that inform employees about IT security and cyber threats. The content of awareness training is in the form of micro-learning. It can be video, quizzes, training exercises, blog posts, etc. The content is educational and helps to create an understanding of what creates the best protection against cyber threats and how employees can best work in a secure manner.

Awareness training helps to create a culture around IT security among employees. Following awareness training, all employees naturally become much more aware of potential cyber threats, reducing the risk of an employee falling for a phishing email.

Optimise your company's IT security

Here at Moxso, we offer both continuous phishing simulations, adapted to your employees' level, and awareness training through micro-learning. Our awareness training consists of relevant and easy-to-understand content and exercises that teach your employees about IT security and make them experts in identifying phishing emails. Our awareness training is easy, fun and effective - and you as a company don't have to take on any administrative tasks related to the training. Signing up for our complete safety tool takes five minutes and then we take care of all communication to employees.

Our approach to IT security training is people-centred and points-based. The better employees are at identifying phishing, the more points they earn. They also earn points when they complete their training.

Our complete security tool is offered in four languages; Danish, English, Swedish and Norwegian.

Continuous phishing simulations

Our phishing simulations are AI-based and adapt to each employee's understanding of IT security and their behaviour. The severity and frequency of simulated phishing emails is dynamic and changes according to how good employees are at identifying phishing.

We also offer reporting directly in employees' email inboxes. This makes it quick and easy for employees to report emails as phishing.

Individual awareness training

Our awareness training can be seen as a form of short online courses where your employees can complete small and effective exercises and watch videos at their convenience. We are constantly creating new courses, and all future courses will be tailored to each employee to ensure they receive the best training.

Data monitoring

We offer data monitoring in the form of monitoring employee email addresses and passwords to keep an eye on whether your employees' data is being leaked in external data leaks. If there is a security breach at your company, we can notify you immediately so you can protect your data.

Statistics and evaluations

You get an overview of each employee's skills development, as we evaluate all employees when they complete their assigned courses. You can also keep an eye on your departments and see where the greatest focus on employee awareness needs to be.

Author Sofie Meyer

About the author

Sofie Meyer is a copywriter and phishing aficionado here at Moxso. She has a master´s degree in Danish and a great interest in cybercrime, which resulted in a master thesis project on phishing.

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