6 Ways to Measure Security Awareness Training and Education

Incorporating security awareness training within your organization is crucial for several reasons. Regrettably, the weakest link in organizational security often lies with employees, particularly those who lack adequate training. A single error, such as an employee unwittingly revealing their credentials through a phishing email, can result in unauthorized access to the network. This article tackles ways to measure security awareness training and education.

Implementing security awareness training is paramount for two primary reasons:

  1. Protection from Cyberattacks: By keeping employees informed about the latest cyber threats, organizations can significantly reduce their vulnerability to attacks.
  2. Cultivating a Security-Conscious Culture: Training fosters a mindset of vigilance and responsibility among employees, making security a top priority within the organization.

As cybercriminals continually devise new methods to target organizations, employees must serve as the first line of defense. Security awareness training equips them with the knowledge and skills to protect themselves and the organization against potential threats.

Who Benefits from Security Awareness Training?

Security awareness training benefits all members of an organization, regardless of their position. From the CEO to the receptionist, everyone has a role in safeguarding the organization against cyberattacks. This training equips individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to fulfill their responsibilities effectively.

To measure the effectiveness of security and training program, it’s essential to measure and track its impact regularly. This helps in assessing whether the program is achieving its intended goals and making necessary adjustments if needed.

Ways to Measure Security Awareness Training and Education

There are 6 ways to measure security awareness training and education effectively:

Pre- and Post-Training Assessments

Conducting pre-training assessments allows you to establish a baseline of employees’ knowledge and awareness levels regarding cybersecurity. These assessments typically cover topics such as identifying phishing attempts, recognizing suspicious behavior, and understanding security best practices. After the training, post-training assessments can measure the improvement in employees’ knowledge and awareness. Comparing the results of these assessments can help you evaluate the effectiveness of the training program and identify areas for improvement.

Phishing Simulations

Phishing simulations are an essential part of security awareness training. These simulations involve sending fake phishing emails to employees to see if they can recognize and report them correctly. The simulations can mimic various types of phishing attacks, such as emails asking for sensitive information or containing malicious links. By conducting these simulations, you can assess employees’ ability to identify phishing attempts and provide targeted training to address any gaps in their knowledge.

Security Incident Reporting Rates

Monitoring security incident reporting rates can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your security awareness training program. A decrease in reported security incidents after the training indicates that employees are more vigilant and are able to identify and report security threats more effectively. On the other hand, an increase in reported incidents may indicate that employees are more aware of security issues and are reporting them promptly, which is also a positive outcome of the training.

Employee Surveys

Employee surveys are a great way to gather feedback on the security awareness training program. These surveys can ask employees about their overall satisfaction with the training, the relevance of the content to their job roles, and their confidence in applying the knowledge gained from the training. This feedback can help you identify areas where the training can be improved and make the program more effective in the future.

Security Audits

Security audit is one of the ways to measure security awareness training. They are an essential part of evaluating the overall effectiveness of your security awareness program. These audits can assess various aspects of the program, such as the quality of the training materials, the effectiveness of the training delivery, and the level of employee engagement. By conducting regular security audits, you can ensure that your security awareness program is meeting its objectives and identify areas where it can be improved to enhance the overall security culture within your organization.

Creating Accountability for Training

Creating accountability for training is crucial to ensure that employees are completing the training and applying the knowledge gained from it. One way to create accountability is to make training mandatory for all employees. You can also track which employees have completed the training and follow up with those who have not. Additionally, requiring employees to pass a test after completing the training can help ensure that they have understood the key concepts and are able to apply them in their daily work.

Creating Accountability for Training

  1. Make Training Mandatory: Ensure that all employees are required to complete security awareness training. This requirement emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity and ensures that everyone receives the necessary information and skills.
  2. Track Completion: Keep track of which employees have completed the training and which ones have not. This tracking system helps identify individuals who may need additional support or reminders to complete the training.
  3. Require a Passing Test: After completing the training, require employees to pass a test. This ensures that employees have understood the key concepts and are able to apply them effectively.

Encouraging Participation

  1. Keep Training Concise: Keep the training sessions short and focused. This approach helps maintain employees’ attention and makes it easier for them to absorb the information.
  2. Use Varied Training Methods: Use a variety of training methods, such as simulations, games, and videos, to keep employees engaged. Different methods appeal to different learning styles and help reinforce key concepts.
  3. Make Training Relevant: Ensure that the training is relevant to employees’ job roles. Tailoring the training to their specific responsibilities helps employees understand how cybersecurity relates to their daily tasks.
  4. Involve Management: Encourage management to participate in the training and model good security behavior. When employees see their managers taking cybersecurity seriously, they are more likely to do the same.

As is the case with any security solution, ongoing testing, and remedial action are crucial components of effectiveness.

Follow-up testing is employed to gauge the training’s impact and pinpoint areas where employees might require further assistance. This can take the form of phishing simulations, quizzes, or other evaluations.

Remediation involves providing employees with additional training or resources to enhance their security knowledge and skills. This might be necessary for employees who struggle with certain concepts or perform poorly on follow-up assessments.

There are several reasons why follow-up testing and remediation are vital:

  1. Security awareness training is not a one-time event. Employees need regular reminders about security best practices. Follow-up testing can identify areas where employees need more support, and remediation can provide them with the resources they need to enhance their security knowledge and skills.
  2. Security threats are constantly evolving. Cybercriminals are continually developing new attack methods, so it’s crucial for employees to stay informed about the latest threats. Follow-up testing can help ensure that employees are up-to-date and know how to protect themselves.
  3. Security awareness training can help reduce the risk of cyberattacks. However, no training program is perfect, and employees may still make mistakes. Follow-up testing and remediation can help reduce the risk of these mistakes leading to successful cyberattacks.

Here are some examples of how follow-up testing and remediation can help organizations protect themselves against cyberattacks:

  • An employee who fails a phishing simulation may need to complete additional training on identifying phishing emails. This can help prevent them from falling victim to a phishing attack in the future.
  • An employee who struggles with password security may be given a password manager tool or additional training on creating strong passwords. This can improve the employee’s password hygiene and reduce the risk of their account being compromised.
  • An employee who is unaware of a new security threat may receive training on protecting themselves from that threat. This can reduce the risk of the employee falling victim to the threat in the future.

Incorporating follow-up testing and remediation into your security awareness training program is crucial. By engaging with employees and offering additional support as needed, organizations can effectively mitigate the risk of cyberattacks. This proactive approach empowers employees to stay vigilant and protects the organization from potential threats posed by cybercriminals.

If you’re seeking the best managed security awareness training solution for your organization, schedule a meeting with our team!