7 Common Weaknesses of Traditional Security Awareness Training Programs
March 22, 2023 | By: Stephen Boals
Are there glaring holes in your security awareness program?
In today’s crazy world, cybersecurity has become a crucial part of any organization’s business and overall risk reduction strategy. With the increasing number of human focused cyber-attacks and data breaches, Security Awareness Training has become an essential component of any organization’s defensive security strategy. However, there are certain areas where security awareness weaknesses are particularly prevalent. Below, we will explore seven areas of security awareness weaknesses and discuss how organizations can address them.
- Focus on repetitive content versus behavioral change and culture. One of the most significant weaknesses in Security Awareness Training is the focus on repetitive content versus behavioral change and culture. Many organizations use a one-size-fits-all approach to security awareness training, which can be ineffective in promoting behavioral change and creating a culture of security. To address this weakness, organizations should focus on leveraging an adaptive and engaging training program that targets specific risks and encourages behavioral change.
- Executive security training. Executives often hold access to sensitive data and are high-value targets for cybercriminals. Unfortunately, many executives see cybersecurity as solely the responsibility of the IT department and due to their busy schedules, fail to prioritize security awareness training. To address this gap, organizations should prioritize specific executive Security Awareness Training and emphasize the importance of cybersecurity for all employees, including top-level executives.
- OT personnel security training. Operational technology (OT) personnel, such as engineers and technicians, are responsible for managing critical infrastructure and industrial control systems. Unfortunately, these systems are often overlooked in security awareness training, leaving OT personnel vulnerable to cyber-attacks. To address this weakness, organizations should prioritize OT personnel security training and provide specialized training on the unique risks and challenges associated with industrial control systems.
- Executive Admin security awareness training. Executive administrators, such as personal assistants and secretaries, often hold access to sensitive data and play a critical role in supporting top-level executives. Unfortunately, these individuals are often overlooked in security awareness training, leaving them vulnerable to cyber attacks. To address this gap, organizations should prioritize executive administrator security awareness training and provide specialized training on the unique risks and challenges associated with supporting top-level executives.
- Individuals who repeatedly fail phishing simulations. Phishing attacks are one of the most common types of cyber attacks, and organizations often use phishing simulations to train employees on how to identify and avoid phishing emails. However, some individuals may repeatedly fail phishing simulations, indicating a significant weakness in their security awareness. To address this gap, organizations should provide targeted tailored training and support to individuals who repeatedly fail phishing simulations.
- End-user information saturation. With the increasing amount of information that end-users are expected to absorb, it is becoming increasingly challenging for organizations to effectively communicate critical security information. To address this weakness, organizations should prioritize the use of interactive and engaging training methods, such as personality-focused scenario-based training, to ensure that end-users retain critical security information.
- Lack of emphasis on behavioral change. Finally, many organizations fail to emphasize behavioral change in their security awareness training programs. This can result in employees failing to implement critical security practices, even if they are aware of them. To address this gap, organizations should prioritize creating a culture of security within their teams and encourage employees to take ownership of their cybersecurity practices.
In conclusion, Security Awareness Training is an essential component of any organization’s cybersecurity strategy. By addressing the seven areas of security awareness weakness outlined in this blog post, organizations can better protect themselves against cyber threats and create a culture of security within their teams.
For more information on improving your existing security awareness programs, lowering your human risk, and creating a cybersecurity cultural framework, contact us today.