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What is Security Awareness Training?

Parker Byrd

Security Awareness Training is the most effective way to protect companies and their employees from social engineering phishing attacks.

But What is Security Awareness Training?

Hook Security defines it as an education program that teaches employees about security and phishing while creating best practices and good habits.

Let’s unpack that.

One of the biggest weaknesses in any cybersecurity system is the human factor. It doesn’t matter whether your organization is using sophisticated passwords, multiple firewalls, anti-malware programs, etc. The human factor will always be an issue in keeping your company and yourself safe.

At the end of the day, the employees are the ones who are most vulnerable and need the right tools. If an employee has not been effectively trained on cyber security awareness, the chances are high they will compromise a company through simple mistakes, negligence, or even apathy.

Person looking emails containing email attacks on her laptop

Cybercriminals know this. They know that hardware is incredibly difficult to get by but targeting a person or group gives them the best chance to attack. Using methods like phishing emails exploit human vulnerabilities. When successfully used, something as simple as a phishing email can compromise an entire organization and its network.

That’s bad news.

Security Awareness Training aims to resolve this by directly focusing on the human factor. At Hook Security we research and craft simulated phishing attempts (what we like to call “real fake emails,”) based on the latest tactics that criminals are currently using.

Then, when employees fall prey to our trap, we give them a short, educational but entertaining video to train them on their mistakes.

The aim is to leave the employee not scared, but aware. Not afraid, but just a little bit paranoid about emails. Though small, the difference between those two is incredibly impactful.

The Emergence of Psychological Security

As the cyber threat landscape continues to grow, guarding our information systems becomes harder and harder. This is often because the focus, attention, and ultimately the blame are in the wrong places. We’ve started to see a need for companies beyond just information security, and the reason for this is right there in the name.

Protecting a business’s information by simply focusing on the information itself still leaves you vulnerable, as over 90% of breaches involve social engineering. As crazy as it may sound, we have to protect our minds, our intuitions, our dependence, and our trust. Enter the idea of Psychological Security.

Psychological Security is the practice of protecting humans from being manipulated and exploited by technology. From hyper-targeted ads to phishing attacks, technology and data are used to influence us everyday. This is the reason that phishing is so successful, because we’ve learned to trust and depend on the technology we use, the brands we buy, and the people we know.

Add the fact of a professional environment with bosses, deadlines, and raises and the risk of manipulation skyrockets.

Will you fall for a Starbucks phishing email? Maybe. Will you download a mystery spreadsheet from your “boss” called “ChristmasBonuses2019.xlsx”? Definitely.

This is the reason regular training is so important. To guard against phishing we have to training employees recognize the risk, and create pattern recognition over time.

Benefits of Security Awareness Training

Initiatives like cyber security awareness training force a company to examine its procedures, policies, and personnel. Inefficiencies and opportunities often come to light as a result of this, which may have nothing to do with security, but can still benefit a firm.

  • Training can help to reduce errors or help recognize the “bad guys’” tricks and trends.
  • Cyber security awareness training for employees can strengthen and enhance your company’s security posture
  • When your employees are educated and trained they are more compliant
  • Training can keep your customer’s reputation clean and clear of mishaps
  • Education and training can bolster confidence and even help morale for your customers
  • Money and time can be saved for your customer by having training
  • Your customer can sleep at night knowing they are actively training to the latests threats through training

Building a Security-Aware Culture

A security awareness training program can act as a team-building and collaboration exercise. Because the nature of the goal is generally not to solve a problem where finger-pointing is common, it lends itself to improving relations among employees. A common enemy (cyber threats) often unites a group.

Hook Security’s edutainment-based training content create a fun, yet engaging experience for the workforce, and does not shame the employee for failing but provides a memorable training experience. We believe people shouldn’t be afraid that their job is on the line with every email they get.

When companies realize the importance of security awareness training and adopt our program, they increase productivity, boost creativity, and ultimately are much safer.

Have you implemented a cyber security awareness training program into your company?

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