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What is Security Awareness Training?

8 November 2021

Security awareness training helps organisations prevent and mitigate user risk. A security awareness program helps people understand the vital role they play in helping to combat cyberattacks – at work or at home.

According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:

All businesses can benefit from understanding cyber threats and online fraud.”

We spoke to Jon, Sapphire’s Technical Services Manager, to find out more about security awareness training and why being cybersecurity aware is important.

What is the objective of security awareness training?

Security awareness training objective is to ensure that employees understand the role they can play in helping to enhance and enforce the organisations’ security. From understanding data protection requirements to being able to spot the telltale signs of a phishing email, your employees are your first and foremost defence against a security breach.

One of my roles at Sapphire is to help organisations identify the skills gaps in their staff through various methods including simulated phishing testing. Training is then used to fill those gaps and embed a culture of cyber safety.

Security Awareness Training

Why is security awareness training necessary?

Practical security awareness training helps employees understand cyber hygiene, the security risks associated with their actions, and identify cyberattacks they may encounter via email and/or the web.

I think it’s important to keep staff updated on the most prevalent threats. We want to get training out to people before a critical incident occurs.  A “little and often” approach can work well keeping security in the forefront of the users’ minds with the added benefit of not taking too long out of their busy day.

How do you measure training?

We record the metrics of attendees and see what their actions have been after training. For example, a month after a module delivered on phishing emails results in someone from the course clicking on a phishing email, we know we have a problem. This is not just around phishing, it’s important to record the uptake and metrics around all training as that can assist in compliance certification being able to demonstrate for example that staff have been trained on GDPR or Anti Bribery.

So, what is your role? 

It is the job of the Sapphire team to reinforce training and awareness by engaging people positively. Security awareness training is a way to ensure that you are protecting your organisation, employees can also benefit from this outside of working hours.

Taking part in an effective security awareness training program will give you the necessary cyber skills for your personal life. Who hasn’t received phishing emails and or texts? Additional learning can keep you safe at home.

It is also important not to be mistaken that you have addressed the training needs, we live in an ever-changing world and constant awareness of new threats or changes to the business is important to keep on top of.

Security Awareness Training

How and when should security awareness training occur?

Some organisations are reactive in that they will turn towards security compliance or training initiatives once there have been data breaches. There is nothing wrong with that, and often when security issues arise, that is when they need help in mitigating and reducing risks.

Ideally, we encourage organisations to educate employees before a breach occurs.

I believe in knowledge retention. In the cyber security landscape, it is good practice to send out regular tests and work with organisations to ensure the topics are still fresh in the minds of employees. For example, our team works to deliver post-training phishing simulations and analyses the results to see where the knowledge gaps are.

To ensure employee engagement, we deliver training based on a few different factors.

It is useful to keep staff updated on the most prevalent threats. At Sapphire, we react to high-profile cybersecurity news, information from consultants, and information fed in from our SOC (security operations centre) via Sapphire’s threat intelligence service.

As our teams’ experience and knowledge are quite vast, we offer much more than just a guide to security awareness. From awareness courses around data protection to policy management and dissemination, our team has a wide remit. The service must be tailored to the requirements of the organisations that we work with.

Can you give an example?

Say our analysts have seen something around passwords attacks. We can then create training for end-users on how to create strong passwords and use passwords safely.

And how is security awareness training delivered?

We deliver training through cloud-based systems. This gives organisations and their staff access to easily consumable content (via Sapphire’s online portal). With many organisations having a remote workforce, this enables all staff to receive the same level of learning despite their location.

How does a cybersecurity organisation like Sapphire use security awareness training?

Security awareness training is not only something Sapphire delivers to organisations across the UK and beyond, we also invest heavily in educating our staff.

Yes, security awareness is aligned with our ISO27001 certification. However, training is a fundamental part of staff development.

By delivering training in all aspects of security, we empower staff to be security conscious. Like any other organisation, we have identified the skill set gaps and have rolled out training to increase their knowledge. 

Thank you to Jon for his time and insight!

Sapphire’s Managed Security Awareness training

To learn more about Sapphire’s Managed Security Awareness training and how our principles can help your organisation, contact us today.

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