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Why Security Awareness Training Fails


Have you invested in your cybersecurity, including a security awareness training program, only to find that you are still vulnerable to attack? If all your security applications and systems are in good working order and up to date, then awareness training is just not working as it should, and human errors are creeping in.

It’s a common occurrence and one that needs remedying quickly. But before the blame starts getting heaped on your team, it’s worth thinking about why the training might not work as it should.

There are many possible explanations for why a security awareness training program is ineffective. These are primarily because training is not just about relaying important information but about engaging with people to try and change behavior. And often this is behavior that has been learned over years or even decades. Here’s a closer look at some of the main reasons that training falls short.

One and Done

One of the most common mistakes organizations make is assuming that security awareness training is just about ticking boxes. You’ve got all the staff in for a day or two’s training course, and that’s it, job done. Cybersecurity is now taken care of. Wrong. The fundamental principle behind good security awareness training is to try and break bad habits and encourage good ones in their place. And as everybody knows, it takes practice and repetition to learn new behavior. Therefore, training should be ongoing, with regular updates, reminders, and practice sessions.

COPYRIGHT_WI: Published on https://washingtonindependent.com/ebv/why-security-awareness-training-fails/ by Elisa Mueller on 2022-09-02T19:26:31.048Z

Low Engagement

As with any training, it doesn’t matter how much of it you do. If it’s dull and uninspiring, then very little sinks in. While security awareness training is very important, it also needs to be presented in a way that maximizes engagement. The trainees will quickly lose interest if all that is being communicated are dry facts and figures. Security training should be a mix of data presentation, active participation, and discovery. If trainees are engaged, the training is much more likely to be successful.

Not Collecting Data

If you’re not collecting data after training and comparing it to analysis from before you started, you have no idea if the training is working. So it’s not enough to assume that the message is sinking in, you need to prove it with data.

Unreasonable Expectations

No amount of training is going to make your company completely secure. Scammers are getting more sophisticated all the time and human errors will always occur. If you are too unreasonable or severe in your expectations, this will inevitably lead to disappointment.

Failure to Plan

As mentioned above, security awareness training is not a one-shot deal and should be an integral part of your business plan. If you don’t have actionable goals and milestones built into your program, then you stand little chance of success. Remember that security awareness training is not a one-off event but a long-term process that should grow with your business. Create a road map for better security and try to meet your goals.

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About The Authors

Elisa Mueller

Elisa Mueller - Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.

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