Employee Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Importance of Cybersecurity Awareness Training for Staff

Cybersecurity awareness refers to an ongoing process of educating and training employees on the dangers that lurk in the cyberspace, teaching them how to thwart these threats and guiding them on proper actions in the event of a security breach. It involves instilling in employees a proactive sense of responsibility for keeping the company and its assets secure.

According to the 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report, 74% of breaches were due to human factors, these include social engineering attacks, misuse, or errors. Human factors play an important role in cyber breaches, and employee cybersecurity awareness training has never been more relevant.

Benefits Of Employee Cyber Security Awareness Training

In today’s interconnected world, data breaches, malware attacks, and phishing scams have become commonplace. These incidents can result in financial losses, reputational damage, and legal consequences for both individuals and organisations.

Cybersecurity awareness training aims to mitigate these risks by equipping individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to identify and respond to cyber threats effectively. The benefit of employee cybersecurity training include:

Cost Savings: Effective training can prevent costly data breaches, regulatory fines, and regulatory damages. Investing in training is more cost effective than dealing with the aftermath of a breach.

Human Firewall: People are often the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. Cybersecurity awareness training helps individuals develop a cybersecurity mindset, turning them into a formidable human firewall.

Protection of Sensitive Information: Whether it’s personal data or proprietary business information, safeguarding sensitive data is priority. Cybersecurity awareness training educates individuals on data protection best practices, reducing the likelihood of data breaches.

Compliance and Legal Obligations: Many industries have strict cybersecurity compliance requirements and regulations. Adequate training ensures that employees are aware of their responsibilities and help their organisations avoid costly legal repercussions.

Critical Topics For Cybersecurity Awareness Training

To be effective, cybersecurity awareness training should encompass a range of critical topics that address various aspects of the digital threat landscape. Key areas include:

Phishing Awareness

Teach employees how to recognise phishing emails, social engineering attempts, and suspicious website links. Emphasise the importance of not clicking on unknown links or sharing sensitive information via email.

Password Security

Discuss the significance of strong, unique passwords for each account and the use of password managers. Encourage regular password updates and the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA).

Social Media Safety

Explain the risks associated with sharing personal or company information on social media platforms. Discuss the importance of privacy settings and being cautious about connecting with unknown individuals.

Data Protection

Emphasise the importance of protecting sensitive data, both at rest and in transit. Discuss encryption, secure file sharing, and secure disposal of sensitive information.

Software Updates and Patching

Stress the significance of regularly updating operating systems, software, and applications to address vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers.

Mobile Device Security

Educate employees on the security risks associated with mobile devices, including app permissions, secure Wi-Fi usage, and the importance of locking screens.

Malware Awareness

Teach employees how malware spreads, the dangers it poses, and how to avoid downloading or executing malicious files.

Social Engineering Attacks

Explain the various social engineering tactics such as pretexting (a type of social engineering technique that manipulates victims into divulging information using a fabricated story, or pretext), or baiting (a form of social engineering that tricks people by offering something enticing, like a free download, to steal their information or infect their devices with malware), and how employees can recognise and respond to these threats.

Incident Reporting

Encourage a culture of reporting security incidents promptly. Provide clear guidelines on who to contact and what information to provide in case of a security breach.

Safe Browsing Habits

Discuss safe web browsing practices, including avoiding suspicious websites, pop-up ads, browser extensions and the use of browser security extensions.

Physical Security

Highlight the importance of physical security measures, such as locking workstations, securing laptops, and restricting access to sensitive areas.

Employee Responsibilities

Clarify that each employee has a role and responsibility to maintain cybersecurity. Stress that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility across the organisation.

Cybersecurity Policies and Procedures

Ensure that employees are aware of company-specific policies and procedures related to cybersecurity, including acceptable use policies and incident response plans.

Cybersecurity Trends and Threats

Continuously update training materials to reflect the latest cybersecurity threats and trends, ensuring that employees stay informed about emerging risks.

Regular Training and Testing

Conduct regular cybersecurity training sessions and simulate phishing attacks or other security assessments to reinforce learning and identify areas where additional training may be needed.

Third-Party Security

Discuss the importance of evaluating and ensuring the cybersecurity practices of third-party vendors and partners with whom the organisation shares data or resources.

Data Privacy and Compliance

Educate employees about data protection regulations relevant to the organisation’s industry, such as GDPR, HIPAA, or CCPA, and their responsibilities in compliance.

Secure Communication

Teach employees about secure methods of communication, including encrypted email and messaging services.

Behavioural Awareness

Promote a cybersecurity-conscious culture by emphasising the impact of individual actions on the organisation’s overall security posture.

Is Security Awareness Training Enough?

While security awareness training is essential for any organisation, it cannot act as the sole safeguard against cyber threats. Human error remains a persistent vulnerability, as even well-trained employees can make mistakes, inadvertently opening the door to security breaches. Furthermore, security awareness training often falls short in addressing insider threats and may fail to address inherent technological vulnerabilities within an organisation’s infrastructure.

Organisations must recognise that while security awareness training is valuable, it should be integrated into a broader cybersecurity strategy that includes advanced threat detection tools, regular software updates, business continuity, email security, risk mitigation, etc.

How Often Should Security Awareness Training Be Conducted?

Cybersecurity awareness training should be conducted regularly, with the frequency ranging from annually to quarterly or even more often in high-risk environments. New employees should receive training during onboarding, and role-specific training during should be provided as job responsibilities change.

In a study, 80% of organisations surveyed said that security awareness had reduced their staffs’ susceptibility to phishing attacks. While this reduction doesn’t occur instantly, it can happen relatively quickly, with consistent training demonstrated to decrease the risk from 60% to 10% within the first 12 months. Another study presented at the USENIX security conference recently analysed the user’s ability to detect phishing training versus training frequency. Employees took phishing identification tests at different time increments – 4,6,8,10, and 12 months.

The study found that after 4 months, the employees training scores were good. They were still able to accurately identify and avoid clicking on phishing emails. After 6 months, their scores started to decline and became worse each month that passed after their initial training.


In an age where cybersecurity threats continue to evolve in sophistication and scale, cybersecurity awareness training is an essential defence mechanism.

Tivarri’s Cybersecurity Awareness Training Courses are designed to empower employees to recognise both phishing and smishing attacks, enabling them to make informed cybersecurity decisions. Our beginner’s guide is tailored towards business owners and employees, helping them guard against cyber threats. Participants will gain insights into how cybercriminals access systems, safeguard personal information from online fraud, and manage digital footprints. Tivarri offers both in-person and online training options for businesses. For further details, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

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