Convincing overworked employees to participate and engage themselves in training sessions can be an uphill battle. An employee’s workload will not go away during a mandatory training session. Thus, they might develop a sense that the training is just something to get through—rather than a valuable learning experience. After all, cybersecurity training benefits individual employees and their organization as a whole. In the age of cyber attacks, it’s more important than ever to help your staff members instill good habits online.
Many organizations enroll employees in cybersecurity training as a reaction to a bad event, rather than as a proactive measure. Statistics from 2016 suggest more than 90 percent of corporate data breaches originate with a spear phishing attack on an employee. Don’t wait for a specific cyber attack to show a commitment to cybersecurity by training only those involved. Why? Employees may feel singled out and will be less engaged in the training as a result.
Rather than suffering disengaged employees, some organizations are looking at ways to make cybersecurity training more enjoyable and engaging. Most employees will benefit from regular training that is scheduled before an organization sees any attempts at a data breach. Hosting regular training sessions throughout the year helps protect against even the newest forms of attacks hackers develop.
Training is just one aspect of a hearty cybersecurity policy, which may also include cyber insurance as a safeguard. Even knowing not every data breach is preventable, it’s still worthwhile to pursue a multi-faceted strategy. The recent outbreak of publicized breaches shows how much damage one attack can do to a company’s reputation and finances.
Studies have suggested a few ways to make cybersecurity training more effective, with greater employee retention of good online practices. One option is to “gamify” the training. Gamification integrates game mechanics into already-existing cybersecurity training processes in order to increase employee engagement.
Training that exposes employees to a dull series of PowerPoint presentations will do little to motivate employees to follow the recommendations. Gamification, on the other hand, makes it more engaging. How? First of all, it breaks long sessions into multiple, shorter sessions. It also makes training sessions interactive. It provides rewards for positive results, thus motivating participants to stay on track. Gamification can even make cybersecurity into a fun competition, with everyone competing to demonstrate their prowess in the field.
Organizations have extended gamification to include scare tactics complete with real-life examples showing the effects of a successful data breach. Using examples that are outside of the organization’s universe can also help to drive home the importance of good cybersecurity practices. It’s particularly effective to use examples showing how employees can be personally harmed by a data breach. For example, in healthcare, regulatory bodies might hold individuals liable for cybersecurity infractions—or these slip-ups may harm patients.
Organizations can also make cybersecurity training more enjoyable and effective with good follow-up after the training has been completed. Rewards can be extended, for example, to employees who change passwords or who flag suspicious email messages within a timeframe.
If a cyber attack leads to a successful data breach, cybersecurity insurance helps organizations recover losses and compensate third parties. The rapid response enabled by a policy will also sustain an organization’s reputation and goodwill among its customers and clients.
But this alone is no substitute for adequate cybersecurity training. Companies who restructure it to be enjoyable and engaging will reap the results. Try incentivizing employees to not only learn good habits but to practice them daily in the workplace. Gamification is a great first step toward freshening up your approach to online safety, so it really hits home.