Technical Training: A Critical Part of Security Awareness Programs

by Lauren Lamp

Security awareness professionals play a crucial role in educating individuals within an organization about the importance of cybersecurity and promoting a security-conscious culture. In recent years, security awareness teams have increasingly been tasked with tailoring training initiatives to technical roles within the organization that do not benefit from just the security basics.

To incorporate technical training into your security awareness programs, consider the following strategies:

Understand Your  Audience: Customize learning paths to address the specific needs of their role in the organization. Bear in mind that these audiences may have very limited time for training so training initiatives must strive for the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time.

Implement Hands-on Training: Hands-on training that mimics real-world scenarios is much more effective for technical audiences than simply reading an article or viewing a video. By allowing employees in technical roles that are required to keep security top-of-mind, practice responding to a variety of security incidents reinforces technical concepts in a practical way.

Provide Continuous Education: Implement a regular schedule for technical training sessions. Cyber threats evolve, so continuous education is crucial. Attending a yearly bootcamp or watching a quarterly video is not sufficient for this audience. Hands-on continuous training should happen on a quarterly basis at minimum.

Focus on Real-world Threats: Provide training around common technical threats faced by the organization, such as phishing attacks, malware, ransomware, and social engineering. Build a strong relationship with the Security Operations Center to ensure training initiatives align with organizational threat trends and to communicate practical tips and tools to technical employees for recognizing and mitigating these threats.

Empower Security Champions: Technical audiences can sometimes be frustrated with how security policy slows down their day-to-day tasks. To build a better security culture within these teams, identify security champions to evangelize the importance of security for organizational success. 

Use Feedback and Metrics: Gather feedback from employees on the effectiveness of technical training sessions. Use metrics such as employee skill acquisition required to detect, disrupt, and defend against organizational threats to assess the effectiveness of technical training initiatives. 

Stay Up to Date: Continuously update training content to reflect the latest cybersecurity trends and threats. This ensures that employees are equipped with the most current information. Security awareness professionals will typically need to look externally to leverage a vendor that can provide the frequency and volume of training content required to meet this goal.

By incorporating these strategies, security awareness professionals can enhance the knowledge of technical employees, empower them to contribute actively to the organization's overall cybersecurity efforts, and mature their security awareness program.


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