What Is Cyber Security Awareness Training For Employees

Modern workplaces cannot function without computers and the Internet. From HR operations to employee login and logout to payroll, each and everything is done with their help. They make the work a lot easier. Nevertheless, the digital space is not without its security challenges. Fortunately, there are a number of cybersecurity options to neutralize those threats. The most important among all of those is cyber security awareness training for employees. It aims to educate team members and provide them with proper information security  training about potential risks and ways to deal with them to make the workplace safer.

What Is Cyber Security ?

Cyber security is a collective term which refers to every action taken to safeguard computer systems and networks from cyberattacks. There are numerous types of cyberattacks targeting businesses and individuals, planned and executed with different intentions, for instance, stealing data being the most common.

Having a watertight cybersecurity system has become inevitable for businesses as they can’t afford to lose their sensitive data. At the same time, it is impossible to think about implementing a cybersecurity measure in a company without educating every stakeholder about its significance. That is where cyber security awareness training for employees comes into play.

What Is Cyber Security Awareness Training For Employees

Cyber security awareness training  for employees is specialized training on information security which is carried out to enhance employees awareness of cyber threats. It covers the different types of threats such as data breaches, malware, DoS attacks etc. and steps to take to mitigate them. These programs aim to help people navigate online more safely.

The basic principle behind conducting cyber security awareness training for employees is that when many simple safety steps are taken at the individual level, it contributes to a collective effort to make the internet more secure.

Importance Of Cyber Security Awareness Training For Employees

In many instances of cyber-attacks, it was not that the affected organizations or businesses were not using advanced measures to prevent those attacks. It was merely ignorance about the potential attacks. Human errors were also found to be a leading cause.

A Data Breach Investigation report published by Verizon in 2022 reveals that the majority of the reported breaches, more than 80% of them, consisted of human involvement. Social engineering attacks, unauthorized use of stolen data and human errors were the common factors that led to these attacks in most cases. Attackers easily figure out the ignorance of people within the organizations and exploit that. This highlights the critical importance of raising cyber security awareness training for employees.

What Does Cyber Security Awareness Training For Employees Target to Achieve?

Given that it is essential for every organization to protect its sensitive data and digital assets, cyber security awareness training for employees plays a critical role. Employees, often the first line of defence in identifying and mitigating potential threats, require comprehensive training to understand the risks and challenges present in the digital landscape.

Cyber security awareness training for employees targets to achieve the following goals:

cyber security awareness training for employees
  1. Educates Employees about Challenges:

Cyber security awareness training for employees aims to provide employees with a comprehensive understanding of the various cybersecurity challenges and threats they are likely to face in day-to-day tasks.

  1. Empowers Employees to Take Action:

Through cyber security awareness training for employees , They learn to act proactively to security challenges. It boosts their confidence, improving the organization’s overall security outlook.

  1. Upskills Employees in Tools:

This aspect of the raining targets to improve employees’ technical skills and familiarity with various cybersecurity practices and tools. This enhances their ability to act proactively.

  1. Fosters Secure Workplace Ethos:

Cyber security awareness training for employees aims to foster a culture of security within the organization by encouraging employees to adopt and maintain good security habits.

What Is Cyber Hygiene? Why Does It Matter?

As implied by the term, “cyber hygiene” consists of a set of practices meant to mitigate risks and threats associated with computers and the internet. Just as regular personal hygiene is important to maintain physical health, consistent observance of cyber hygiene is needed for online safety.

Best Practices for Maintaining Cyber Hygiene

The following best practices are highly recommended to ensure cyber hygiene.

  • Update your operating system, software and applications regularly
  • Back up your important files from time to time
  • Turn on firewall protection
  • Use a reputed antivirus program and keep it up-to-date
  • Choose powerful passwords with alphanumeric and special characters
  • Change your passwords on a regular basis

Advantages of Practicing Cyber Hygiene

Adhering to strict cyber hygiene offers multiple advantages. Here are a few of them.

information security awareness training
  1. Data safety:

By way of following cyber hygiene practices like the use of strong passwords and enabling firewall protection, you can prevent unauthorized access to a good extent and preserve your sensitive data.

  1. Peace of mind:

The most important benefit of all is the ultimate peace of mind. When you know that you have a good system in place to keep your digital resources secure, you can enjoy peace of mind.

  1. Minimal cyber-attacks:

Once you start following cyber hygiene, you will face minimal cyber-attacks and risks of threats in any form – data breaches, phishing attacks or malware infection.

  1. Reduce financial burdens:

Companies spend a huge amount of money on data recovery, litigation etc. as a result of cyber-attacks and consequent data breaches. Cyber hygiene practices reduce such financial burdens.

  1. Optimal system efficiency:

When your systems are up to date with the latest version of software, you will have the benefit of running them at their optimal efficiency, ultimately improving your productivity.

Why Should Companies Increase Cybersecurity Awareness Among Their Employees

Employees are the outermost layer of an organization’s security infrastructure. Attackers often direct their initial focus toward employees. Upon finding any vulnerabilities, they try to break through this layer and advance to subsequent levels, aiming to access the most sensitive data. Hence, employees require the first attention in security awareness programs. Here are the top five reasons for conducting security awareness programs for employees.

  1. Increased awareness of potential human errors:

A combined research carried out by a leading cybersecurity firm and Stanford University reveals that 88 per cent of data breaches at companies happen due to employee errors. Through cybersecurity awareness, this can be brought down.

  1. Maximum employee engagement:

When there is maximum engagement from employees in the area of cybersecurity, there will be fewer risks of threats. Moreover, increased employee engagement benefits your organization by having their full cooperation and loyalty. 

  1. Quick identification of insider threats:

Disloyal employees with vested interests may try to spoil the organization’s reputation by subjecting sensitive data to vulnerabilities. Through security awareness programs, any such attempts can be easily identified and rooted out.

  1. Alert and respond in real-time:

By having a workforce fully aware of cybersecurity threats and the remedial steps, anyone noticing the threat will be able to alert the rest in real time and have an action plan in place in real time.

What Topics Should the Cyber Security Awareness For employees Program Cover?

Cyber security awareness training for employees should inculcate the best cybersecurity practices in them and enable them to identify potential threats and breaches.

As such, it is important to ensure that the program is comprehensive covering a wide range of topics such as:

  1. Malware attacks:

Malware attacks happen after you download and install authorized software or open an infected file. Cybersecurity programs should teach how to stay away from making one’s PC vulnerable to such attacks. Often, it is through phishing emails that these infected files enter one’s system.

  1. Removable disks usage:

Removable disks often become the carriers of infected content. It is easy for an attacker to infect an organization’s network via the removable disks of its ignorant employees. Cybersecurity programs should provide a detailed overview of all the hidden risk factors associated with removal drives (USB, external hard disk). 

  1. Social media threats:

While social media provide an effective way for employees to stay connected with people from similar backgrounds, they can also trick them into danger. Attackers use social engineering to exploit naïve employees and steal an organization’s sensitive data. Therefore, awareness programs should cover this area too.

  1. Phishing Emails and Other Scams:

While cybercriminals have diversified their attacking patterns, phishing emails and scams remain the most common way to which the greatest number of people fall prey. Employees should be given cyber security awareness for employees about the nature of phishing scams and taught to identify them.

  1. Password security:

Password security is a major topic covered in cybersecurity programs. The topic gives insight into the importance of having strong passwords and developing a habit of changing passwords from time to time. It also covers tips for making stronger passwords using combinations of different characters.

  1. Safe browsing practices:

Employees unaware of safe browsing involuntarily bring danger to their office network. For instance, attackers often spoof domain names to trick potential visitors and lead them to malicious sites. The awareness program should teach about various safety steps such as identifying spoofed sites, checking HTTPS certification etc.

  1. Physical security threats:

Cyber criminals do not limit their acts to virtual methods. In some cases, they even appear in physical forms. For instance, the attackers may physically enter an office disguised as visitors or new hires. It is important to make sure that they don’t get access to any sensitive information. Employees should be taught to handle such situations.

It is important to acknowledge that the nature of security threats that each organization faces differs. Based on the industry type, employee strength, digital landscape etc., the potential risks can assume different forms. Hence, when conducting a cybersecurity awareness program, make sure that you customize the program as per the needs of your employees and the organization.

Obstacles In Cyber Security Awareness Training For Employees And Solutions to Tackle Them

While cyber security awareness training for employees is the most effective way to educate and empower employees against evolving and potential cyberattacks, it is not always easy to conduct such programs.

Security awareness

Initiating such programs can face a series of challenges such as:

  1. Reluctance to embrace change:

Most employees like the comfort of the old methods. When changes are brought in the way they work, they may show reluctance or resistance to accept them.

  1. Insufficient funds and resources:

While successful organizations can easily conduct cybersecurity training for their employees, startups with limited capital won’t be able to conduct an effective program due to lack of funds, instructors and other resources.

  1. Lack of interest from employees:

Introducing compulsory it security training for employees may make them feel like it’s an extra task and subsequently leave them uninterested in it.

  1. Complexity of procedure:

Employees with basic level computer knowledge will find the various concepts, steps and practices in cybersecurity quite complicated. The technical jargon, for instance, HTTPS, security certificate, phishing scams, malware attacks etc. may seem strange to them.

  1. Lack of management support:

Even if the employees are willing to learn, management that lacks the vision and interest to educate their employees can be a major challenge in conducting cybersecurity programs.


Through a systematic and strategic approach, it is possible to implement cybersecurity training for your employees. Here are some solutions to the aforementioned challenges.

  1. Bring changes gradually: When cybersecurity is given priority, it will lead to changes in the way employees work leading to their resistance. Allow employees to get used to the changes by implementing them gradually.
  2. Make the training engaging: Make the training sessions interesting and engaging for your employees. Try to use maximum real-life scenarios and plain language instead of technical jargon.
  3. Utilize free online resources: If cost is a factor that prevents you from conducting security awareness education for your employees, be informed that there are numerous free online resources available. Utilize such resources to educate your staff.
  4. Convince the management: The top leadership might not be too focused on the operational side of the business and thus the security challenges. So, convince them about the risks by showing them case studies and reports.
  5. Incentivize employees: Incentivizing employees who complete the training programs and switch to cyber hygiene can be a great step in tackling their resistance. Also, such steps will motivate them to strictly adhere to safe practices.

Benefits Cyber Security Awareness Training For Employees

In today’s digital era, every organization, small to medium to large, depend on digital resources to run their key operations. Increased cybersecurity awareness is essential for them.

Best cybersecurity awareness training

From streamlined security to improved employee engagement, cybersecurity training sessions offer numerous advantages.

Protection of sensitive information

When all employees of an organization are educated about the best cybersecurity practices and the potential risks, they will always be careful about safeguarding the sensitive data of their organization. There will be fewer chances for data breaches due to human errors.

Enhancement of employee productivity

Studies show that one of the leading causes of poor productivity among employees in small-scale businesses is the frequent security incidents they are poised to deal with. When such incidents are less, employees can concentrate more on the work front.

Increased customer trust

Keeping the employees up to date on the best cybersecurity practices will ensure that the organization suffer minimal attacks. This will in turn lead to putting the organization in a positive posture, winning the trust of customers and stakeholders.

Decrease in operational cost

Security incidents are a costly affair for organizations. It increases their operational costs and reduces their revenue. When employees know how to handle threats and alert the management about potential risks, these incidents can be effectively aborted and the costs cut down.

Online Security Awareness Training Resources for Employees

Getting learning resources for training your employees in cybersecurity is no longer a costly affair since there are hundreds of places where free materials are available. While getting these free resources, it is important that you review them first and make necessary changes in them to suit your employees. Here are some of the common places for free resources.

YouTube Videos:


YouTube lists thousands of informative videos on cybersecurity best practices. It is also a place where you can get illustrative explanations of various threats.

Case studies:

Case studies by small and medium-scale businesses can be a good learning resource. They can introduce you to the threats and give insight into how they tackled the threats.

Webinars :

Many cybersecurity firms offer webinars, giving audience awareness of the latest threats. Even if you don’t intend to subscribe to their services, their free sessions can be useful to educate yourself.

Blogs :

There are hundreds of informative blogs on the internet listing all the different types of threats grouped into specific categories and explaining each with examples and illustrations. Going through a few such blogs can be a great learning exercise.


Going forward, ensuring information security awareness should be a key agenda of organizations. In today’s digital landscape, no business can operate without depending on digital resources. As the level of dependency grows, so do the chances of vulnerabilities and challenges. With an effective cybersecurity training program, it is possible to teach your workforce to confront them.

We hope this blog helped you learn about the potential cybersecurity challenges and the benefits you will enjoy incorporating cyber security awareness training for  employees. If you have any doubts or questions, feel free to write in the comments below.

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Jim Jacob

Jim Jacob is the founder of Cyberguard. He is an IT professional who has 21 years of professional experience in the tech field. Cybergurad is the product of his vision to share the knowledge gained from his career through the power of words. He is an expert at explaining complex tech concepts in simple language and has written numerous articles on IT and Cybersecurity.

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