7 Ways to Make Enterprise Cybersecurity Awareness Training More Engaging

Posted by Living Security Team
February 11, 2021

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It’s the struggle of a lifetime trying to spark interest in your cybersecurity awareness training—trust us, we know. 

While security program owners like you understand the value of educating your team on security best practices, it’s clear that management, leadership, employees and stakeholders aren’t exactly jumping with joy to start your online classes.

But we’ve got good news. Making your enterprise’s security awareness initiative more appealing might not be as hard as you thought. All you need is a creative approach, starting with a few quick tips:

1. Encourage Humor & Fun

Let’s be honest, boring is often the best word to describe most enterprise cybersecurity awareness training modules. They’re all tech-talk and reminiscent of computer science textbooks—so it’s no wonder your team dreads logging on to learn. It feels like that college class we hated all over again.

One way to make dry lesson plans more interesting is to transform a serious topic into something, dare we say, fun. Whether that means cracking a few security puns or jokes or bringing colorful visuals to their desks, consider some ways you could incorporate humor into your curriculum. 

If humor isn’t really on-brand, there are other ways you can make learning positive, like celebrating a department’s lesson passing with digital gift cards or by publicly praising teams on a job well done! Think virtual streamers in an ecard or a big GIF shoutout on your team messaging platform to individuals who put in the effort.

2. Try Experiential Learning & Gamification

Many of us learn best by doing— not seeing or hearing. That’s the key foundation of experiential learning, wherein you create real-life experiences to educate. 

With COVID-19 and ever-growing remote operations, uniting your team in a physical room to play a game is easier said than done. Luckily, cybersecurity awareness programs are evolving with the changing times, adopting creative online gaming interactions to spread the concept of “play.” 

Cyber escape rooms are a prime example of digital experiences that encourage teamwork, so your departments can learn about security, together. But that’s just one idea. Here are ten other exciting games to try.

3. Use Stories & Analogies

Part of the reason that experiential learning is so successful is because many of these games follow an easy-to-understand narrative. Security experts paint the picture of a real-life cyber threat beyond a flat news article, captivating learners in a play-by-play storyline. 

Whether fictitious or true, these stories break down how a breach happened in a step-by-step way that fosters deep understanding. Listen to a few cybersecurity educators tell their stories of real-life hacks, and you’ll know exactly what we mean. Think of how these narratives leverage the principles of a short story plot: clearly laying out the exposition, building up to the climax, and detailing the resolution.

Sometimes, turning technical concepts into everyday analogies helps too! For example, your team might not understand the word “social engineering,” but if you told the story of The Trojan War and compared it to soldiers plotting a sneaky ambush, you may be able to relay the message of human manipulation in a unique way. 

Want more ideas around making your enterprise cybersecurity awareness program more engaging? Download Forrester’s 2021 report for more high-level takeaways, today. 

4. Use Micro & Nano-learning Platforms

Your teams have their own work to do and simply cannot devote full days to learning about cybersecurity. They’re often overwhelmed by the concept of completing cybersecurity awareness training modules because they see the lesson plans as something they need hours to complete. They just don’t have a free half-day in their workweek to devote to these classes.

Qualm their concerns by leveraging bite-size lesson plans. Explain to your team how one module could be completed in just 30 minutes— a lot less taxing of a commitment than they might assume. 

Security Awareness Program Owners could even leverage creative  awareness training modules like our Campaign in a Box, which provides inspiring emails, quick instant messaging reminders, and other tiny drips of content that help maintain that learner’s mindset on a micro level.

5. Repeat Your Message Frequently

Speaking of tiny reminders, sharing bite-sizable educational material often keeps your company’s security top-of-mind. Remember to keep your reminders short and sweet and to maintain an appropriate cadence to avoid overwhelm. Explore the concept of “nudging,” or gently guiding your team towards security awareness, for some creative ideas.

Now... There's a huge caveat here. Be careful not to nag your team into caring about your security or completing security training if they’ve fallen behind. No one wants a guilt trip! 

Instead, offer frequent encouragement and empowerment! Cheering your team on with repeated reinforcement promotes positivity around your program instead of negativity and dread. 

6. Make it Personal & Relevant

You could talk about your company’s security until you're blue in the face, but your breath will be wasted if your team doesn’t feel personally invested in cyber security.

Every department of your enterprise has their own pain points and concerns— and when speaking about security, you must tailor your message accordingly. 

Get executive management, leadership, employee and stakeholder buy-in by learning what each team cares about.

7. Assess Your Tech & Processes

How easy do you make it for your teams to uphold your cybersecurity initiative? For instance, while you may have rolled out a new password management system, did your employees receive proper training around it and feel confident using it? If not, individuals may sneakily keep a password document on their drive: a hacker’s delight to uncover!

Assess the tools, tech and processes you’ve put into place to empower your employees and make sure they’re not cumbersome or met with disdain. It’s tempting for individuals who don’t understand or like a certain security measure to view it as a bottleneck in their routine and skip it, creating insecurities in your defenses. 

Build a Culture of Security

No matter how you slice it, an enterprise’s cybersecurity awareness training program is only as good as its culture around security. 

Even the best learning modules are ignored if your teams resent leadership’s approach to pushing your security initiatives—i.e. guilting them to do it, making them feel stupid, treating them like your biggest weakness, punishing them for mistakes, etc.

Creating a positive security culture starts with a more empathetic, human approach. While this is a transformation that takes time, you can get a leg up by adopting a training program and resources that empower your team as advocates of your security. 

That’s why we designed Campaign in a Boxa toolkit for Security Awareness Program Owners like you hoping to roll out your security program without the headaches. Learn more about our one-of-a-kind resources for your initiative, today.

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