Introduction: Who Is a Cybersecurity Awareness Trainer?
A cybersecurity awareness trainer trains a group of people, especially employees, and users, on identifying threats and reacting to cyber-attacks. This helps all personnel understand their roles in protecting the confidentiality and integrity of the organization’s resources from cyber-attacks.
The cybersecurity trainer role is crucial to security awareness training. It promotes an organization-wide security culture that ensures employees understand the gravity of cyber-attacks and the consequences of their actions.
Cybersecurity professionals in this role may also manage the security awareness team, develop the training program, and oversee continuous training.
The security awareness trainer can vary, depending on a business’s needs. An organization can contract a cybersecurity instructor to conduct periodic training exercises for employees in a classroom-based setting.
Security awareness training can also be delivered through online courses with visual aids, simulated real-world attacks, and computer-based programs.
Modern businesses prefer the virtual training model because it allows employees to learn security awareness and apply it in their day-to-day activities immediately. It also allows remote teams to access training materials wherever and whenever they want.
Cybrary’s affordable and accessible platform provides a wide range of resources to help organizations train their employees on the best security practices. Already trusted by 96% of Fortune 1000 companies, Cybrary’s security awareness instructors are certified professionals with decades of experience. Learn on Cybrary for free today.
8 Best Practices for Implementing Cybersecurity Awareness
An organization's workforce is the first line of defense against cyber-attacks. Considering most cyber-attacks target employees first, it's critical to train unsuspecting staff on what to do before, during, and after a security incident.
Here are eight ways a Cybersecurity Awareness Trainer can perform their role effectively:
1. Make Cybersecurity Clear to Employees
It’s essential to outline the importance of cybersecurity to employees from the onset. The message must be understandable to non-technical personnel, relatable to each person’s risks, and diversified across all levels of the organization.
2. Encourage Extra Care of Devices
Most people will say they are already security-conscious. However, the cybersecurity awareness trainer must reinforce the need for the extra care on personal or corporate devices. Employees must understand that their gadgets are the gateways to the organization and must be protected.
Here are ways a trainer can encourage extra care over devices:
- Teach the difference between corporate and personal usage.
- Mandate that corporate accounts and devices are subject to monitoring and web filtering.
- Ensure security patches and operating system updates are strictly adhered to.
- Promote good office hygiene by ensuring employees know old-school security risks like eavesdropping, tailgating, and dumpster-diving.
3. Establish Guidelines for Spotting Malicious Activity
Trainers must teach employees how to identify suspicious activities. Some signs that employees must be aware of include the following:
- The sudden appearance of unknown apps and programs on their devices.
- Unusual popups and notifications appear during device startup, normal operation, or just before shutdown.
- When their devices become slower.
- Loss of control of the keyboard or mouse.
- New browser extensions or tabs.
- Suspicious activity with secondary storage devices.
Trainers must encourage employees not to overlook such suspicious signs and report them immediately. It doesn't matter whether it ends up being a false alarm. Alerting the necessary authorities is the best option. Ultimately, this can help fix device errors and improve productivity.
4. Reinforce Confidentiality for Work From Home (WFH) Employees
Some employees become complacent when working from home, which is a huge concern for cybersecurity. Trainers must emphasize the importance of password security, management, and authentication. It doesn't matter if they're relaxed because security isn't. And cybercriminals are working round-the-clock to exploit vulnerabilities.
As part of measures to reinforce confidentiality, employees must observe the following:
- Periodic password changes
- Eliminate the use of universal passwords across all devices.
- Use multi-factor authentication, VPN, and other secure log-in practices.
5. Examine Real-World Cases of Data Breaches
Security awareness training is incomplete without cases of data breaches. Employees must learn from cyber-attacks that may have happened to the company or other companies. Hence, a cyber awareness training provider must examine real-world examples to improve personnel knowledge of cybersecurity practices.
6. Recommend Online Security Awareness Courses
There are numerous cybersecurity courses available online for both management and employees. The workforce must leverage these courses to improve their knowledge of security awareness.
The Center for Internet Security (CIS) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have courses tailored to this scope.
7. Provide Simulation and Gamification Training
Employees must never be new to cyber-attacks. A cyber awareness trainer must provide practical scenarios of how an incident could occur. Phishing simulation training can be done to acquaint employees with social engineering.
8. Make Cybersecurity Awareness a Continuous Process
Cybersecurity awareness is not a one-time event. Organizations and their employees must grow with evolving threats. Training must be done regularly, and employees must continually observe security best practices.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Cybersecurity Awareness Trainer
The cybersecurity awareness trainer role aligns with the NICE Workforce Framework to Oversee and Govern, Protect and Defend, and Securely Provision.
Here are your responsibilities in this role:
- Train employees and users on how to recognize and prevent email security threats. This includes phishing scams, spoofing, vishing, whaling, and others.
- Promote organization-wide security awareness. This will apply to in-house and outsourced teams, including employees working from home.
- Train employees on how to protect against malware attacks like ransomware, spyware, scareware, adware, and keylogger. This will also cover anti-virus measures.
- Organize periodic security awareness training to ensure employees adopt security practices. This will also ensure that all personnel are conversant with the latest security threat.
- Provide real-world threat simulations to reinforce the importance of security awareness in the organization.
- Establish organization-wide password security and management measures. This includes how often passwords are changed, password format, and the use of multi-factor authentication.
- Train employees on how to respond to and report incidents.
- Provide training on acceptable practices for personal and corporate devices, including removable media. Part of this training will cover how to disable autorun on PCs and ensure the IT team scans all removable devices before use.
- Establish guidelines on social media use. This includes instructions on clicking links and responding to people pretending to be C-Level executives or other fake customer representatives.
- Train employees on safe internet habits, such as differentiating between secure and unsecured websites, recognizing watering hole attacks, downloading from suspicious sites, and identifying spoofed domains.
- Provide data management guidelines. This includes the approved storage locations for company data and how to handle data in motion.
- Developing the Bring Your Own Device Policy (BYOD).
- Establishing physical security measures such as clean desks and office hygiene. This also includes security measures against shoulder surfing, dumpster diving, eavesdropping, tailgating, etc.
Training employees on cybersecurity awareness helps them understand how they can help protect the company from insider and external threats. Rather than being unsuspecting accomplices, they are the frontline defenders against cyber-criminals.
A cyber awareness trainer empowers employees to be vigilant and aware of security threats.
If you’re already a cybersecurity trainer or you want to advance your career into security awareness training, Cybrary provides high-level training resources. The CIS Critical Security Control 14 course helps you learn how to train teams to identify and report security incidents. Start now.