The frequency of cybersecurity breaches has prompted businesses to include core security awareness training topics to educate employees. Your network and data are the most important pieces of the assets you own.

Training your staff on the best internet security practices is in the same context as civilians are taught to be aware of their environment — and report any activity that might stand out.

In this post, we explore the top 10 security awareness training topics that can help organisations reduce human cyber errors.  

What are the most essential cyber security awareness training topics for employees in 2022?

10 security awareness training topics

1. Phishing Attacks

Phishing: This is a security threat that often involves impersonating key decision makers within the organisation to gain access to valuable information. For cyber criminals, it’s their favourite pastime hobby.

But why is phishing still such a nuisance?

With phishing numbers sky rocketing in 2020, it’s maintained a steady upward trend continuing into 2022, with hybrid work models, making it easier for hackers to target those most vulnerable.  

Maintain your enterprise’s credibility by teaching your employees how to identify red flags in suspicious emails. E.g., spelling errors in the email address, urgent request to take action, unfamiliar/strange email addresses.  

Security awareness training for phishing makes employees 50% less likely to fall for phishing tactics. 

7/10 times, it may be difficult for your staff to determine whether an email may cause sensitive data leaks or a catastrophic security episode. An important factor is that over time, cyber-attackers have become smarter and more innovative with hacking techniques.

For example, business email compromise (BEC) is a most frequent type of phishing.  It involves looking at the profile of a particular company—especially the personal profile of a company—to make the attack credible and perhaps more legitimate. 

Big institutions remain vulnerable, despite spending millions on security, and cybercriminals have plenty of opportunities to exploit weak technologies.

Train your employees regularly on how to promptly report phishing attacks as soon as they learn that their business is at risk.

2. Ransomware

This security threat targets a user’s computer by getting into their systems and encrypting important files, and in return demands heavy money requests. 

Ransomware often comes as a package deal with phishing emails, mailed to users asking them to open attached links within those “phishy” emails.  It has been troubling the industry since 1989, though, when Bitcoin struck the scene in 2009, that is about the time Ransomware rose in popularity. That gave the hackers a cover extort huge sums of ransom. 

To prevent ransomware attacks in 2022, your employees should be trained in the following key methods of practice, including:

  • Thinking twice about opening suspicious emails or links. 
  • Maintaining regular software updates 
  • Protecting their online accounts using multi-factor authentications (Google accounts, banking logins, social media).
  • Experimenting with unique password combos.
  • Logging of networks if their computer has a bug. 
  • Having a large backup recovery system that keeps files out of reach of cyber criminals. 

3. Passwords

Passwords and authentication steps are often pushed aside, but remember they keep your accounts secure. Don’t ever set your favourite football player as your trusted password. Been there and done that. Learned an important lesson, and would strongly advise you against it. Because all it does is give malicious actors, really good guesses in getting a free entry into your accounts. 10/10 times simple passwords and recognisable patterns are easily understood by hackers. And, when this information is stolen, it becomes public property on the dark web and getting it back becomes almost impossible. 

Try to use randomised passwords and change them frequently. Another thing that helps is using two-factor authentication, as it cements an extra protection layer on your accounts. We know, having so many passwords to keep track of can be quite the challenge. But with adequate password security awareness training, empower employees on how to mitigate cyber attacks with the following healthy habits:

  • Use strong passwords for all your accounts.
  • Do not keep passwords like partner birthdays, credit card pins, or other precious information.
  • Maintain some mystery on personal details that you market on social media sites. This ensures that hackers won’t be able to guess passwords or security questions, i.e., the name of your childhood best friend. 
  • Play with numbers, symbols, and letters. Have fun with this! The web is big enough for your creative imagination. 

4. Social Engineering

In layman’s terms, a common technique that needs a good bit of human psychological understanding is to gain the trust of the employees and get valuable personal information. Social engineers get into the nitty-gritty of sensitive data by asserting fear, friendship, or greed. Employees need to be educated on security awareness topics in today’s evolving threat landscape.  Social engineers are after things like passwords, pins or anything tangible that can be used to perform a cyber attack against a specific company in the later stages. 

5. Physical Security

If you think data breaches only happen when you’re hit with malware or phishing emails, then you’re sorely mistaken. Leaving confidential documents on your desk, unattended devices and passwords around the office is increasing security risk. Hackers can get creative when it comes to stealing data. That’s why giving employees a lesson in security awareness should be a top priority for managers. Always be mindful of your surroundings before accessing private information on your devices. And finally, be on your guard at all times, because even the people you work with could be trying to pry into your information. 

6. Mobile Security

Everyone has a mobile phone, and most have multiple smart devices like smart watches, tablets, and laptops. Using our technological devices on the move has become a safe haven for hackers. It’s no joke that we are all dependent on our smartphones, and that increased connectivity is also a subject to security risks. For smaller businesses, mobile workers are less costly. User device accountability is a popular training topic in 2022, primarily for remote workers. The resurgence of malicious mobile apps enables malware within the phones to perform greater and worse security threats. 

Build Security Awareness Training programs that inspire trust and loyalty.

 

Security awareness training for mobile device works could significantly take down the risk factor by many notches. Without the need for pricey security protocols. As a responsible mobile user, you should follow the best practices if your device gets lost or stolen. Consequently, companies should get mobile employees to sign security policies. 

7. Working Remotely 

We’re now in the middle of 2022. At this stage, companies have solidified full time working from home policies. It’s been well reported that remote working has triggered not only increased productivity, but also great work-life balance.  With the positives of working remotely, there are also the negative security breach threats. In fact, 91% of businesses saw increased cyber attacks as employees were adjusting to the work from home setup. 

 

strong-security-awareness-training-culture
Photo by christina-morillo from Pexels

 

Data Policy and Security Awareness Training should go hand in hand. 

8. Cloud Security

Cloud computing is transforming how businesses operate, with the ability to store copious amounts of data. Therefore, big companies are constantly looking for new technologies to protect their data. For example, Cloud Storage is not only cost-efficient, but also a much safer option of storing company data. However, a top concern around cloud security are dreaded insider threats. Though, insider threats are much more of a threat to SMEs than large scale cloud companies. Gartner predicts that by the year 2025, cyberattacks will be driven by incredibly powerful technology.

What are Insider Cloud Security threats?

Let’s put it this way: only authorized users can perpetrate insider attacks. Avoid large amounts of data leakage, by strengthening Identity Access Management Operations (IAM) with Multifactor authentication methods. And, create drama-free offboarding employee processes, so leavers can no longer have access to valuable organisation data. There is always more danger within your own organisation rather than outside. Insider threats can be catastrophic, but the positive is that you can take back internal control once you’ve identified them.

9. Web Browsing

Anyone using the internet should know about threats and vulnerabilities. Especially when employees use Wi-Fi networks in public space, i.e., hotels, airports, and cafes. Security awareness training should cover risks related to the connection of websites and applications to wireless networks. 

10. Incident Reporting

In every case, your employees should be advised on the policies and resources they need to approach whenever there is an issue. 

Don’t have prior policies in place? Communicate with your staff and remind them of the type of security incidents they should report, where to report, and how to proceed in the future.  Read the NCSC National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) guidebook with information on how to report incidents in the UK.  

However, despite the frequency and cost of cyber attacks, many organisations still neglect investing in security awareness training: Consider these statistics:

  • Security awareness training can help reduce the cost of phishing threats by more than 50%, according to a Proofpoint report.
  • Significantly reduce the business consequences of a cyber attack of up to 72%, even with a small security awareness training budget.
  • Companies that regularly undergo security awareness training saw 70% lowered security occurrences.

Today, security awareness training is a successful method to improve the health and safety levels of any business. Yet, the significant IT department budget cuts due to COVID-19 have made it incredibly difficult to convince non-tech business owners.

Ignorance is not bliss. Neglecting security awareness training is the main reason why organisations are becoming more and more vulnerable. Decision makers should schedule monthly training sessions, train old/new staff on new policies, and recognise individuals who ensure proactive organisational security.

Use the top 10 security awareness training topics mentioned in this post as a guide to build actionable workforce strategies to lead successful security awareness campaigns.

Improve your resilience with our security awareness training, and create a security culture you deserve. Call us today and we’ll customise cybersecurity training plans based on your unique needs.

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