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5 Reasons Why Your Cyber Security Training for Employees Falls Short

December 8, 2023
Posted by Andre Marion
Five Reasons Why Your Cyber Security Training for Employees Falls Short

“The videos are so bad. I let it play in the background while I did something else because I couldn’t fast-forward through it.” “It’s the same stuff over and over.” “It doesn’t relate to what I do.”... That’s what your employees say about your cyber security training.

Is it frustrating? Are your readers grudgingly doing their quarterly cyber training to get it out of the way? It’s happening because you’re focused on checking the boxes — not what will engage the user.

This is a global problem because the stakes are so high. 9 out of 10 breaches still involve employee behavior. Trying to influence that behavior is a highly profitable multi-billion-dollar business. The biggest player in this space went public and is going private again — enriching its investors — but, seriously, have you ever heard an employee talk about how good it is?

Why do your employees forget their cybersecurity training by lunchtime?

Human memory is not designed for long-term retention of information, especially when it's not reinforced regularly. One-off cyber security training sessions fail to make a lasting impact. Without consistent reinforcement, employees gradually lose the knowledge, and 90% of it is gone within a week.

The effectiveness of a training program hinges on its ability to engage. Unfortunately, many cyber security training materials fail to capture the attention of employees. They’re bored with it. They’re checking the boxes, too. 

Here are five of the reasons why your cyber security training comes up short:

Reason 1: Repetition

Repetitive staff cyber security awareness training

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The Problem

Repetition can be an effective tool for learning math and language, but too much leads to diminishing returns. An annual cycle of delivering the same material creates employees' sense of déjà vu. They tune out. 

How it Affects Employee Engagement

Employees disengage when training becomes monotonous and repetitive, leading to reduced information retention. The goal should be creating a “buzz” in your employees’ brains — “hey, wait, that doesn’t look right” — because cybersecurity will never be top of mind unless they’re on your IT team.

Reason 2: Boredom

Image by Storyset on Freepik
Boring cyber security training for staff

The Role of Engagement in Learning

Engagement is crucial for effective learning. Engaged employees are likelier to pay attention, participate actively, and retain information if the content is relevant to their lives, current in its scope, and in language that’s easy to understand. Traditional cybersecurity training programs just don’t work that way. Lengthy, text-heavy presentations and dry technical jargon is boring.

Why Boring Training Fails to Engage

Boring training materials lead to cognitive dissonance—employees tune out the content. They struggle to connect with the subject even though they’re interested in it! Most employees care about protecting their employers and, certainly, protecting their families from cybercrime.

Reason 3: Irrelevance

Irrelevant cyber security training for staff

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The Significance of Relevant Training

Employees are more likely to invest in cybersecurity training when they perceive its relevance. Effective training should equip employees to protect company data and help them safeguard their personal information and families. Yes, workplace cybersecurity is the priority. But smart cyber professionals realize that content about protecting their homes and kids is a strong hook to get them involved at work.

Irrelevant Training Leaves Employees Disinterested

Training that lacks relevance feels like a chore. Employees who fail to see the practical application of cybersecurity principles will struggle to engage with the material. It is a missed opportunity to foster a sense of personal responsibility.

Reason 4: Forgetfulness

Forgetful staff cyber security awareness training

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The Forgetting Curve Phenomenon

It’s a fact: we just don’t remember much of what we learn. The “forgetfulness curve” is a well-documented psychological trait. Information retention declines over time when there's no effort to reinforce learning. Employees may quickly forget the knowledge acquired during training sessions without periodic reinforcement.

Addressing Forgetfulness Through Spaced Learning

To combat the forgetting curve, cybersecurity training should incorporate spaced learning. This approach involves delivering information in smaller, spaced-out sessions over time. Regularly revisiting key concepts helps reinforce employees' understanding of security practices.

Reason 5: Lack of Application

Employee computer training - Lack of application

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The Need for Practical Application

Effective security training should extend beyond theory to practical application. Employees need to understand not just the "what" and "why" of security practices but also the "how." Employees may struggle to implement security measures in real-life scenarios without practical application.

Bridging the Gap 

To bridge the gap between training and practical application, incorporate real-life scenarios into your training. Interactive examples, quizzes, videos, and real-world stories can help employees develop the confidence to identify and respond to threats.

Solutions for Effective Cyber Security Training

It’s time to shake things up. By integrating strong content and promoting continuous learning, you can equip your employees with the knowledge and skills to defend against evolving cyber threats.

As you know, your employees are your strongest asset in the fight against cybercrime, and effective training is the key to unlocking their potential.

Cybersecurity training doesn't have to be boring, repetitive, or ineffective. To create engaging and impactful training programs:

  • Incorporate Real-Life Scenarios: Make training relevant by using real-world examples and scenarios that employees can relate to.
  • Utilize Engaging Training Methods: Embrace interactive and engaging training methods, such as gamification, storytelling, quizzes, and multimedia presentations.

How to Promote Continuous Learning

Encourage employees to adopt a mindset of continuous learning and self-improvement in cyber security. Aim to deliver relevant, snackable cyber security content at least once a month.

Most importantly, drop the tech talk

How Aware Force Delivers Next-Generation Results — for only five minutes of your time.

At Aware Force, we deliver bespoke cybersecurity content. That's timely, relevant material that employees love — and let IT teams know it without being asked. The content is fresh, interactive, customized to be relevant to you and your organization, and best of all, requires only a few minutes to send to your organization.

Our content empowers employees to protect themselves and their families at work and in their daily lives. Aware Force is cost-effective and delivers measurable results for senior management and the board.

You’re settling for a “check the box” approach when you could easily be delivering a solution that makes your team the cybersecurity heroes. We pick up where your cyber security training leaves off, ensuring that your workforce remains vigilant and informed.

Check out our extensive cyber library and our awesome cybersecurity newsletter — all branded and tailored for you. 

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