- Employee awareness
- 7 min read
Yes, organisations need to fortify their physical and technical defences with advanced and innovative technologies, but they also need to address many aspects of the human factor – in this case: cognitive biases and how to train them out.
Cyber security is not just about firewalls and antivirus software; it is about the employees who interact with your system and network … and the hackers looking to exploit their behaviours.
This edition of The Insider sheds light on the often-overlooked realm of cognitive biases in cyber security and offers insights into how organisations can leverage cyber security training and awareness to mitigate these risks effectively.
In cyber security, cognitive biases represent systematic patterns of deviation from rational judgment, leading individuals to make decisions based on subjective factors rather than objective evidence. Recognising, comprehending, and training out these biases is paramount for organisations aiming to fortify their security posture.
Let us dive into a detailed exploration of various cognitive biases prevalent in cyber security:
Understanding these cognitive biases is the first step towards building a resilient cyber security culture. By incorporating this knowledge into training programs, organisations can empower their employees to recognise and overcome these biases, fostering a more secure and vigilant workforce.
But how do we do that?
Successfully navigating the intricate landscape of cognitive biases in cyber security necessitates a comprehensive approach, intertwining effective training strategies with a robust organisational culture. Here is what we recommend:
1. Train consistently:
Consistency is key when it comes to cyber security training. Regular, ongoing training sessions ensure that employees remain informed about the evolving threat landscape. Develop a curriculum that not only addresses current cyber threats but also delves into the intricacies of cognitive biases and emerging threats. By weaving these biases and innovations into routine training, organisations foster a culture of continuous learning, helping employees stay vigilant against emerging cyber risks.
Instead of relegating cyber security training and awareness to one session or one month, implement a monthly or quarterly cyber security gaming session to keep employees on their toes or a newsletter that highlights recent threats, incorporates real-world examples of cognitive biases in action, and provides practical tips for mitigating these biases.
2. Deploy targeted and personalised training:
A one-size-fits-all approach to training is insufficient in addressing the diverse roles and responsibilities within an organisation. Tailor training materials to specific job functions, ensuring relevance and engagement. Personalised content enhances understanding, enabling employees to connect cyber security principles directly to their daily tasks.
Design role-specific eLearning modules that simulate realistic scenarios, highlighting how cognitive biases can impact decision-making in different departments. For instance, the finance teams might face different threats than those at Reception or in HR, and tailored content can reflect these nuances.
3. Make cyber security culture a core part of your organisational culture:
Embedding cyber security into the fabric of organisational culture is pivotal. It is not merely a set of rules; it is a shared responsibility embraced by every member of the organisation. Leadership should champion a proactive and security-centric mindset, emphasising the importance of cyber security in achieving broader business goals.
Integrate cyber security discussions into regular team meetings, especially at the board level, fostering an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting potential threats or discussing cyber security concerns. Recognise and reward proactive security behaviours to reinforce the cultural shift.
4. Use behavioural assessments to measure attitudes and pinpoint lax security behaviours:
Behavioural assessments serve as valuable tools for gauging the efficacy of cyber security training efforts. By measuring attitudes and pinpointing lax security behaviours, organisations can identify areas for improvement and tailor future training initiatives accordingly.
Conduct regular simulated phishing exercises to test employees' susceptibility to phishing attacks. Work with TSC to run a SABR (Security Awareness and Behaviour Research) survey on your business and your employees to gather a comprehensive pack of security behaviour data and recommendations on maximising your training and awareness initiatives.
5. Incorporate interactive elements:
Enhance engagement by incorporating interactive elements into training materials. Cyber security games, quizzes, and interactive scenarios not only make training more enjoyable but also provide practical, hands-on experience in recognising and addressing cognitive biases.
For instance, if your organisation utilises a virtual reality space, why not deploy one of TSC’s Virtual Reality games or scenario-based exercises? Employees will hardly realise the skills and tricks they are learning whilst they enjoy a simulated virtual environment.
6. Utilise microlearning modules:
Break down complex cyber security concepts into bite-sized, digestible modules. Microlearning allows employees to absorb information in short sessions, increasing retention and understanding. This approach accommodates different learning styles and fits seamlessly into busy schedules.
It is why all of TSC’s eLearning courses are between 5 to 20 minutes long. If you cannot get these concepts across to employees in that time, your content is not as engaging as ours! Employees can access these modules at their convenience, reinforcing key concepts without overwhelming them with lengthy training sessions.
7. Encourage reporting and learning from security incidents:
Establish a reporting mechanism for security incidents and near-misses. Encourage a culture of transparency and learning from mistakes, fostering an environment where employees feel empowered to share their experiences and insights. Implement a confidential reporting system for security incidents and provide regular updates on lessons learned.
By intertwining these strategies, organisations can create a resilient cyber security culture that not only mitigates cognitive biases but also empowers employees to proactively contribute to the ongoing security posture of the organisation. The combination of consistent training, targeted initiatives, and a cultural shift towards cyber security consciousness positions organisations to navigate the dynamic and evolving cyber threat landscape effectively.
At The Security Company, we specialise in boosting cyber awareness, targeted training, customised projects and role-based solutions. Through our tailored subscription services, targeted and customised eLearning and awareness materials and our behavioural assessments, we're committed to helping organisations like yours instil long-term, security-conscious behaviours.
Our method is distinct. We begin by diving deep into your team's current mindset, pinpointing lax behaviours, security gaps and departments in need of focus and attention. From there, we craft tailored solutions that encourage better cyber practices from your employees. With comprehensive training and seamless integration into your current systems, we're here to fortify your team against modern cyber threats and be your trusted cyber security and awareness partner.
Ready to take the next step?
We can help you to formulate an effective and comprehensive cyber security training and awareness program for your organisation year-round and be your dedicated partner for employee behaviour change and, ultimately, security culture change.
Do not hesitate to contact us for further information.
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