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  • 08 August 2023
  • 6 min read

What is the objective of a security aware employee?

What is the goal of a security-aware employee? The benefits of a holistic and security-aware workforce? And how to start your security culture journey?
FAQ what is the objective of a security aware employee

A security-aware employee is the linchpin in an organisation's defence against cyber threats, as well as the first line of defence. CISOs, DPOs and other cyber security decision-makers recognise the pivotal importance of cultivating a security-conscious workforce, especially as common risks continue to proliferate whilst innovative new-tech backed emerging threats pop up week to week.

This FAQ blog delves into the core objectives of a security-aware employee and sheds light on the profound impact they can have on safeguarding an organisation's digital assets.

The objectives of a security-aware employee

  • Mitigating insider threats: TechInjury reveals that over 34% of businesses around the globe are affected by insider threats yearly. The good news is that most organisations and businesses are aware of this. According to Gurucul’s 2023 report, insider threats are a top concern for most organisations, while 75% of organisations admitted they feel vulnerable to insider threats. A security-aware employee is trained to stamp out mistakes and unsafe behaviours and to recognise unusual behaviour and report potential insider threats promptly, minimising risks.
  • Detecting phishing attempts: Phishing attacks remain a prevalent threat, according to a report by security company Egress, 92% of organisations have fallen victim to phishing attacks in 2022. This accounts for the 29% increase in phishing incidents from 2021. TrendMicro also reveals Phishing attacks aimed at stealing info and data, also known as credential phishing, saw a 4% growth in 2022, with nearly 7 million detections. A security-aware employee is equipped to identify suspicious emails, URLs, and malicious attachments, not only thwarting phishing attempts but also acting as a cyber security role model when they spot unsafe phishing responses in colleagues.
  • Data Protection and Privacy: In 2023, approximately €1.6 billion in fines have been imposed so far due to violations of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to data from This means that in the first five months of 2023, more fines were incurred than in 2019, 2020 and 2021 combined. The objective of a security-aware employee includes respecting data privacy regulations such as GDPR and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) to maintain data confidentiality and organisational reputation, whilst avoiding debilitating financial consequences. Compliance is essential, as non-compliance is costly.
  • Incident response and reporting: Quick identification and reporting of security incidents are critical. A security-aware employee can contribute to early incident response, reducing the average time to contain a breach (currently 280 days on average). When an employee is not security-aware they not only miss cyber-attacks but when they do occur, they lack the knowledge and capacity to assess the severity and next steps. A security-aware employee will be well versed in what a cyber-attack looks like, when and who to report to and what a prompt incident response looks like.

The benefits of a security-aware employee workforce

  • Cost reduction and return on investment: uSecure data reveals that, on average, smaller businesses (under 1,000 employees) can achieve an ROI of 69% from a security awareness training program, while larger companies (1,000+ employees) can achieve an ROI of 562%.
  • Incident containment: IBM and Ponemon Institute’s “Cost of a Data Breach Report” determined that organisations that had a tested incident response plan saved an average of $1.23 million, or 35% more than organisations that did not have an incident response plan in place.
  • Enhanced reputation: A robust security-aware culture bolsters an organisation's reputation, preserving customer trust and loyalty. In contrast, data breaches erode consumer confidence and brand value. A Forbes Insight report found that 46% of organisations had suffered reputational damage because of a data breach and 19% of organisations suffered reputation and brand damage because of a third-party security breach. A Centrify study found that 65 percent of data breach victims lost trust in an organisation because of the breach. Furthermore, IDC (International Data Corporation) found that 80 percent of consumers in developed nations will defect from a business if their information is compromised in a security breach. On top of lost trust, companies also need to worry about the networks of directly affected customers. An Interactions Marketing survey found that 85% tell others about their experience and 33.5% use social media to complain about their experience.
  • Regulatory compliance: Compliance with data protection regulations is a legal obligation. A security-aware workforce ensures adherence, avoiding hefty fines and legal complications.

How to foster security awareness?

  • Regular training and workshops: Conduct ongoing cyber security training sessions to keep employees informed about evolving threats and best practices. One-time cyber security training does not work as information is not retained. Use all communication channels like an online learning system, physical posters, leaflets, GIFs, and team activities to keep the topic fresh and keep employees engaged. Curious about the different communication channels you can leverage? Let’s talk about it.
  • Simulations and gamification: Test and enhance employees' ability to identify different cyber threats and risks with realistic but engaging simulations as well as scenario-based games. For example, you can instil strong password management through a combination of Password Security eLearning and TSC’s Password Panther or Password Cracker games. Book a demo to check out our games.
  • Clear policies and guidelines: Establish comprehensive security policies and guidelines that employees can easily follow. To support this, make sure your policies and learning materials are consistently available and are easy to access for employees at any time. You can enlist the use of a tool like SABR (Security Awareness and Behaviour Research) to pinpoint what policies and guidelines need enhancement or are simply being ignored – after this, you can then build a security awareness programme to address your vulnerabilities.
  • Reward and champion systems: Recognise and reward employees for exceptional security-aware behaviour, thus encouraging security role models to sustain strong cyber security behaviours whilst also encouraging laxer employees to improve towards a championship status.


An employee is not merely a cog in the cyber security wheel but a dynamic force that can significantly impact an organisation's digital resilience. A security-aware employee is a strong durable cog, whilst an oblivious and untrained employee is more an insider threat than anything.

For CISOs, DPOs, and other cyber security decision-makers, the objectives of cultivating a security-aware workforce are multifaceted, ranging from protecting your reputation to regulatory compliance. By understanding these objectives and leveraging the potential impact, your organisation can invest in strategies to nurture a security-conscious culture, fortifying against the ever-present cyber threats of the modern era.

If you would like informationabout how The Security Company can help you to formulate a cyber security training and awareness program for your organisation and how we help support security leaders in setting up a fresh cyber security awareness framework ... please contact our Head of Business Development and Sales,  Jenny Mandley.

The Security Company's vast library of customised and non-customised products and services are tailored for small, medium and large organisations and are available in a variety of languages. We also offer bespoke solutions for organisations that desire training and awareness materials built from the ground up.

Written by
Nas Ali
Cyber security and awareness content creator focused on emerging threats and the next wave of cyber security risks like AI, deepfakes and tech 4.0 initiatives in order to build towards a more secure organisational culture.
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