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Staying Cyber Safe This Holiday Season with Security Awareness Training

Dec 13, 20225 mins

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Credit: iStock

The holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year for cybercriminals. Threat adversaries inevitably have more opportunities to carry out targeted attacks as more people are online shopping and checking emails for coupons that could actually be phishing attacks.

Well-staffed security teams using the right technologies can undoubtedly go a long way in protecting organizations against cybercrime. Still, the reality is that employees are an organization’s first line of defense when it comes to halting bad actors. Cybersecurity is everyone’s job, not just the responsibility of the security and IT teams.

That’s why one of the best protections an organization can implement to keep themselves, their employees, and their networks safe—especially during the busiest time of the year—is an organization-wide cybersecurity awareness program.

Why Cyber Awareness Training Should Matter to Everyone

One successful attack—even a single accidental click on the wrong hyperlink—can wreak havoc on an organization’s reputation and bottom line. That’s why security awareness training for today’s workforce is critical, as it’s designed to help organizations ensure their first line of defense – employees – can guard against an always-evolving array of threats. According to a recent survey, 87 percent of organizations have a training program in place to increase cyber awareness. However, 52 percent of leaders believe their employees still lack the necessary security knowledge, raising questions about the effectiveness of those programs. As such, leaders should re-exam awareness programs to ensure they are being used on an ongoing basis to create a true cyber-aware culture rather than to deliver a single training event.

Good cyber hygiene practices—such as understanding how to spot ransomware, phishing, and social engineering techniques, to name a few—become increasingly important during the holiday season as attackers find new and clever ways to infiltrate networks. There’s no time like the present to ensure employees have the necessary knowledge to help curb potential cyberattacks.

Organizations should consider implementing a cybersecurity training program for their employees. From free cybersecurity training resources to more customized cyber education programs, numerous options are available to suit organizations of all shapes and sizes.

Free Cybersecurity Training Resources

There are plenty of free cybersecurity training resources available, yet not all security training programs are created equal. Here are several comprehensive options developed by reputable institutions that are available at no cost.

  • The Cybersecurity Learning Hub, an initiative founded by Salesforce, Fortinet, the Global Cyber Alliance and the World Economic Forum, is democratizing access to cybersecurity education by providing free training and resources for individuals to begin their cybersecurity careers, as well as those interested in learning how to stay safe online. Users can visit the Cybersecurity Career Path and follow guided learning “paths,” explore cybersecurity content, and join a Cybersecurity Trailblazer community group. Anyone can get #SecuritySavvy and start their learning journey to build a cybersecurity career. 
  • The Fortinet Training Institute offers free training and on-demand labs with different pathways for end users and security and IT teams. NSE 1 and 2 for end users, focuses on the evolving threat landscape and covers common attack types, as well as how to spot them. The Fortinet Training Institute also offers courses to support individuals in key areas such as SD-WAN and zero-trust network access.
  • For security and IT professionals looking to enhance their skills, (ISC)2 offers free access to its Certified in Cybersecurity program, which includes online, self-paced training courses and exams.

Choosing the Right Security Awareness Program for Your Organization

To change employee behavior, IT and security teams ultimately need to apply a programmatic approach to security awareness. Any program should involve numerous touch points, formats, and tools that are shared with employees continually to educate, test, and reinforce their knowledge.

However, not all organizations have the capacity or desire to create their own cyber awareness training campaigns. For organizations wanting to start with an organization-wide cyber education program, consider engaging a trusted vendor to help you develop a customized training program that can meet your enterprise’s unique needs.

Fortinet’s Security Awareness and Training Service

As organizations evaluate security training options, one option to consider is Fortinet Training Institute’s Security Awareness and Training service, an easy to deploy SaaS-based offering that delivers relevant awareness training on today’s cybersecurity threats. The service helps IT, security, and compliance leaders build a cyber-aware culture where employees can easily recognize and avoid falling victim to cyberattacks. The service also offers a management portal for administrators to launch campaigns and monitor and report users’ progress. 

Cybercriminals are constantly changing their techniques, making it crucial for everyone to understand cyber hygiene basics. Implementing security training programs—both for security professionals and non-technical employees—is a must to protect organizations from cyberattacks not only this holiday season but all year long.

Find out more about how Fortinet’s Training Advancement Agenda (TAA) and Training Institute programs—including the NSE Certification programAcademic Partner program, and Education Outreach program—are increasing access to training to help solve the cyber skills gap