why employees need security awareness training

Security Awareness Checklist: What You Need in 2021?

June 17, 2020

Cyberattacks happen because of several vulnerabilities. More than the attack, we should think about what major mistakes we have made and do not want to repeat. Learning from your and others’ mistakes helps in strengthening your weaknesses. Humans are considered the most vulnerable entity in a cybersecurity chain. The best way to defend your data security is by empowering your employees to identify the visible signs of cybercrimes. The best way to do so is by integrating strategic security awareness training. Take a look at the listed points before you build a security awareness program for your employees.

3 Best Practices to Consider Before Incorporating a Security Awareness Program

1. Security training mandatory for new employees

Creating awareness and educating new employees about online security threats and attacks should start from their day of joining the firm. Incorporating a security awareness training into your onboarding program ensures it covers the vital aspects such as data protection rules and policies, and the employee is aware from the start.

The onboarding stage will show the new hires that the organization cares about the security aspects as it does for job duties and responsibilities. As an outcome, the new hires can understand the importance of careful online behavior from their first week.

2. Revise and repeat security training regularly

Security training for employees must often be conducted with lots of opportunities for practicing safe online behaviors in between. Constant security awareness programs are also the means by which an organization includes any additional changes and information about the latest scams into your training.

3. Boost employee confidence

Though employees are always the primary target for cyberattacks, they are also the first defense line. And keeping your defense firm will build the cyber protection of your organization. To motivate employees and make them feel a part of the training programs, you should incorporate gamification tricks that make them feel inspired and appreciated for their security training achievements.

Second, when a threat is identified, roll out a company-wide email to inform employees how much their training has helped the company defend the upcoming attacks.

Security Awareness Program Checklist

The security awareness program guides you how to use the best practices resulting in the organization’s successful security posture. The goal of a security awareness program is to implement best practices and increase the knowledge of the newest security threats and prevent them. The program ensures all employees in the organization possess a minimum level of know-how concerning security matters, followed by an appropriate sense of responsibility. Hence having a checklist in place will help the firm plan and manage its security awareness training program effectively. The list below provides the steps needed while preparing a checklist of your organization.


  • Build a crisp project plan that will help the training program.
  • Build a baseline of the organization’s security posture and identify the aspects that should be covered in the security awareness program.
  • Identify the goals, risks, and security policies of your company.
  • List the catalog of compliance or audit standards that the organization must implement.
  • Identify security awareness requirements for the standards.
  • List the key stakeholders and take their approval and support.
  • Build and form a team that will help plan, execute, and maintain the training program.
  • Distinguish the target audience and chart the training plan for different roles (e.g., employees, IT personnel, developers, senior leadership).
  • Pair up the different content types to different roles of the employees in the organization. The content is the training modules or material to be delivered by a security professional within the organization. The material can differ from security awareness training posters, email phish testing software that trains and assesses employees, and on-site training presentations and testing.
  • Identify the key topics and modes of communicating the content, such as in-person, video, online, hands-on, etc.
  • Include 3 categories of training: new, annual, and ongoing. 


  • To meet the requirements, design the training materials and content based on different job roles.
  • Document how and when you intend to measure the success of the program.
  • Track the completion of the training of every group.


  • Stay abreast of new technology updates, threats, and compliance standards. Include them in the annual update in the training manual.
  • Conduct periodic assessments.
  • Survey the training program asking for feedback on the usefulness, effectiveness, understanding, implementation, and recommendation.
  • About the training program and how future training programs should reflect that feedback.
  • Involve the key decision-makers for future support, endorsement, and promotion.
  • Gauge when to review your security awareness program each year.


  • The most important aspect of any training program is to document. Incorporate the security awareness program information and mention the past listed steps in each of the sections above.
  • It should also contain a mechanism for reviewing employee feedback about the training program and how future training programs should reflect that feedback.


  • One of the vital aspects of security awareness training, i.e., simulation. Organizations usually repeat the same mistakes by merely using identical simulation techniques every time. This way, the teams get prepared to catch on to the simulation schedule and be better prepared to respond. To get a real conclusion of security preparedness, suggest trying to conduct simulations at random times. This way, companies can identify the success of their training through careful scheduling and comprehensive analysis.

Does Security Awareness Training Really Work?

The below graph projects how efficient security awareness training is at reducing cyber risk. Employees who receive security training are significantly more skilled at identifying threats than those who have not.


Source: Osterman Research - Security awareness meter indicating before and after training comparison.

Organizations that are planning on getting an advanced cybersecurity awareness training solution for their employees must check out EC-Council's Aware. The comprehensive solution enables your employees to identify cyber threats and how to keep data protected. Aware is the one-stop shop for all your security awareness challenges.