What is Security Awareness?

Security awareness, or security awareness training, comprises various training measures to sensitize employees of a company or organization to topics relating to the security of IT systems. The aim is to minimize the threats to IT security caused by employees.

What is Security Awareness?

During security awareness training, employees are trained on the various topics related to computer security in the company. Training can take various forms and can be conducted as classroom training or online training. The goal of security awareness (SecAware) is to make participants aware of IT security issues and provide them with the necessary knowledge to deal with various security threats during their daily work.

Security awareness training also teaches about specific corporate IT security policies and processes. Participants receive information on which procedures to follow or people to inform when security-relevant events are detected. If companies have a high turnover of employees or employ a large number of external or temporary workers, the training courses should be held at regular intervals.

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The training sessions strengthen the understanding of the importance of data and IT infrastructure security. The success of security awareness training can be verified, for example, by observing the number of security-related incidents in the company over a certain period of time.

Goals of Security Awareness

Since people represent the highest risk for IT security besides technology itself, they must be sensitized to the possible threat scenarios. This is the only way to achieve compliance with a certain security level.

The IT security concept in place at the company can only be implemented if employees are aware of it and follow it. In order to recognize possible threats at an early stage, to ward them off, and to prevent consequences from arising in the first place, the training attempts to increase the security awareness and the security knowledge of the participants.

Possible contents of a security awareness training course

Security awareness training can include many different topics. Typical training contents are:

  • Basic information about information and data security
  • Secure handling of e-mails
  • Threat potential through malware
  • Physical security at the workplace computer
  • Handling of mobile data storage devices
  • Risks and dangers when using mobile devices
  • Dangers through social networks
  • Threat potential through social engineering
  • Dangers of internet use
  • Dangers from phishing and the course of a phishing attack
  • Secure passwords
  • Responsible use of passwords
  • Secure use of public internet access and hotspots
  • Concrete security and password guidelines in the company
  • Behavior in the event of security-relevant incidents
  • Information obligations in the event of recognized dangers
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Forms of security awareness training

Security awareness training can take a variety of forms. Numerous options exist for conducting the training to meet the varying needs of companies. The classic type of security awareness training is classroom training. The instructor conducts the training and teaches the various topics with the help of theoretical content, practical examples, and exercises. Questions and special topics of the participants can be directly integrated into the training.

The online training can be carried out by the participants individually at their workplace or from home. Physical presence at a specific time in a training room is not necessary. Depending on the type of online training, a course instructor can actively accompany it or it can take place without a course instructor. Online tests can be used to check the learning success of the participants.

Security awareness training can be supplemented with information material. For example, posters with important content on the topic of security can be placed in coffee kitchens or information flyers can be distributed in the workplace.