Everything You Need for Effective Phishing Training
Thousands of employees come across phishing emails every day. Although email providers are getting better at filtering malicious emails, cyber protection is only possible with employees’ labor. According to research conducted in 2020, most of the malware gets into our computers via phishing emails. The same study found that a quarter of employees did not recognize phishing emails. Therefore, phishing training is trendy these days, when phishing attacks continue to increase without slowing down. Here is everything you need for effective phishing training.
Everything You Need for Effective Phishing Training
Among the phishing training we have tested so far, simulated phishing training is undoubtedly one of the most effective. Phishing simulations simulate a possible phishing attack, allowing employees to experience what to do when the attack occurs. In this way, employees test themselves in a safe and risk-free environment.
However, if you want to prepare an effective phishing training program, there are a few things to consider. You have to decide how often and how many phishing e-simulations you will do. How should the difficulty of your simulations be? How will you record the progress of your employees?
These are all significant issues. In this article, we have compiled all of the noteworthy topics related to phishing simulations. By following the steps below, you can teach your employees everything about phishing in detail and work with them to protect yourself and your company. Now, here are the steps you should follow when creating effective phishing training.
Everything You Need for Effective Phishing Training: Steps To Follow
1. Decide What To Pay Attention To In The Simulation Results.
Whether your program is working or not determines the points you will pay attention to in the results of phishing simulations. One of the most important points among the results is the rate at which your employees report phishing emails. Although most companies use click-through rates instead, these rates vary depending on the phishing simulation’s difficulty. The low click-through rates may mean that simulating phishing is very easy.
Even so, the rate at which employees report on e-mail tells you a lot. From these rates, you can understand whether your employees are conscious and how much they participate in simulations. If the reporting rate is high, it means that your employees can easily detect phishing e-mails and participate in the simulation. Your expectation from the simulations should be the devotion of your employees.
2. Prepare a detailed plan.
A detailed plan lies behind all effective training. Before implementing your phishing training, you should at least get your plan clear in your mind. This also facilitates communication between the team that will plan the training and the departments involved in the training. Organizing training can be quite simple if you create your plan by paying attention to the following:
- How often you will send phishing e-mails to employees,
- What will be the supporting tools you will prepare according to the simulation content,
- How you will announce the program to your employees and the content of the message you will send,
- The advice you give your employees about reporting a suspicious situation.
It can also make things easier for you to give your program a catchy name. The best way to do this is to sign up with a cybersecurity firm and get support from them while planning their cybersecurity training. Our cybersecurity awareness educator has emerged for exactly this purpose. You can plan any training you want with our educator, who offers you content that supports each other in every sense.
3. Share Your Plan with Managers
After finalizing your plan, let your managers know what you will do, why, and what kind of plan you have created. They will be happy to let you know and will support the program. Besides, the communication plan you have created will make your job easier at this point. If your managers do not favor phishing simulations, give them detailed information about the risks you face. Make use of various statistics while doing this.
4. Put Your First Phishing Simulation In Action Without Notifying Anyone.
Before implementing your plan, notify your security team as you perform your first simulation. Performing the first phishing simulation without telling anyone is the best method to understand your employees’ awareness of phishing. Since your employees are not in expectation, you will get natural results. Using the results of this phishing simulation, you can compare them with the next results. These comparisons give you insight into the distance your employees have traveled.
Also, we do not recommend that you prepare the first phishing simulation too easy or too difficult. This will cause the results you will get to be extreme. The first simulation should be aimed at determining click-through rates and gathering a basis for reports.
5. Share Your Phishing Training Plan with the Company.
You performed your first phishing simulation without telling anyone and collected the results. Now it is time to inform your employees and your company. Once you’ve laid the groundwork for the training, officially announce your forward-looking phishing training program. Tell them that the education aims to teach them something. Use clear and friendly language for this. Don’t forget to mention the following in your announcement:
- The company’s view of cybersecurity and security awareness,
- Recommendations for phishing simulations and suspicious behavior,
- Methods of reporting phishing attacks or emails, reporting buttons that employees can use,
- Other resources the company uses against phishing.
6. Keep in Contact with Department Managers or Employees.
In most phishing attacks, hackers imitate in-house messaging. If you want to prepare a good simulation, you must be able to imitate these messaging. To do this, contact the managers or employees of the department where you are planning a phishing simulation. Also, before planning the simulations, you should constantly communicate with departments not to disrupt important work. Briefly tell them about the following:
- The reason you plan a phishing simulation for this department.
- How employees report a suspicious email and how managers should tell employees about it.
7. Put All Your Phishing Training In Action.
You explained your plan to the company and all departments. Now is the time to make your plan come true. According to research, phishing simulations should be repeated at least every three months. However, it is necessary not to increase this frequency; doing more than one simulation per month can distract the employees. Test your employees’ progress according to the results of the first simulation and proceed accordingly. If the click-through rate is high, make the simulations a little easier. If the reporting rate is low, encourage your employees to report suspicious emails. Don’t forget to thank your reporting staff.
Examining the results department by department can help you identify some things. By looking at the department averages, you can understand which departments are more successful in which subject. Modifying your plan accordingly will increase efficiency. Make sure to include targeted phishing, strong passwords, tax refunds, ransomware in your phishing simulations. Also, always get creative. You can teach many things at once by combining multiple different subjects in one simulation.
Don’t forget to let your security team know while implementing your phishing simulation—share screenshots with them. When employees consult with the security team, tell them to give advice instead of disclosing the simulation.
8. Use Supporting Materials.
Phishing simulations will not be effective unless supported by supporting materials. Apart from phishing simulations, you should support your employees with games, presentations, and informative blog posts. For this, you can use eye-catching visuals, short articles, and videos. It is also helpful to occasionally send notifications about phishing email reporting to keep your employees fit.
Also, be sure to create the malicious page’s content in the simulation from educational and supportive materials. Do not try to deceive or trap employees. Compliance with the content with your company’s general cybersecurity policy will help the program be effective. As a result, your employees understand the link between these training content. You can use similar-looking materials to reinforce the link between content.
You can use our Threat Sharing tool in addition to Phishing Simulations to create an effective culture of cybersecurity within the company. Our Threat Sharing tool is an attack or threat intelligence sharing platform developed to act proactively against cyber attacks and strengthen defense mechanisms. Another purpose of phishing training is to trigger cultural change within the company. By using our tool, you can encourage safe communication within the company and change behavior. For more information, check out our other tools by visiting our site.
9. Analyze Phishing Training Results.
You have put your phishing training plan into action. So what should you do now? It’s time to analyze the training results. Identify employees who report phishing emails based on the results, and personally congratulate these employees. It is simply a ‘Congratulations. You Noticed the Fishing!’ You can do it by sending an email. Also, you can encourage reporting by offering gifts, free items, or catering to employees who report the email.
If you have many employees and the number of employees reporting the phishing email is too many, you can distribute the rewards by lottery. One method you can use is to congratulate people who detected phishing as a result of each training through the company network. You can do this by sending a congratulatory e-mail to your employee by adding their managers to cc. Hiring someone to send these emails will make things easier.
Get a detailed cybersecurity training program for employees who have trouble detecting and reporting phishing emails, and make sure your employees participate in it. For this, we recommend our Cyber Security Awareness Trainer. Follow a short training course for people who are constantly in love with your fake emails and watch them complete.
When analyzing phishing simulation results, pay attention to the criteria you have already set. Try to understand what the data might mean based on these criteria. How are the click-through rates of your employees, which department falls into more phishing? How is the reporting frequency progressing? Are your employees progressing? Make these analyzes in detail.
10. Determine What You Earned As A Result Of Training.
Finally, determine what training and phishing simulations add to your team and company. At the end of the day, phishing training aims to create a culture of cybersecurity in the company. High participation will accelerate the formation of this culture. Your employees should have ambassadors in spreading this culture. Do not neglect to get feedback from your employees when necessary.