Rethinking Cybersecurity Training

Building a Cyber-Aware Culture in 2024

By Johnathan Lightfoot, President, Symbiont, Inc. 

Cybersecurity is no longer a domain exclusively occupied by IT departments; it's an organizational imperative. But let’s face it: traditional cybersecurity training has often been a dull tick-box exercise. As we look to 2024, building a truly cyber-aware culture involves rethinking how we approach cybersecurity training. Here are some insightful approaches to consider. 

The Myth of the "Non-Technical" Staff 

First, let’s do away with the notion that certain employees are “non-technical.” Everyone uses technology to some degree in their roles today, and thus everyone has a part to play in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity training should empower all employees, irrespective of their department, to understand the role they play in safeguarding the company’s digital assets. 

Gamification with Real-World Simulations 

Forget about the PowerPoint slides and quiz-based assessments. Gamification can make cybersecurity training interactive and fun. Set up a real-world simulated environment where employees can practice identifying phishing emails, securing data, and following incident reporting protocols. Assign points, set up leaderboards, and even offer small prizes to make the training more engaging. 

Contextualized Learning Paths 

Not all threats are equal across roles within an organization. The kind of cybersecurity threats a marketing professional might encounter will differ from those faced by someone in human resources. Tailor training modules based on different job roles within your organization, focusing on the risks most relevant to each position. 

Real-time Feedback Mechanisms 

Modern training modules should offer real-time feedback. If an employee fails a simulated phishing test, immediate, contextual feedback can help them understand what red flags they missed. It's not about penalizing failure; it’s about immediate learning, allowing for better retention and application of cybersecurity measures. 

A Culture of Open Discussion 

The 'cloak-and-dagger' approach to cybersecurity, where all details are kept within the confines of the IT department, is outdated. Open forums, regular information-sharing sessions, and even anonymous reporting platforms can encourage a culture where cybersecurity is openly discussed and not shrouded in mystique. 

The "Why" Behind the "What" 

When employees understand the potential consequences of their actions, they're more likely to act responsibly. Share examples of real-life cybersecurity incidents, without naming and shaming, to help staff comprehend the significance of their role in maintaining a secure environment. 

Personal Cyber Hygiene = Corporate Cybersecurity 

Staff members need to understand that good personal cyber hygiene practices are not just for their benefit. The personal is professional. Teach them how to secure their personal devices and online accounts, and emphasize how these habits translate into a safer work environment. 

Symbiont’s Role in Shaping Cyber-Aware Cultures 

If you’re looking to elevate your organization’s cybersecurity training, Symbiont, Inc. can help you: 

  • Implement innovative, engaging training modules 
  • Develop role-based learning paths 
  • Conduct real-world cybersecurity simulations

For more information, reach out to us at or call 1-800-796-2466. 

It’s 2024; let’s make cybersecurity training something your employees look forward to, not something they have to slog through. A cyber-aware culture is built on the back of empowered, educated employees. Let’s give them the tools they need to be the first line of defense.