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Integrating Security Awareness Training Into Employee Onboarding

Integrating Security Awareness Training Into Employee Onboarding

As you may already know by now, employee onboarding is of vital importance for your company. The main reason is that the onboarding process can help new hires settle in the right way and learn everything there is to learn about your company, the work environment, and conditions, as well as your company culture.

However, the onboarding process is not solely designed to help you retain new hires and avoid costly turnovers. As a matter of fact, the onboarding process is an ideal time to train your new hires well and help them familiarize themselves with your company’s policies and procedures. 

That being said, onboarding is also the perfect moment to include security awareness training for your employees. But why is security awareness so important? The main reason is that one of the main factors behind successful data breaches is, in fact, human error. 

For example, one of your employees may fall for a phishing scam and give cybercriminals a backdoor into your company’s network. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can integrate security awareness training into employee onboarding. 

Start With The Basics

Start With The Basics

You cannot expect new hires to be cybersecurity experts. The onboarding process is there so that you can teach them and provide them with adequate training. However, you also can’t overwhelm them with advanced methods right off the bat. 

After all, they are new hires, and they just started working at your company. What that means is that they’re just beginning to figure out how stuff works, and you are there to help them adjust to the new environment. 

That said, don’t rush things, because if you do, you might face up to a 20% higher turnover rate. The main reason is that the majority of turnovers happen within the first 45 days of employment if the onboarding process isn’t good enough. Therefore, if you’re planning on integrating security awareness into the onboarding process, start with the basics. 

For example, educate new hires about the importance of using strong passwords, as well as about the importance of not using the same password for multiple accounts. This can drastically reduce network vulnerabilities that are the result of human error.  

Prolong the Onboarding Process

Many companies either completely neglect the onboarding process or they have a very short one. In such cases, employees are left on their own to figure out everything, which usually reduces their motivation, morale, and productivity. 

This will inevitably lead to turnovers sooner rather than later. The onboarding process needs to be long enough so that new hires can adapt and adjust properly. Therefore, your onboarding process should be at least a 90-day program, if not more. 

The main reason is that you’re integrating security awareness into the onboarding process. What that means is that aside from regular training and education about company policies and whatnot, you’re also including the cybersecurity training. 

Of course, the longer the onboarding process is, the more resources it will require. Many companies are hesitant when it comes to allocating resources to onboarding, even though you’re basically making an investment to train your employees to be as effective as possible. 

Fortunately, you can find a solution that will work in favor of both sides. For example, you can try a paperless employee onboarding method where the majority of communications is conducted via mobile apps. That way, employees can receive information and communicate with the HR department whenever they need to, and this can go on as long as you need it to. 

Include Various Threat Training

Include Various Threat Training

The main reason cybercriminals usually target employees first instead of trying to go through a company’s network defenses is that a lot of employees are unaware of the potential threats they can come across. If hackers can exploit this, they can effortlessly gain access to your company’s network. 

That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to include various cybersecurity threats training into your onboarding process. The most important thing is for employees to learn how to recognize threats so they don’t fall victim to them. 

They don’t have to know how to deal with the issue, just recognize the threat so that they can alert your IT staff on time. After all, it’s not their job to be cybersecurity specialists unless you hired them specifically for that task. Here are some of the common threats your employees should know about:

  • Computer viruses
  • Phishing scams
  • Malware
  • Ransomware
  • Social engineering scams

Compliance Training

Oftentimes, the onboarding process teaches new hires how to remain compliant with various company policies ranging from legal to procedural-related rules. This is also a great opportunity to include cybersecurity policy compliance training. 

Cybersecurity policies are designed to prevent data breaches and protect any sensitive information a company may store on its computers. Compliance training helps educate employees on how to follow the rules when it comes to remaining compliant with those policies. 

That being said, around 60% of data breaches were possible due to a mistake an unaware employee made. Compliance training ensures that such errors are avoided altogether. Through onboarding, your employees will be able to learn how to follow procedures and ensure that the data they’re working with is kept safe. 

The onboarding process is extremely valuable when it comes to not just retaining your new hires but also when it comes to training them in the best way possible. That’s why it’s important for companies to develop a great onboarding strategy that will welcome new hires and help educate them about everything they need to know. 


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