Security awareness training aims not only to impart information, but also to change behavior. In order to accomplish this, learners must be as engaged and focused on the lessons as possible. Studies in neuroplasticity (the human ability to “rewire” our brain) show that casual exposure to new ideas or habits is not enough for new behavior to become ingrained. Short, intense learning sessions are especially effective for security training. Because they don’t require a major time investment from the learner, capturing and keeping their attention for the duration of the lesson is easier, and more frequent sessions make a greater impact through timely repetition and reinforcement.
It’s important to remember that the millennial cohort is a major and growing portion of today’s workforce. This younger generation has a unique relationship with technology and digital information. Thanks to a lifetime of video games and always connected mobile digital communication/media, they are used to doing everything at “twitch speed” and have little patience for lengthy lectures. Burst learning is a great fit for their preferences and data consumption habits (think “snackable content”).
Most of us are already overwhelmed by information and stimuli, thanks to urban living, ubiquitous smartphones and rich media everything. Smaller doses of eye-opening security risks, combined with focused solutions, are more sustainable and leave trainees with the sense that defending against security threats is a manageable and worthwhile exercise.
Barring an unforeseen technological and cultural revolution, we have to accept that we’re in this cat-and-mouse cyber security game for the long haul. Your employees are your first, and potentially best line of defense. Effective, efficient security awareness training is essential to building a sustainable culture of stewardship and vigilance.
Security fitness is as important to healthy businesses as physical fitness is to healthy bodies. Frequent bursts of focused learning are a powerful approach to strengthening security in the modern workplace.