The Importance of Phishing Training

Phishing is a major cause of data breaches and ransomware exploits. While security software solutions such as antivirus programs and endpoint detection and response (EDR) can limit the damage, these tools are not foolproof and employees must be on the lookout for suspicious emails.

With 88% of data breaches caused by human error, phishing training is the critical tool to help employees develop a skeptical eye to spot phishing attacks in the first place and strengthen your organization’s cybersecurity posture. There are a variety of phishing training options, from online tutorials and self-paced courses to live classroom sessions led by experienced instructors. The key is to pick a program that provides comprehensive, engaging content and incorporates interactive training methodologies, such as phishing simulations and gamification, to keep employees interested and engaged in the process.

A good phishing awareness training program will include both structured annual or semiannual cybersecurity awareness training and on-the-fly phishing training that is automatically triggered when employees click on a phishing link or other simulated risky email. Employees should be able to immediately receive feedback, including the red flags they missed and what additional training materials they can use to prevent future phishing attempts. This type of real-time training is more effective than waiting for them to report a phishing attempt months later in an annual report or after a successful attack. Vade for M365 offers a phishing alert feature that automatically invites users to a simulated phishing training exercise if they click on a phishing link in order to provide them with immediate feedback and train them in how to identify and respond to a phishing email.

To get the best results, organizations should run continuous phishing simulations, not just once or twice per year. These tests, which are based on statistically relevant data, can help to identify persistent weak spots in the organization and ensure that employees remain on top of their game. These tests also help to confirm that the phishing awareness curriculum is working and keeps cybersecurity at the forefront for employees, which is crucial for any awareness program’s success.

A comprehensive phishing training program will teach employees how to identify common types of phishing attacks, including voice scams and text message phishing, as well as teach them about phishing threats that are specific to their industry or region. It will also cover topics such as social phishing, where employees are encouraged to “overshare” on social media and expose corporate information, and spear phishing, which uses advanced techniques to target specific individuals. This type of phishing training is highly effective, but only if the content is accurate and engaging. It’s important to remember that most phishing attacks are not technical but rather, social engineering-based.