Cybersecurity training is an essential part of a businesses’ overall security strategy.  But, by allowing your employees to experience a phishing attack they would possess not only knowledge from the training but the experience of viewing an attack in their own environment.  Combining these two things can result in a more aware and vigilant end user; the goal of any business owner.  This week’s tips and tricks will build on the previous week’s information regarding the frequency of phishing attacks on SMBs and how to prevent them.

So, what is a phishing simulation?

Phishing simulations are used to train your staff to spot the warning signs of a malicious email.  Phishing simulations are based on typical phishing email templates that regularly turn up in our inboxes. Phishing simulations create a series of fake “phishing” emails that are tailored to your organization. The fake phishing emails are designed to closely mimic real phishing emails. A good phishing simulation program will be automated to reduce your input and improve the ‘realness’ of the simulation. The software that runs the simulation, sends out pre-configured “phishing” emails to staff to test their response. The exercises are monitored, and the results show the effectiveness of the exercises – you can use these results to tailor later training sessions. The resulting reports should always give you feedback, and the data should include:

  • The number of emails sent
  • The number of emails opened
  • The number of users that clicked the link inside the email
  • The number of users that submitted data from the link

The end goal is to train employees to spot if an email is legitimate or not.

What are the benefits of phishing awareness?

The ultimate benefit of phishing awareness is the prevention of data breaches. However, there are other areas that phishing awareness touches upon:

  • Compliance and training – there are a few data protection and privacy regulations that now strongly encourage an organization to carry our security awareness training, of which simulated phishing is a part of. These regulations include PCI and the GDPR.
  • Increased threat activity reporting – simulated phishing as part of your security awareness training, will help to build your human-defenses. If you have a security policy that utilizes simulated phishing, coupled with reporting procedures, you can build a strong security culture within your organization.
  • Reduced fraudulent activity – as your workforce becomes well-versed in spotting phishing attacks fraudulent activity will decrease.

The use of phishing simulation exercises is another tool to prevent a cyberattack against your organization. It gives your employees and your company the know-how to stop phishers taking advantage of your organization and its staff. Phishing simulation, alongside a wider security awareness program, is something that brings a workforce together. If the exercises are done in a fun and inclusive way, it can make tackling cybercrime interesting and create a real culture of security across your organization.

For more information about phishing simulations and cybersecurity training, please contact [email protected] or call us at 919-926-9619.