In 2023, the number of cyber security attacks across the globe grew exponentially. The rise in ransomware attacks alone reached 42% compared to the number of attacks in 2022. Additionally, data breaches at major organizations, like T-Mobile made the news. T-Mobile’s breach in January of 2023 resulted in the theft of personal information for 37 million accounts due to API exploitation. 

Cyber attacks are not going anywhere, unfortunately, and cybercrime costs are anticipated to reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, up from $6 trillion per year. The average cost of a data breach to an organization increased to $4.24 million. As sobering as these numbers are, many organizations remain underprepared for a potential breach or cyber attack. Only about 50% of US organizations have cyber insurance with full coverage, and 12% have no cyber insurance at all, leaving them exposed to potentially devastating data breaches and cyber attacks.

One thing your organization can do to ensure that you are doing everything you can to protect the data of your customers, employees and partners is to provide and require cybersecurity training for employees. This article will outline the importance of cybersecurity training, the benefits of cybersecurity awareness training, and the steps that your organization can take to implement this training.

Human error is a leading cause of security breach, which is why cybersecurity training is important. If your employees know how to identify and report security threats, they can become a crucial and effective line of defense for your organization. A reputable training program can increase your team’s awareness of common threats, like ransomware and social engineering attacks and teach them how to respond when these threats arise. Regular, planned training will also keep your employees up-to-date with new security protocols and compliance requirements. This will help ensure that your organization meets legal standards and reduces the likelihood of accidental breaches.

Security awareness training can be tailored to fit the specific needs of your organization and your employees, enabling your employees to learn how to respond to phishing emails, suspected ransomware or malware in ways that protect your organization and the data that it stores. Cybercriminals often target unsuspecting employees with social engineering and phishing emails, sometimes impersonating supervisors and leadership team members in order to trick employees into telling them protected information.

Implementing cybersecurity awareness training for employees is a proactive way to respond to the growing number of cybersecurity threats and demonstrate to your clients that you take the safeguarding of their data very seriously. 

Why is Security Awareness Training Important?

Organizations that operate some part or all of their business online have to be prepared for the cybersecurity threats that may come their way. Cybercriminals are constantly adapting and complicating their strategies so that they can succeed at stealing data, holding company systems for ransom, and costing organizations millions of dollars every year.

Here are just a few reasons your organization should consider implementing a cybersecurity awareness training for your employees:

Protects Against Cyber Threats

It’s not uncommon for cybersecurity discussions to have a heavy focus on technological solutions and not how employee awareness and training can be just as important. Cybersecurity awareness training teaches employees how to identify phishing emails, malware, and social engineering attacks. This knowledge greatly reduces the likelihood that an employee will fall prey to these threats.

Ensures Regulatory Compliance

Depending on the industry your organization works in, you may need to comply with stringent regulations surrounding data protection and privacy, like GDPR, HIPAA, and CCPA. In some cases, if  you fail to comply with regulations, you will have to pay large fines and face legal consequences.

Safeguards Your Company’s Reputation

It’s been proven time and again that cyber attacks can weaken customer trust in an organization. Following a devastating cyber attack, many organizations will lose large numbers of customers who no longer believe that the company can safeguard their important information. Implementing cybersecurity awareness training shows your customers that you take the safety of their sensitive information seriously and that your employees do too. 

Saves You Money

A cyber attack can cost your organization an enormous amount of money. The costs of remediation, legal fees, and loss of business can add up to millions of dollars. Investing in a reputable security training program can save you money in the long run. 

What are the Benefits of Cybersecurity Awareness Training?

Now that we’ve established why cyber security training is important, you should consider the benefits of security awareness training and how it can help your organization grow in the long run. 

Here are some specific advantages:

Employee vigilance and preparedness

Cyber security awareness training programs are designed to make employees more aware of potential threats. By understanding the tactics employed by cybercriminals, your employees will be able to better recognize suspicious activities, such as phishing emails or unusual network behavior. This heightened awareness translates into more cautious behavior, significantly reducing the risk of accidental security breaches.

Security-First Culture

If your employees are regularly trained on cyber security best practices, it will foster a culture of security within your organization. This positive security culture encourages everyone, from top management to entry-level staff, to prioritize and integrate security into their daily operations. A security-first mindset helps create a more resilient organization against cyber threats, similar to how regular fire drills prepare employees for emergencies.

Efficient Incident Response

In the event of a cyber attack, the speed and effectiveness of the response are critical. Training will equip your employees with the skills to act quickly and efficiently during security incidents. They will  learn how to report suspicious activities, follow proper incident response protocols, and mitigate the impacts of an attack. 

Increased Customer Confidence

Everyday, customers are becoming more and more aware and concerned about how their information is being used, stored, and protected. Your organization must demonstrate a commitment to keeping their information safe. Incorporating mandatory cybersecurity awareness training for employees is an excellent way to show your customers that you care about protecting their sensitive data. This commitment will make your existing customers more confident in your organization’s security measures, and will attract new business from security-minded potential customers.

Empowerment and Accountability

Effective cybersecurity training will empower your employees to take ownership of the information and systems that they work with everyday. A good security awareness program will instill a sense of responsibility in participants, as they will realize how important of a role they play in maintaining the security of your organization’s assets and information. This empowerment will encourage them to be proactive and take informed actions to protect your organization.

Reduction in Human Error

Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but in cybersecurity, mistakes can lead to devastating consequences for an organization, its employees, and its customers. Cybersecurity awareness training will educate employees on common errors and how they can avoid and anticipate them. If employees know what to look for in a potential or suspected phishing or malware attack, they will be proactive in identifying and reporting these threats instead of falling prey to them. 

Market Advantage

Today’s market is extremely competitive, but your organization can differentiate itself by displaying a dedication to protecting customer and partner data. Organizations that recognize the importance of security awareness training can market themselves as secure and trustworthy. This competitive edge is particularly valuable when bidding for contracts or attracting clients who prioritize data security, giving your organization an upper hand over their less prepared counterparts.

Cost-Effective Security Enhancement

Compared with losing thousands or millions of dollars to a cyber attack, the cost of implementing cybersecurity awareness training is relatively inexpensive. You can integrate regular training sessions for employees and leadership into your organization’s routine operations, which will ensure the continuous improvement of your organization’s security practices. An ongoing investment in proper security awareness training will keep your organization ahead of cybersecurity threats and regulatory requirements. 

The Steps to Integrating a Robust Cybersecurity Training Program

Creating a strong cyber security awareness training program is essential for any organization. Now that we’ve established the importance of cyber security awareness training for employees and how it can benefit your organization, here are some key steps to help you develop and maintain an effective training program:

1. Assess Current Knowledge and Risks

Understanding what your employees already know about cybersecurity is a good place to start. Use surveys, quizzes, and assessments to get a clear picture of their current knowledge. Also, identify the specific risks your organization faces, like phishing, ransomware, or insider threats. This way, you can tailor the training to focus on the most critical issues.

2. Set Clear and Specific Objectives

What do you want your organization to achieve in this training program? Do you want to minimize the number of phishing incidents that happen at your organization? Do you plan to achieve regulatory compliance? Are you trying to minimize how long it takes to respond to cybersecurity incidents? Having clear, specific, and measurable goals for this program will aid you immensely in customizing the program and assessing its success. 

3. Develop Detailed Training Content

Create or find training materials that cover a wide range of cybersecurity topics. Include lessons on phishing, password management, data protection, social engineering, and safe internet practices. Make sure the content is engaging and easy to understand for everyone, regardless of their technical background. Use videos, infographics, and interactive simulations to make the training more effective and interesting

4. Use a Variety of Training Methods

Your employees most likely learn in different ways, so your cybersecurity awareness training program should be flexible and adaptable to their learning styles. Use online courses, in-person workshops, webinars, and hands-on simulations. This variety will help keep everyone engaged and reinforce what they learn. For example, live demos of phishing attempts can make the training feel more real and practical.

5. Keep Training Materials Updated

Cybercriminals are always trying new ways to steal data and compromise systems, so your organization’s training program needs to keep up with constantly evolving cyber threats. This is why you should regularly update your materials to include the latest threats, regulations, and best practices. Work with cybersecurity experts to ensure your training stays current and relevant.

6. Run Phishing Simulations

One way you can test the effectiveness of your training program is to run phishing simulations. This will show you where weaknesses exist on your team, and it will also highlight areas where your organization can improve. Phishing emails can be extremely convincing, so it’s important that employees practice identifying them so that they can put this new skill into practice. Make sure to run these simulations periodically to reinforce training and track progress. They will also help you narrow down where you need to focus your training more specifically.

7. Encourage Reporting and Feedback

Create a supportive environment where your employees feel comfortable reporting suspicious activities without fear of punishment. Encourage them to share feedback on the training program and suggest improvements. This open communication helps refine the program and address any gaps. Make sure there are clear reporting procedures and recognize employees who provide valuable insights.

8. Measure and Analyze Results

Monitor the effectiveness of your training program by tracking key metrics like reported incidents, success rates in phishing simulations, and participation rates. Analyze this data to identify trends, strengths, and areas needing more attention. Use these insights to continuously improve your training program.

9. Foster a Learning-Friendly Environment

Cybersecurity training shouldn’t be a one-time event. Make it an ongoing process. Provide regular updates, refresher courses, and new training modules to keep employees informed about the latest threats and practices. Integrate cybersecurity topics into regular team meetings and company communications to keep everyone alert and aware.

10. Lead by Example

Leadership’s involvement is crucial for the success of any training program. Ensure that the top management at your organization actively participates in and supports cybersecurity initiatives. Their commitment sets a positive example and emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity to everyone in the organization. Leadership can also help secure the necessary resources and support for the training program.


With the recent surge in cyber-attacks, it's more important than ever for organizations to take proactive measures to protect their data and systems. Cybersecurity awareness training is key to this defense strategy. By educating your employees on how to spot and respond to cyber threats, your organization can greatly reduce the chances of data breaches and attacks it faces. Additionally, creating a security-first culture, staying compliant with regulations, and boosting customer confidence are all valuable benefits. Investing in cybersecurity training not only safeguards your organization's assets but also shows your commitment to security and builds trust with customers and stakeholders.

If you are looking to develop a robust cybersecurity framework for your organization or looking to improve an existing one, visit our website and learn about our cybersecurity consulting services. With a holistic approach to cybersecurity, our team can tailor solutions to your organization’s needs.

Contact us today for more information. 

Why is Cyber Security Awareness Training Important for Employees?

About the author



Managing Director


Drew spearheads BD Emerson's Governance, Risk, Compliance, and Security (GRC+Sec) division, where he channels his expertise into guiding clients through the labyrinth of Information Security, Risk Management, Regulatory Compliance, Data Governance, and Privacy. His stewardship is key in developing tailored programs that not only address the unique challenges faced by businesses but also foster a culture of security and compliance.


How much does cybersecurity awareness training cost?

The cost of cybersecurity awareness training can vary based on several factors, including the program’s scope, delivery method, and the size of the organization. Basic online training modules typically cost between $20 and $50 per employee. For more comprehensive programs that include ongoing updates and customization, the cost can range from $100 to $500 per employee annually. While there is an upfront investment, this training is a cost-effective way to prevent the much steeper costs associated with data breaches and cyber attacks.

What topics does cybersecurity awareness training cover?

Cybersecurity awareness training covers a variety of essential topics to equip employees with the knowledge they need to protect your organization. These topics include phishing, social engineering, password management, data protection, safe internet practices, recognizing malware, and incident response. Additionally, the training often includes company-specific policies and procedures related to cybersecurity, ensuring that employees understand the unique requirements and expectations of their organization.

How long does it take to implement a cybersecurity training program?

Setting up a cybersecurity training program generally takes one to three months. The process starts with assessing current employee knowledge and identifying potential security risks, which takes about 1-2 weeks. The next step is planning and developing the training materials, which can take 2-4 weeks. Finally, the program is rolled out over 2-6 weeks, including scheduling sessions and launching online modules. Continuous updates and refresher courses are necessary to keep up with evolving threats, making cybersecurity training an ongoing project.

How often should employees undergo cybersecurity awareness training?

Employees should receive cybersecurity training at least once a year. However, to keep them up-to-date with the latest threats and best practices, more frequent training, such as quarterly updates or refresher courses, is recommended. Regular training helps reinforce important security concepts and ensures that employees remain vigilant.

Who should be responsible for delivering the cybersecurity training?

Cybersecurity training can be administered by internal IT and security teams, external consultants, or specialized online training platforms. The best choice depends on your organization’s resources and expertise. Internal teams may provide more personalized training, while external consultants and online platforms can offer a wider range of expertise and up-to-date content.

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