Cyber Security Awareness Training in New Employee Onboarding

how to provide cyber security awareness training for new employee onboarding

It is critical for every organization to have personnel in Human Resources or Training who know how to provide cyber security awareness training for new employee onboarding. Follow these guidelines to educate new employees about compliance requirements and company policies and ensure the organization’s digital security. 

Preparing New Employees for Success

Onboarding is arguably the most important part of an employee’s success in any organization. Starting a new position can be exciting, overwhelming and daunting for the new employee. Remember what it was like in the first weeks and even months when you started a new job? The paperwork, meetings, introductions, note-taking, understanding the company’s setup, products, services – and the list goes on. Looking back, did you ever think about your role in keeping your new employer’s data safe? Most likely not, unless you were specifically trained during onboarding.

Employers can ease new hire anxiety with a well-thought-out onboarding process. According to Gallup, a mere 12% of employees strongly agree that their employer does a great job of onboarding new hires. A robust onboarding program helps to ensure success for both the new hire and the organization.

An effective program should go beyond simply providing the company handbook, company policies, a directory, some training and a mountain of new hire paperwork. Onboarding should be an engaging experience for the new hire. It is an opportunity for them to experience the company’s culture, connect with other employees and learn the company’s security and compliance policies, as well as security best practices.

An onboarding plan that is built on mentoring, coaching, open communication and engaging security awareness training will build trust between the employer and the new hire. Employees will be set on a path of learning, growing and becoming the company’s first and strongest line of defense against potential cyber attacks.

Policies and Training for New Employees

Numerous checklists have been developed to ensure that new hires feel comfortable and supported in their new positions. Many of these lists have line items for policies to be reviewed, including staff security awareness training. However, if you are only mentioning these policies in passing or handing new employees a document to read and sign in order to mark this box on the checklist, you are missing an opportune time to connect with employees and build cyber awareness.

Policies alone are not enough to cover the potential pitfalls that await your new hires. Cybersecurity awareness training during the onboarding process is critical in establishing the new hire’s role in cybersecurity. Every employee needs to know what information requires protection, how it is to be protected and what to expect in their daily business communications.

For example, you wouldn’t let your 16-year-old drive your car without providing them with the proper training and coaching on operating a motor vehicle. Proper training would include having them review the Department of Motor Vehicle handbook, take a driver’s ed course and pass both a written test and a road test demonstrating their competency. In order to ensure your teenager is a safe driver, you invest the time and resources it takes to educate your teen. That includes riding along with them to show them firsthand what to do as they encounter challenges and obstacles along the way.

Onboarding is no different. Just as you wouldn’t give the keys to your inexperienced teenager without some teaching and training, you wouldn’t expose your company’s digital assets to a new hire without taking the necessary steps to educate and prepare them to safeguard your assets. In the case of onboarding, “riding along with them” means making sure they are engaged, feel connected to your company’s vision/mission, and have everything they need to be safe, secure and successful from day one.

Checklist for a Strong Employee Onboarding Program

  1. Strong outline of the security and compliance landscape of an organization – This should include not only internal policies but also industry and governmental protocols and regulations (e.g., PCI DSS, HIPAA, GDPR, CCPA, etc.) that impact your organization.
  2. Review of security awareness best practices – We should never assume that an employee comes to a new company knowing what to do (or not do) when it comes to cyber security. Every employee should complete security awareness training within the first 10 days of employment. Employees should also receive training in data privacy and protection during onboarding.
  3. Understanding of the new employee’s role in the overall security and compliance stature of the organization – 90% of data breaches are caused by human error, often in the course of performing work duties. Onboarding should include targeted training tailored to the employee’s role, such as secure coding training for development teams or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act training for finance personnel.
  4. Relevant, real-life examples of the policies in action, with opportunities for practice – People learn best when knowledge is tied to examples that are pertinent to the individual. This is one reason why gamification has risen in popularity in training over the last several years, along with practical exercises for incidence response. It is also why phishing simulation is an important training tool for employee development.
  5. Contact for security and compliance questions and incidence reporting – We know that one of the fastest ways to lose an employee is to not provide them support for success. If a user cannot name who to contact in the case of incidents that may arise in the course of their duties, they are not being fully supported. Be sure to have a subject matter expert available for new employees during onboarding. Resist the temptation to always have employees work through their managers, as sometimes the incident that they need to report involves a manager.

It may be tempting to rush through the onboarding process, especially if the selection process was time-consuming and rigorous. After all, employers have productivity to think about. But beware of delaying or skipping training opportunities during onboarding – especially where security and compliance are concerned. The time and money you might be saving won’t be enough to cover the repercussions of a breach or cyber security exposure. Invest in onboarding and secure your organization from the start with every new hire.

Build the Ideal Security Awareness and Compliance Training Program

Not sure how to provide cyber security awareness training for new employee onboarding? Global Learning Systems can help! Our approach goes well beyond the basic online security awareness course. We offer award-winning training solutions that can be customized to create a tailored security awareness training program specific to your organization’s unique needs.

Our continuous learning strategy provides something for everyone in their cybersecurity journey. Gamification, short impactful videos, animations, best practices modules, role-based training and full-length courseware work together to transfer critical knowledge to employees. This training, coupled with phishing simulations and assessments, will empower your employees and new hires with an arsenal of weapons to use as they combat daily cyber threats.

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