The Challenge with Changing Risky User Behaviors Blog

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Today, the marketplace for advanced and sophisticated phishing prevention and protection technologies is booming— yet cybercriminals are still finding ways to bypass these safeguards regularly. The reason? They’re focusing on organizations’ employees, not their tech stack. To combat this, organizations need to consistently evaluate their security strategy and, more importantly, need to understand the human element of their security posture and threat potential at any given time.

Here are three steps to improve your organization’s security posture by helping employees’ bad habits or inherent trust of corporate systems.

Security Leaders Must Break Down Employees’ Cognitive Biases

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Cybercriminals purposefully use fear, authority/hierarchy, and familiarity tactics to trick end-users into clicking links or opening viral attachments. Phishing emails are highly effective today because workers have been groomed to have an immediate response to them, particularly remote workers. Everyone has felt their stomach lurch when they’ve seen an email from their boss hit their inbox with the scary ‘!’ mark. This stress lowers workers’ guards and makes them more likely to engage in behaviors they otherwise wouldn’t.

Employees need help overcoming highly targeted phishing and social engineering scams. Because workers have varying levels of aptitude for identifying and remediating cyberthreats, security leaders must implement some form of personalized coaching. Changing users’ behavior is a much more nuanced and difficult process that requires people to be engaged and apply their learnings to the real world.

Security Awareness Training has a Personalization Problem

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It is evident that cybersecurity awareness training needs to evolve given the increase of hybrid and remote working environments and newly exposed vulnerabilities across all businesses. Traditional annual cybersecurity seminars don’t provide long-lasting organizational resilience and are most often executed as compliance requirements rather than strategic security initiatives. The most prominent issue with these group of all-hands style meetings is that many people don’t incorporate the information into their day-to-day workflows and tune out instructors. Employees resent losing a half- or full-day's worth of work, particularly when they don’t connect with the content in a meaningful way. Organizations need to move away from static seminars and instead consistently flag risky behaviors in real-time to influence users to change.

Consistent Microlearning Changes User Behavior

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The saying, ‘Practice makes perfect’ applies to many areas of life, and cybersecurity awareness is not excluded.

SecurityAdvisor's patented platform delivers contextual educational content to workers during 'teachable moments' to quantifiably improves organizational security. Our approach has helped global enterprises:

  • Reduce overall security incidents by 70%
  • Reduce email phishing attacks by more than 50%
  • Lower endpoint malware detections by more than 90%
  • Cut web violations in half
  • Decrease removable media incidents by more than 90%

People are the first line of cybersecurity defense for organizations and must be prioritized. Cybercriminals use worker’s innate brain function to trick them into performing risky behaviors so it’s unrealistic to not provide personalized coaching and expect them to not fall victim to an attack. Focusing on the human element of your broader cybersecurity strategy is the only way to effectively combat sophisticated phishing and social engineering techniques. By providing real-time, personalized microlearning moments that directly correlate to an individual’s behavior, businesses will be able to educate their users more easily and reinforce good behaviors. Take a free trial of SecurityAdvisor’s disruptive awareness coaching today.


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