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How to Improve Employee Engagement in Security Training


Cybersecurity awareness training is critical for protecting your business and your customer's information from data breaches. According to DeVry University, human error causes 19 out of 20 data breaches. Poor password management, failing to install software updates and downloading infected software are common mistakes. 

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Nowadays, cybercriminals are managing to launch effective phishing attacks on businesses by impersonating reputable, secure share providers, making it even more challenging to spot suspicious emails. Organizational cyber security training is critical as phishing attacks become more innovative and difficult to detect. Engaging employees through relevant, interactive programs can help them retain key information and improve their assessment performance.

Common Cybersecurity Threats to Managed Service Providers

Managed service providers (MSPs) are often targeted for cybersecurity attacks due to their access to client networks. Before we dive into how to increase engagement in security training among your team members, let's review some of the most common risks facing the managed service industry today:

  • Ransomware attacks: Criminals can attack vulnerable MSPs to exploit sensitive customer information and data for extortion schemes. Attackers encrypt data and demand a ransom payment in exchange for decryption. 
  • Phishing attacks: Phishing is a social engineering security threat that often targets specific individuals and businesses. Phishing attempts occurred over 255 million times in 2022, an increase of over 60% compared to 2021. Lack of awareness of phishing attempts can lead employees to fall prey to personalized emails and text message campaigns.
  • Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks: A DDoS attack involves overwhelming a system's resources until those with authorized access can no longer reach the application.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) cyberattacks: An increase in company devices dependent on wireless internet access makes MSPs vulnerable to IoT threats. These devices can sometimes be an easy target for attackers as they can be easily compromised.

The Importance of Employee Participation in Security Practices

Did you know that businesses face a ransomware attack every 11 seconds? Employee participation in security awareness training is critical for helping reduce the risk of malware attacks, data breaches and other cybersecurity threats to your MSP. Learning threat prevention tools is just one part of the equation — your employees must learn how to proactively identify and avoid suspicious content to avoid potentially exposing your network to a malicious attack.

When your employees are engaged with security training, they can help you avoid the high costs and frustration of responding to a data breach. A study found that the average cost of a data breach in the U.S. is more than $9.4 million. Effective training programs keep your teams aware of common cyber threats that can damage your reputation and lead to long-term costs of lost business. 

Constant security awareness can also help them remember to employ best practices, such as using strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, understanding data privacy laws and avoiding public Wi-Fi networks. 

Strategies for an Effective Employee Cybersecurity Training Program

Educating employees on social engineering and cybersecurity exploits is critical for protecting your operations. By leveraging the right innovative technology, you can transform security training processes and keep employees engaged with your program. Here are our top recommendations for adapting your security strategies to prevent cyberattacks. 

1. Utilize Interactive Training Modules

Behavior change is an essential factor for improving security in MSPs. Getting there, however, is not so easy — especially with boring or tedious programs that don't actively engage employees. Utilizing interactivity can capture your employee's attention and improve retention. 

For instance, telling interactive stories about potential real-life phishing attacks — and how to address them — enables your team to walk through the steps of a security incident and know exactly what to do. Other interactive strategies include team collaboration and feedback to enhance accountability and participation.

2. Incorporate Gamification Techniques

The more fun your cybersecurity training is, the more engaged your employees will be. As a result, they'll have a much higher chance of participating and absorbing information. To make your security awareness training more memorable, consider incorporating gamification to make it as fun as possible. This might include using compelling visuals, storytelling or stimulating lessons that keep your employees' attention longer and increase their focus. 


Gamified formats can make your employees more curious about what they will learn next rather than mindlessly clicking through the program. Turning your training into a friendly competition can ramp up the excitement and learning even more. Your employees can compete against each other to earn the highest score on training modules, providing an incentive for them to know the ins and outs of security awareness strategies. 

3. Personalized Learning Paths

During security awareness training, your employees become students. When it comes to learning, one size does not fit all. It's important to tailor the learning experience to meet their individual needs, skills and positions. For instance, giving your IT specialist a social engineering scenario about invoices or customer service won't be relevant to their job. 

This makes it difficult for them to translate cybersecurity best practices into their daily routine. Make your educational training personable so it's more enjoyable. You might consider grouping your teams or departments together to walk them through the cybersecurity threats they're most likely to encounter.

4. Hands-On Learning Experience

As the saying goes, you learn by doing! Employees can sit and watch presentations of the most thorough cybersecurity awareness strategies, but practicing them in real time can better reinforce these proactive methods. Using practical exercises engages your employees by making them think creatively to determine which interactions are safe and which are threats. 

Simulating role-playing scenarios with test emails or phishing attempts can help you gauge your organization's defenses against certain social engineering attacks. Have your employees gather and discuss what they would do during this simulated cyberattack to help them remember what they're supposed to do during a security incident and who they should contact. 

5. Weave Security Awareness Into Daily Work

Security training and risk management programs are vital, but you can help employees make safer choices by integrating mindfulness even after they step away from their training. Security awareness should be upheld throughout your MSP work culture. Define your company security objectives and goals to improve buy-in from the top down

Fostering a culture of continuous learning and vigilance, combined with engaging training, means security awareness will become second nature to your staff. Constant reminders of each team member's role in organizational security can help reduce phishing incidents.

6. Real-Time Phishing Simulation Programs

Social engineering simulations can make a world of difference in preparing your staff to detect and report phishing scams. This allows you to test your users in a safe environment. Security training software with real-time analytics also helps you gauge your employees' ability to discern and respond to threats, including the percentage of users who clicked on a simulated phishing message. 

This feedback is essential to target gaps in security awareness and improve user behavior.


Elevate Your Security Training With Phin Security

The possibilities for phishing and malware attacks are unlimited, and your employees are often your first line of defense. If your security training programs are outdated or difficult to follow, your staff will not likely retain the information and make safe choices. At Phin Security, we understand how critical security awareness is in the MSP landscape and beyond. 

We also know training programs should be easy to use and employ modern automation and time-saving practices. Our security awareness training software targets specific gaps in your organization's security protocols to help your teams better defend against threats. Our security solutions are specifically designed to equip MSPs with effective skills and identification techniques to detect cybersecurity attacks. Book a product demo or contact us online to learn more about our commitment to advanced training solutions.