eLearning vs Traditional Security Training

How to Choose the Best Security Awareness Training Method
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eLearning has been on the rise for the last decade, and the curve will keep ascending along with technological developments. It is undeniable that eLearning has a significant impact on education and will likely become an integrated part of it in the following years, with most academies already acknowledging its positive effects and adopting it. This means that eLearning will become one of the most accessible ways to education and, most importantly, self-education.

But what about traditional education?

Traditional learning, also known as classroom education, is an excellent way to teach children, teenagers, and young adults who have yet to join the workforce. It enables them to be part of an actual community, interact with one another, and meet new people. It allows teachers to be an integral part of their development and make sure they are on the right track. Regular attendance focuses on improving discipline while having close contact with the instructor grants the students the possibility to ask their questions straight away.

By now, you should have an overview of both types of education. But let’s put things into the context of security awareness training and investigate how to choose the right method of delivery. Why would you opt for online training when you could go the old-school way: rent a room and hire an instructor, organize a one-week training, and check it off your list?
Check our eLearning article for a more in-depth analysis of the advantages of online education

Differences

To understand the differences, it’s essential to analyze the post-training effects of both types of education. Simply put: did the training increase your employees’ efficiency, or was it just another mandatory training with no feasible results? Usually, when deciding which type of training to pursue in order to achieve the desired goal, you should keep in mind several aspects, such as:

1. Targeted learners: the size of the group, age, habits, area of activity.
2. Knowledge of the subject matter: how knowledgeable are your employees in the field of the training?
3. Targeted results: SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) will help you achieve the desired results.
4. Context: how useful and needed is, in the macro-context (your industry, current and future society), to have your employees trained in that area.

The list above is not exhaustive, but it’s a good starting point. Answering the questions above should turn the scale to one of the two methods. Below we’ll explain why, in the context of security awareness training, eLearning is both efficient and effective, compared to classical security training. You can use the explanation below as a reference and apply it to your situation regardless of the area of training you want to pursue.

Targeted learners

Depending on your company’s size, you’ll probably need to train hundreds to thousands of employees in the information security field. First of all, having an in-class training for such a high number is very costly and challenging to organize. Second, it’s hard to track each employee’s progress because the training would, in most cases, be done on a broad scale. Then, you also need to know a bit about your employees (their generation, interests, and computer skills). This will enable you to decide whether the training will work in a traditional way – the instructor delivers the information in a seminar, or you should opt for training that already uses technology and hands-on experience. As most cyber threats happen online, having the actual training in the same medium is the most effective way to go.

Knowledge of the subject matter

When it comes to security awareness, your employees’ knowledge in the field will probably vary depending on their computer skills and age. But don’t underestimate the danger of getting hacked. Even the IT-savvy people could have their computer compromised, and data leaked. Consider how advanced in the practices of information security management they are and opt for the type of training that adds the most value on top of that. We recommend eLearning as the best method because it addresses all levels of progress, helping employees acquire at least the same knowledge level. You won’t have to worry that the advanced ones would get bored, while the novice ones would remain in the fog. It will be a sustained and collective effort to reach the same goal regardless of the starting point.

Targeted results

Whether you choose to give your employees a security awareness training for compliance (link towards certifications), or because you are aware of the dangers of data breaches, your goals should be clear and attainable. We recommended setting SMART goals because that will give you better control during the whole process.

Specific State your goal in detail, e.g., reduce the risk of data breaches in my company.
Measurable: State your goal in a quantifiable manner, e.g., reduce the risks of data breaches in my company by 75%.
Achievable: Be honest about how much you can achieve. Don’t set goals that are too high to obtain. Be moderate, but challenge your status-quo at the same time.
Realistic: Is your goal attainable in the time-frame that you want? Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight, so be pragmatic.
Time-bound: Set a definite time-frame for achieving this goal, e.g., Reduce the risks of data breaches in my company by 75% in 3 months.

At the end of the period, you should analyze the results and reflect upon the goal. If you chose a specific type of training but didn’t reach the desired results, you might want to consider trying another one next time. However, our experience indicates that the highest chances of success regarding security awareness are given by automatic training simply because it supports a sustained learning behavior that is not limited by a one-time session.

Context

Information security is an area of interest for any online business and organization. It’s not a matter of if, but when your data could leak because of a cyberattack. Knowing the field of cybersecurity is essential regardless of the domain of activity and is an increasingly important skill in a society dominated by technology. Being the victim of a cyberattack has costly consequences and can lead to business disruption, so instilling appropriate information security protocols involves hands-on experience. Employees should know how to handle their computer and all the applications they work with on a daily basis; but how can they avoid a cyberattack if they’ve never been a victim? The best way is to simulate these attacks and get them ready for the real ones. No classical security training could provide your employees with such knowledge, so, once again, eLearning is the way to go.

Hopefully, by now, you have a clearer understanding of how to choose the best method to deliver security awareness training in your company. Our expertise in the field guarantees that practical knowledge, which is provided online in this case, is absolute in decreasing security risks. As mentioned before, this method we described could be applied to other training areas to help you make up your mind.

Should you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us so we can discuss your situation specifically and help you choose the best method.

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