The Importance of Personalized Data in Security Awareness Training

When creating cyber security-aware employees, personalized reporting can provide the granular details your company needs to succeed.

Training Mag

Data is in abundance at the average organization’s disposal these days; however, getting the most out of that information plays a big part in meeting short- and long-term cyber security objectives. For many training program administrators, the only way to gauge success regarding cybersecurity awareness has been through basic built-in stats, such as course completion, pass/fail rates, etc.

While these metrics can be significant, this only tells the most basic of information. Dozens of other data points can be utilized by organizations to determine knowledge gaps better, pinpoint areas for optimization, and fuel improved overall decision-making.

When creating cyber security-aware employees, personalized reporting can provide the granular details your company needs to succeed.

The Difference Between Generic and Personalized Reporting

“Has a course been completed?” is still a crucial metric to track, but it’s not the best tool to use when assessing whether end-users have absorbed the content. By the same logic, high-level data won’t show you if content taught in the course shrunk cyber security knowledge gaps and targeted the right user behaviors. As a result, it can be a challenge to answer a simple question like, “Should I assign these courses or include them as part of the security awareness program?”

You want to know how many failed in a specific region or department of your company or if they exhibit behaviors that could lead to future data breaches. Even something as simple as knowing how far along specific users are in their courses will help you personalize the reminder email you send them.

This, in a nutshell, is the powerful effect of personalized reporting.

Building Your Personalized Reporting

While every organization faces some general themes, specific cyber security challenges and goals are unique for every company. The following questions are excellent thought starters to build a personalized report.

  1. Which user behaviors is your organization targeting with training courses and phishing simulations?
  • Personalized reporting provides you with more structured data, but it primarily allows you to identify the most problematic behaviors in your organization and minimize the data breaches related to these behaviors. Helping focus on the issues which matter to the organization
  1. Of those behaviors, which ones are tied to your biggest security awareness training priorities?
  • The most crucial user behavior to target, whether it’s because it’s the most prominent or one that was exploited in a recent cyber-attack, should be the first one you include in your dashboard. Your reporting setup should also have as many data points as possible, with improvements monitored and displayed in real-time.
  1. Which initiatives will you/have you launched that directly support those priorities?
  • Mapping all the different courses and phishing simulations currently in progress is an excellent first step when initially building your dashboard. Each initiative can then be linked to a relevant set of statistics you want to monitor to achieve a draft version of the dashboard you can start watching to see if it fits your needs.
  1. What are the goals for each initiative (e.g., training course, simulation, ongoing campaign)?
  • You don’t monitor a new course the same way you watch a targeted simulation or a campaign you hold all year long. Ensure every initiative has set data monitoring parameters for collecting and refreshing the information displayed.
  1. Concerning those goals, what metrics are most critical in determining each initiative?
  • After completing the above, you’re ready to see which specific metrics are the most relevant to track.

Just the Beginning

Organizations may run dozens of courses, tests, and campaigns every year for many issues and potential dangers yet rely on the same metric for all of them. There is no way to analyze them with a one-size-fits metric.

Personalized reporting will help security administrators determine and understand their organizations’ specific needs. Creating a culture of cyber security awareness through training programs can only be done when one can identify the issues through personalized data. While the human risk will always be prevalent, utilizing data will help bring you one step closer to the ultimate goal: enable users or empower users to protect themselves and their organizations and become cyber heroes.