Cyber threats loom large, and organizations face an ever-evolving adversary: social engineering. This cybercriminal tactic, enabled by email, text messages, the web, and phone calls, plays a central role in the vast majority of successful cybersecurity attacks. As we navigate our business and personal lives, one critical defense stands out: Security awareness training combined with simulated phishing exercises. Combined, these efforts create a robust human risk management solution to an ever-present problem.

The Social Engineering Epidemic

Cybersecurity experts agree: social engineering is the Achilles’ heel of our digital defenses. Whether it’s spear phishing, credential theft, or other manipulative tactics, social engineering infiltrates organizations with alarming frequency. Consider these sobering statistics:

60% to 90%: The range of successful data breaches attributed to social engineering based on multiple industry reports.

66%: Spear phishing’s share of successful compromises targets specific people.

79%: Credential thefts originating from phishing attacks.

90%: The involvement of social engineering in all cyber attacks.

These numbers underscore a harsh reality: social engineering is the number one threat facing organizations today, surpassing all other initial access methods. But how can organizations defend against this relentless attack approach?

The Role of Security Awareness Training

Security awareness training is the linchpin of cyber resiliency. It equips users with the knowledge and vigilance needed to recognize and thwart social engineering attempts. Here’s why security awareness training matters:

Education as Armor: Users are a critical line of defense. Security awareness training empowers them to identify suspicious emails, avoid risky behaviors, and report incidents promptly.

Beyond Policies and Tech: While policies and technical defenses are crucial, they’re not foolproof. Security awareness training as a component of human risk management, bridges the gap, ensuring human intuition complements automated systems.

Mitigating the Threat: By actively educating users, organizations can reduce the likelihood of successful social engineering attacks.

A Data-Driven Approach

Let’s look at some combined data that takes into a account multiple third-party report findings with our own dataset of testing and training from more than a decade of providing solutions for our customers:

Frequent Phishing Testing Yields Results: Organizations who conducted regular phishing simulations over the last ten years sustained a below average successful attack rate. That means attackers were less likely to penetrate a well-trained workforce. More testing and training resulted in better phishing simulation reporting rates across organization size and industry type.

Training Duration Matters: Longer training periods (campaigns) correlated with improved performance on simulated phishing tests. Takeaway point: Train AND test your workforce for a more holistic human risk management solution.

The Winning Combination: Organizations that combined training with simulated phishing achieved the best results.

Conclusion: Building Cyber Resilience

As we strive for cyber resiliency, security awareness training combined with phishing simulation and testing emerges as a beacon of success. It’s not a one-time event but an ongoing commitment. Organizations must prioritize frequent training, gamified simulations, and user testing. Knowledge is our greatest weapon in combating social engineering. Remember: You’re not just training users; you’re fortifying your digital fortress. Let’s stay vigilant, educate relentlessly, and turn the tide against cyber threats. Together, we can build a safer digital world. 🛡️🌐💡