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Behavior-Based Training Essential for Email Security Blog Feature
Shantae' Hansen

By: Shantae' Hansen on September 18th, 2019

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Behavior-Based Training Essential for Email Security

Cyber Security | Training | Tech Tips & Trends

Email communication is a necessity in any organization, which also makes it a breeding ground for cyber attackers. All too often, we hear from executives about concerns that email will become an open door for a data breach or malicious software such as a virus. They ask us, “How can we tighten email security to avoid becoming a victim of these hackers?"

The problem is that even with spam filters, cyber criminals can still manage to sneak past your security walls with phishing. Phishing is an email scam designed to trick your user into doing some kind of action, like clicking a link or downloading a file, in order to get access to your organization’s network.

Since there is no surefire way to block all phishing, it's important for you to train your team about email security. How do you do this? One successful way is to use a curriculum designed to train your team in fun and engaging ways.  

Why is Email Security Awareness Important?

Before you can consider training your team, as an executive it is important to understand the tactics that hackers are using to manipulate your people. To start, let’s take a minute to understand phishing.

  • Phishing is the leading security threat used in social engineering attacks. Phishing is an email scam attempting to gain access to your organization’s confidential information.
  • Spear phishing is a more sophisticated, targeted attack. Spear phishing attackers use social media sites to gather information about users, executives and companies. Compromised emails accounts on either end of the correspondence can also be used. Cyber attackers tailor the phishing email with specific information, dollar amounts (when trying to trick someone into paying them), or even learn the email mannerism of a user to really make it seem like they wrote the message.

With phishing, your user is your biggest threat to your email security. The better informed your team is about social media and email security, the better chance your organization has to protect itself from these attacks.

What can I do to help my team become security aware?

Because so many data breaches happen as a result of human behavior, it's not realistic to expect your IT department to ward off all cyber threats. The first thing you need to do is to make sure that any member of your team with access to your network, like email, is aware of the risks and implications that can happen with every CLICK.

Many executives are taking action against phishing attacks with awareness and protection applications like KnowBe4. Here at Accent, we’ve partnered with KnowBe4 to help our clients train their users to be aware of, and identify the signs of dangerous phishing emails.

What is KnowBe4?

KnowBe4 is a company whose priority is to educate the world on how to not become a victim of email scams. They partner with real companies whose names and logos are recognizable to make phishing simulations as difficult to detect as possible.  Because their emails look so authentic, KnowBe4’s phishing tests are highly effective. KnowBe4 email security training can be done right at your team’s own workstation.

How does KnowBe4 work?

Training with KnowBe4 begins with a customized simulated phishing test. Customized  phishing security tests are delivered to your team, purposefully phishing for users in order to help you identify which of your users are phish-prone, or most likely to fall for a fraudulent email message.

1. Customized Phishing Tests

When your objective is to train your team, you want a program designed with your team in mind, and who knows your team better than you?

  • By Department – With Knowbe4, email test templates can be customized based on your specific email threats.
  • Frequency – Schedule how random, how often, and how specific you want the test emails to be delivered. There are hundreds of thousands of emails so users can never get the same test in the same year.
  • Consequences – Choose the landing page a user sees if they fail the test. You can choose to show your user which red flags they missed or redirect them to a 404-error page.

At Accent, the executives we work with typically choose to randomize their simulated phishing tests to be sent at different times of the day, on different days, and to different people. Most of our clients are set up on the automated customization for the tests to be delivered 1-2 times a month.

2. Specified Training Options

In addition to training with simulated phishing tests, training can be delivered as informational emails.

  • Training Videos – Executives can request users to watch training videos. Summary reports tell you who watched the training and who didn't.
  • Articles - Knowbe4’s Module Store has articles about cyber security including up to date issues and threats your users might be facing.
  • Vishing – A combination of voice and phishing, simulated vishing attacks are also available. These automated calls can be delivered to your team to test their vulnerability to phone scams.
  • HR Training – Here at Accent, we work with numerous HR departments who use the HR training in KnowBe4. Instead of having to do a required meeting, you can just deliver the mandatory training through email. HR departments can then access the reports in Knowbe4 to see who completed the training.

3. Data Summary Reports

How do you know if this approach to email security training is working? Every month, KnowBe4 delivers a summary report PDF and a link to a full detailed report of the test’s results.  

This report will show you how users responded to the simulated phishing tests. These reports help you to identify which members of your team are putting your organization at risk.  

Final Thoughts

Whether or not your team eventually catches on that you are testing them, they will still be gaining the skills and tools necessary to recognize real phishing attacks. Your priority is to get your team more aware and more mindful of email security, and KnowBe4 can help you do that.

If you’re not sure where to start, feel free to reach out to us here at Accent any time. We’re here to make your life easier through fast, friendly, frustration-free IT services.