If you want to protect your systems against human risk, security awareness training and incident management are non-negotiable. Security awareness training is vital for ensuring that employees are prepared to prevent and manage security incidents.

With the overall cost of a data breach totaling $4.24 million in 2021, prevention has become an essential component of incident management. A single successful breach can have a devastating financial impact on an organization.

Considering that compromised credentials caused 20% of these breaches, using security awareness training to teach employees how to detect phishing scams is now essential for lowering the risk of a data breach.

This article will look at security awareness training and incident management fundamentals and highlight the importance of making sure your users are part of the incident management process.

What is The Role of Your Users In Your Incident Management Training?

Your users are on the front line in any security incident your organization faces. This reality means that the level of security awareness your employees have will determine whether an intrusion attempt is successful or not but the overall impact of the incident.

For instance, if an attacker targets an employee with a phishing email to try and trick them into handing over their login credentials, then the effectiveness of your defense will depend on the level of security awareness that employee has and whether they can spot a social engineering attempt.

In fact, out of the one in five organizations that suffered a data breach in 2021 due to lost or stolen credentials, 17% were breached due to a phishing attempt.

So, if you want to mitigate the risk of phishing attempts and credential theft, you need to ensure you offer The Human Fix to Human Risk as a solution. It will help employees become aware of security best practices, adopt security-conscious behavior, contribute to a more robust cyber-aware culture, and ultimately decrease the chance of anyone handing over sensitive information.

Limit User Authorization and Access

Another critical component of your security awareness training and incident management preparation is to ensure that you’re limiting user authorization and access to critical data assets.

The reason is that the more employees have access to a file, the more risk there is of an unauthorized user stealing their credentials and gaining access to that information.

Limiting user access is where many organizations fall short, with 37% of organizations having overprivileged accounts and 59% suffering breaches where privileged credentials were harvested due to a phishing attempt.

Limiting user authentication and access reduces the chance of privileged users being targeted by malicious entities and makes it much harder for an attacker to gain access to sensitive information.

For example, if ten people in a team have access to a shared file, an attacker has ten potential targets they can reach out to with phishing and social engineering scams. If only one or two individuals have privileged access to a resource, there’s much less opportunity for an attacker to target those users.

Use Phishing Simulations to Teach Users Better Incident Management

Phishing simulations are one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal to improve the incident management of your users.

A well-constructed phishing simulation allows an employee to practice detecting and responding to real-world phishing threats, so they know how to spot manipulation attempts when working in isolation.

Simulated exercises are essential to the success of your incident management strategy because you don’t know how an employee will respond to a live threat until they’re exposed to it in a real-time situation.

Incorporating a phishing simulation into your security awareness training actively teaches your employees not to click on any links or malicious attachments if they receive a phishing attempt. As a result, personal information or confidential organizational data is less likely to be at risk.

You can also use this opportunity to teach them how to report phishing attempts so that your IT team is aware of a threat actor actively targeting your organization and investigating further.

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Addressing Priority Risks with Personalized Training

Every organization has a different set of vulnerabilities and cyber threats most relevant to its environment. As a result, there’s no one-size-fits-all training approach, which means you need to focus on building personalized training materials to address the priority risks and threats your organization and your users face.

For example, suppose your workplace has a BYOD policy and employees use a mixture of desktop and mobile devices for work. In that case, it’s crucial not only to cover phishing scams in your security awareness training but also to highlight smishing and vishing attempts that they’re likely to be exposed to daily.

By personalizing your security awareness training and incident management exercises, you equip employees to deal with the risks they’re most likely to encounter and decrease the chance of being caught off guard and contributing to a data breach.


Users play an integral role in your incident management process and can be a valuable first line of defense in security incidents. If they’re not up-to-date on the latest security best practices and how to secure privileged information, then your organization is at risk of a breach.

Taking a simple step like incorporating phishing simulations into your security awareness training can start enhancing the incident management abilities of your employees so that they are better prepared to prevent and mitigate security incidents.



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