No company can survive without communication. For a firm to operate effectively and efficiently, staff members need to be able to exchange ideas and information with one another, as well as their clients and other external sources, freely and quickly.

It is precisely this need which has led to the accelerating adoption of robust unified communications and mobile-friendly technologies over the past few years. Highlighting this trend, a recent Research and Markets study found that the global mobile unified communications and collaboration market will likely grow from $5 billion in 2014 to more than $17 billion by 2019.

But there’s a downside here. As business communication has become more free and easy, it has also become more risky. To successfully utilize these resources, companies need to ensure that their employees understand the importance of security in this context. This makes ongoing education and awareness training essential, as Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, recently asserted.

Security needed

Writing for CSO, Ponemon noted that it’s very common for companies to provide security and privacy training for new hires. Unfortunately, however, this is often the limit of firms’ efforts in this area.

This is a problem for two key reasons. First, as Ponemon emphasized, any employee’s first few weeks at an organization are typically overwhelming and jam-packed with new information, which means that the security-specific education is not likely to be retained.

“Security training is only effective over a long period.”

Second, there’s the simple fact security training can only prove truly effective when it is extended over a longer period. Workers need regular reminders and refreshers to ensure they can remain focused on the information. Furthermore, the cybersecurity landscape is always evolving, and so the best practices will also change over time.

Ponemon further emphasized the need for business leaders to develop a corporate culture that values data security. Establishing rules and best practices will not do much good unless users understand, and the business as a whole reflects, the need for these efforts.

Effective training

With this in mind, it’s imperative for firms to embrace effective security awareness training. Specifically, Ponemon asserted that this training should be personal and relatable. Bland, unspecific security education programs will fail to connect with employees, and therefore will have little to no impact. Interactive, engaging lessons and training sessions, on the other hand, are far more likely to actually affect employees’ mindsets, and their later behavior.