No two organizations face the same cyber security risks. While threats like ransomware and phishing are risks for many organizations, no two have the same IT resources or security awareness levels. As a result, every organization will have different awareness training needs depending on their needs.

The good news is creating an effective security awareness training program doesn’t need to be complicated. You can use plenty of tools, from out-of-the-box training solutions to options that offer more customizable program content.

This article will examine why you need security awareness training for your employees and identify whether an out-of-the-box training program or personalized program is better for your organization.

Using Security Awareness Training to Reduce the Human Risk

Your employees are the most significant risk factor in your environment. According to the latest Gone Phishing Tournament results, one in every five employees clicks on phishing email links.

The level of employee security awareness will determine whether they’re implementing security-conscious behaviors, protecting your data, or acting negligently and putting it at risk.

Security awareness training offers a human fix to this human risk by providing employees with engaging, relevant training opportunities that educate them on the latest risks. These learning opportunities help change existing behaviors and form new habits to better protect data in both office and remote work environments.

As a result, security awareness training enhances the knowledge of individual employees and promotes a broader culture of cyber security throughout the organization.

Out-Of-The-Box Vs. Personalized Security Awareness Training Program: Which Is Better?

When developing a security awareness training platform, most organizations arrive at a point where they must select one of two options: a pre-built, out-of-the-box training program or a more customizable security awareness training option.

No one option is necessarily better than the other, assuming your security awareness vendor is constantly pulling from the same library of high-quality course content and phishing simulations. The most significant decision-making factor will be your organization’s security awareness needs and goals.

For example:

  • What end user behaviors are you trying to change through training?
  • What cyber threats are you trying to safeguard against?
  • What risk reduction metrics are you observing over time?
  • How often will training courses and phishing simulations be deployed?
  • What will determine if your security awareness training program is successful?

While only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to awareness training planning and strategy, these questions underscore the biggest caveat of all: some form of security awareness training is always better than none.

An organization’s needs may also be influenced by the industry or region they operate in, as well as the scope of their operations and employee base. Typically, out-of-the-box training is better suited for smaller organizations that may not have as many resources or time to devote to training as their enterprise-level counterparts.

Conversely, personalized security awareness training provides organizations with more internal resources with profound customization opportunities in every facet of their training. This process includes (but is not limited to): changing colors and logos to match an existing brand guide, changing phishing simulation email content, and so on.

Before making a selection, every organization must weigh the pros and cons of both options to identify what works best for its current reality.

The Advantages of Out-Of-The-Box Security Awareness Training

For some, implementing wide-ranging, totally customizable security awareness training campaigns can be akin to assembling IKEA furniture. The process can take longer than expected, the assembly path may not be clear, and the experience can quickly become frustrating and overwhelming.

However, with pre-built training packages (like the new Click and Launch bundles), organizations can expedite the process and save time for setup and deployment. As a result, getting security awareness training up and running becomes easier than ever, requiring just minutes of internal project managers and IT staff’s time rather than hours or days.

The key to engaging, effective out-of-the-box training comes back to content quality. Ensure that all eLearning material and any phishing simulations you’re sending to end users have been built and vetted by a vendor’s CISO or team of experts. This way, you’ll know the program trajectory includes tested, proven elements.

The Advantage of Personalized Security Awareness Training

Choosing a personalized security awareness training option comes with different benefits. Unlike pre-built training programs, your organization has total control over every aspect of your awareness content and phishing simulations.

From changing the visual aspects to how each simulation message looks and sounds, the world is your oyster. This level of customization comes into play most when tailoring training content for your specific audience, allowing you to educate them on the latest phishing, social engineering, and other cyber threats most relevant to their lives.

Because end user engagement is critical, personalized training assets can significantly affect course completion and knowledge retention rates.

3 Security Awareness Training Aspects You Should Always Prioritize

Whether you’re going with a pre-built, easy-to-deploy solution or one that offers deeper customization, there are several security awareness training aspects you should always prioritize. Regardless of your decision, quality in these areas must come first:

1.   Engaging Training Content

Successful security awareness training is predicated on changing end user behavior. To accomplish this, employees must complete courses and phishing simulations, which means your training content must be fun, informative, and, above all else, consistently engaging. More immersive training formats, like Serious Game modules, can help boost participation and completion rates.

2.   Communication Tools

Your solution’s suite of communication tools must enable you to highlight additional training opportunities through email reminders, newsletters, and other content formats. Assets like infographics, best practice kits, and other shareable content can also help you reinforce past learning topics throughout the program’s duration.

3.   Real-World Phishing Simulation Templates

Like any form of learning, most people require hands-on experience to solidify concepts and integrate them into their daily routines. This pathway is particularly true of phishing simulations. Leveraging real-world templates is vital to ensuring end users can spot warning signs and avoid interacting with potentially malicious emails, webpages, and more.


Building effective security awareness training doesn’t need to be complicated. Based on your organization’s needs and goals, you can easily create a security awareness training program that allows your employees to observe cyber security best practices, spot phishing attempts, and keep sensitive information safe.

Even if you don’t have the capacity to build and launch a personalized training program, it’s better to have some security awareness training in place than nothing at all.



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