17 October 2023
Expert Insights

Cybersecurity Awareness Program: Enhancing Protection Through an Acculturation Strategy

Florent Skrabacz President ERIUM
Publié par Florent Skrabacz

Through this article, explore how to acculturate your employees through a training program to raise awareness about cybersecurity.


In the age of the digital revolution, cybersecurity has become a central concern for organizations of all sizes, both in the public and private sectors. In fact, it’s the top risk for businesses in 2023 according to the Allianz Risk Barometer.

The risks and threats associated with cyberattacks, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated, can lead to significant damages, whether they are financial, legal, or related to reputation. Although the technological aspect is sometimes involved in the success of cyberattacks, in 90% of cases, the security breach primarily results from human error, a phenomenon known as “brain hacking.”

For this reason, cybersecurity awareness, targeting employees for a genuine understanding of best cybersecurity practices, has become essential in protecting organizations from online threats.

Why is Cybersecurity Awareness Training Important?

Many companies underestimate the importance of basic cybersecurity knowledge. The significant consequences and financial impacts make it essential to raise employee awareness about cybersecurity. Erium offers an effective, engaging, and online Serious Game to prevent common errors that can be costly to your business. We explain it below.

The Consequences of Computer Security Breaches

A successful cyberattack can have disastrous repercussions for an organization. Among these consequences is the leakage of confidential data concerning customers or partners. These losses can lead to legal disputes, financial losses, and a deterioration of the company’s image (loss of trust, a decline in reputation).

Ransomware attacks, which use malicious software to encrypt access to computer systems in exchange for a ransom payment, disrupt daily operations and result in business downtime, revenue losses, and decreased productivity.

But cyberattacks are not limited to data breaches and ransomware; they come in various forms, and cyber attackers continually strive to harm organizations and make a profit. Among the most common attacks are identity theft to gain access to confidential data and to exploit employees’ trust for fraudulent activities. These attacks also cause financial and reputational damage to companies.

The Financial Impacts of Cyber Attacks

Cyberattacks have significant financial costs for businesses, including both direct costs (such as productivity loss or downtime) and indirect costs (remediation, recovery, reputation damage, and the implementation of new security measures). In US, in 2021, the global cost of cyberattacks was estimated at 6 trillion USD, with more than 50% of companies facing attempted cyberattacks.

Is providing training sufficient for raising employee awareness?

Considering all of this data, it is clear that cybersecurity awareness is essential for protecting organizations against cyber risks.

In the age of the digital revolution and evolving norms, traditional awareness efforts may seem outdated. Moreover, capturing and sustaining employees’ attention and good cybersecurity practices over time is a challenging endeavor. Conventional training, which tends to be overly theoretical, is often perceived as boring, with limited impact on employees’ behavior, as demonstrated in the white paper “Cybersecurity Awareness: Dream or Reality?” produced by Erium in collaboration with the Forum des Compétences.

Interactive, Engaging, and Effective Awareness Training

Shifting from the theoretical approach of traditional awareness training to an interactive and immersive one can make a significant difference. A platform like Cyber Investigation enables employees to change their perspective by stepping into the shoes of a hacker, thus helping them internalize best practices differently. A playful and interactive approach engages participants more effectively, allowing them to learn while having fun.

What should a cybersecurity awareness program include?

In light of the limitations of awareness, even if it is effective, a program to go beyond is essential.

The Cyber Investigation platform offers realistic scenarios simulating real-life situations (phishing, CEO fraud, social engineering). Employees face challenges with investigations to solve, putting them in the shoes of a hacker.

These challenges are complemented by videos, reflex sheets, and quizzes, allowing IT security managers to assess the organization’s level of maturity in cybersecurity practices and subsequently steer security measures to be implemented.

By targeting scenarios based on risks, employees learn to recognize the signs of a cyberattack attempt and take measures to protect themselves. Best practices such as using a secure password manager, reporting suspicious content to a cyber correspondent, following security procedures, and using two-factor authentication are then integrated.

It’s simple: raising cybersecurity awareness is essential, but the real goal is to take action and engage in these cybersecurity reflexes!

How to engage employees in developing sustainable cybersecurity habits?

To derive concrete benefits from cybersecurity awareness and transition from awareness to cyber acculturation, it is crucial to capture and maintain the organization’s employees’ attention.

To maximize employee retention, the learning pyramid teaches us that reading a theoretical course allows for the retention of up to 5% of information, while practical training can help retain nearly 75%.

This observation drives the creation of an immersive game rather than a simple theoretical training delivered by a cybersecurity consultant.

To engage employees in their cybersecurity awareness, Erium, in its collaboration with the Forum des Compétences, has also highlighted key points for achieving content with optimal engagement. The content should be:

  • Humorous and playful
  • Short
  • Concrete
  • Useful, both professionally and personally
  • Realistic, with practical scenarios
  • Multimedia
  • Recurrent

Steps to Start Training Your Employees

For a successful cyber acculturation and awareness, it is important to follow some key steps.

First, the organization needs to assess its cybersecurity needs and identify its risks. The Cyber Investigation platform allows managers to target user journeys based on the risks they are most likely to be exposed to.

Next, the organization should define personas (internal and external) and differentiate them based on their exposure, behaviors, and common cybersecurity concerns.

Thirdly, the company should set objectives with actions tailored to the user’s maturity level (e.g., raising awareness of cyber risks by targeting them specifically and reinforcing associated reflexes).

Finally, the organization should plan the implementation of training. Mandatory training yields better results than optional training, and it should be monitored according to the results obtained.

Monitoring progress, measuring the cybersecurity maturity level of employees, listening to feedback, and guiding new cyber awareness initiatives are steps to be taken for genuine cyber acculturation within organizations.

Cyber Investigation – The Serious Game for Cybersecurity Awareness and a Path to Genuine Training

As the first cyber acculturation platform, Cyber Investigation is an interactive and immersive platform designed to raise employee awareness about cybersecurity best practices.

Its gamified approach allows for four times more cyber retention compared to traditional training because employees take action and practice their cybersecurity reflexes on the internet, putting themselves in the shoes of a hacker (for example, they must retrieve usernames and passwords using information available online).

Available in 8 languages, Cyber Investigation is suitable for all levels of cybersecurity maturity, and its program can be tailored to various cybersecurity objectives and risks, with customization options for businesses.

It measures 8 major risks (phishing, access compromise, CEO fraud, data leakage, ransomware, etc.), and KPIs help enhance long-term cybersecurity maturity.

The combined benefits of this cybersecurity awareness and acculturation platform are manifold:

  • A platform that fosters collective energy, promoting positive competition and team rankings.
  • A platform that enhances the retention of cybersecurity reflexes through immersion and practical learning.
  • Security awareness tailored to different profiles and their roles within the organization.
  • Precise measurement of maturity level and the persistence of cybersecurity reflexes over time (after 1 month, 6 months, 2 years) through defined KPIs.
  • A customizable experience with 100% customizable communication kits.

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Examples of best practices that are adhered to after awareness training

Employee education and training on security best practices

Following an extended cybersecurity awareness campaign supplemented by a comprehensive training program, employees should have grasped and appreciated the importance of understanding and maintaining good cyber habits over time.

They should be sensitized to social engineering techniques like phishing or CEO fraud to detect cyberattack attempts. Moreover, they should have internalized security procedures to follow in the event of a cyber attack attempt (react, inform their cyber contact, avoid clicking).

Lastly, they should be trained in daily cybersecurity practices that strengthen online security, including using a password manager, enabling two-factor authentication, connecting to secure internet networks, and separating professional and personal storage spaces, among other things.

Establishing a cybersecurity culture within organizations

Transitioning from cybersecurity awareness to cyber acculturation involves creating a strong cyber culture capable of preventing incidents and proactively responding to emerging threats.

Florent Skrabacz – President of the Erium Group

Creating a cyber culture extends beyond implementing cybersecurity awareness training. It also involves promoting a reporting culture, where security incidents and suspicious behaviors can be reported without fear of repercussions, facilitating a swift response. Additionally, it means establishing regular internal communication about the implemented security policies and their updates, engaging the leadership in promoting cybersecurity as a strategic priority, and creating high-impact events, such as during Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

Useful Questions and Answers

What is the price of a combined cybersecurity awareness and training program?

For a cyber acculturation training with the Cyber Investigation platform, various subscription packages are available, ranging from 60 to 20 euros per user per year.

How long does a cybersecurity awareness training last?

Subscriptions are designed to last for one year, but there is no specific time limit in cybersecurity awareness. The crucial point is that with each new individual engaged, continuous training is established to counter new emerging threats and evolving modes of attack.

What are the benefits of cybersecurity awareness for teams?

The benefits of cybersecurity training are numerous for an organization’s teams.

  • With a better understanding of cybersecurity threats and risks, teams enhance their ability to protect sensitive information and data, both professionally and personally
  • Moreover, each team member feels involved in the company’s cyber culture and contributes to its security, thereby increasing their overall engagement in the organization
  • Cyber Investigation, which promotes positive inter-team competition, strengthens bonds and fosters a greater appetite for challenges within the company
  • Finally, cyber acculturation builds trust among clients and partners towards the teams, demonstrating their commitment to safeguarding the company and its data

Who organizes and monitors the training?

The training is led directly by the CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) from the platform, where they have access to team progress based on risks and can oversee teams according to results. They can also implement new cybersecurity measures from this platform.