A Winning Security Training Recipe: What Are the Secret Ingredients?

5 Key Ingredients for a Winning Security Training Recipe

When it comes to crafting a winning recipe for security training, there are a few secret ingredients to add that can greatly improve the flavor of your sessions.

1. Covering the Basics (1 Cup)

If no security training session has been given before, a key component is bringing everyone to the same level — at least in the beginning. There is a good chance that some might know their way around security more than the average Joe, but what about those who know less? A solid foundation is necessary for building a stable training process.

These basics sessions should be versatile when it comes to the topics covered; it could be on a wide spectrum of security domains or a bit more specific, with topics such as application security, network security and risk management. As long as they are simple to digest, cover the topics that seem relevant for your organization.

2. Know Your Crowd (2 Packs)

It’s important to remember that not all of your colleagues come from the same background. Even when the training is cross-company, it doesn’t mean that every session should look the same. For example, developers would probably want to hear about coding and how to prevent loopholes in your application or software. Those in information technology (IT) might be interested in network security, access management and audits. Product managers and business analysts could ask you about the cost outcomes of a security breach in a product and how to deal with a poor security reputation.

As for quality assurance, the areas of security testing, building control gates for passing/failing a product version and assisting testing tools are on their minds. Let every session be unique and crowd-aimed for better implementation.

3. Audience Participation (4 Tablespoons)

No matter what time it is, there is probably at least one person (and that is an underestimation) who is preoccupied with his or her cell phone, notebook, trying not to fall asleep or dealing with another type of distraction. Engaging with your crowd and asking them questions is a good practice for any training, especially in security training since there are so many topics that could be open for discussion.

Just be careful you don’t embarrass anyone who isn’t completely listening by addressing them out of the blue. Create participation points in advance where you can direct your attention toward the crowd and ask them for their opinions. Doing so will refresh and stimulate both you and your audience.

4. Hands-On Exercises (3 oz.)

When training employees, don’t be afraid to challenge them. The things you spend more time solving or exercising are usually those you remember for a long time. You don’t want to let the knowledge rest for a day on your employees’ minds and then let it be forgotten.

Why not have a little exercise? Create a scenario and let the trainees work for their education. You could use a website you find interesting or a lab you constructed with the company’s IT department. If it’s a long session (half a day or more), the exercise could have multiple steps to help trainees feel like they are making progress in their security training. You could also use this phase as part of the your organization’s internal certification process.

5. Security Training Case Studies (A Dash)

Other than having hands-on exercises, it isn’t easy to prove a claim during training while discussing things in general terms or fooling around with demo labs. In the real world, security is an issue, and attacks occur every moment (with or without your knowledge).

Sometimes, it’s very useful to take a real case and examine it in order to demonstrate the outcomes of insecure practices. The cases could be technical and aimed for research and development training sessions or financial for product/business units within your organization. Dealing with a security breach isn’t fun, but it can be a valuable lesson that you can benefit from when it does not happen to you.

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Daniel Liber

R&D Security Leader, CyberArk

9 years of infosec experience, small companies through enterprises. Interested mainly in web and mobile domains,...