Security awareness training must be made less predictable. Employees rarely engage if they think they know what’s coming.

One IT Security manager told me her organization’s developers literally wrote software that everyone used to “run the training”. So they got full credit for completing it. Not what the manager was hoping for.

Another sign of predictable awareness training is that employees can, and do, work on other tasks while a training video is playing. Clearly, nobody is absorbing the concepts in these situations.

Our “croc brains” take over when situations are predictable, and we automatically start looking for more important things to process. Awareness training especially needs to address this problem because employees subconsciously try to find excuses to avoid it.

compliance training shouldn't be your only focus. Image of binoculars

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

It’s been a “super-fantastic” experience to see people learning and talking about security threats.

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Here are 3 ways security awareness training can be made more effective using “unpredictability”…

1. Adding visual variety
2. Providing options for a short exploration of related concepts
3. Using assessments based on scenarios

If your awareness training is falling short on employee participation, you should start by making it less predictable.

This is one aspect of what I will be presenting this Wednesday in my next live session on “The Awareness Training Success Framework”.


Scott Wright is CEO of Click Armor, the gamified simulation platform that helps businesses avoid breaches by engaging employees to improve their proficiency in making decisions for cyber security risk and corporate compliance. He has over 20 years of cyber security coaching experience and was creator of the Honey Stick Project for Smartphones as a demonstration in measuring human vulnerabilities.