Areas of Improvement
While we can likely all agree that there is always room for improvement with regard to managing end-user risk, our 2017 Beyond the Phish Report did reveal categories and industries in which employees are improving year-over-year and have answered the highest percentage of questions correctly:
- In 2016, phishing was the category that most organizations focused on from an assessment and training perspective — and that trend only increased in 2017. The good news is that the focus seems to be paying off: All industries saw an improvement over 2016 in questions around identifying phishing attacks. The rate of incorrectly answered questions was 24% on average in 2017, compared to 28% on average in 2016.
- We saw the largest year-over-year improvement around the understanding of social media best practices, which is good news considering the proliferation of social networking among all age groups.
- We also saw a significant improvement with questions related to working safely outside the office. This is heartening news, particularly for organizations with a large number of remote workers. In fact, a recent Gallup study indicated that 43% of employees work remotely at least part of the time.
- A new category carved out in this year’s data focused on protections against scams, which focused on social engineering techniques that are applied across a range of attack vectors, including email, SMS/text messages, phone calls, and even in-person attacks. On average, end-users performed well in the new category, which is good news for organizations that are increasingly experiencing social engineering attacks.
- As in 2016, the best understood category for end-users focused on password safety, in which only 12% of answers were answered incorrectly in 2017. A caveat to this, however, is seen in the results from our User Risk Report, which showed that users are still likely to use the same one or two passwords across a range of online accounts. It can be inferred from these studies that, even though users know the right answers, they sometimes fail to apply best practices in situations that seem too difficult or challenging.
Ultimately, our 2017 Beyond the Phish Report shows the need to continuously assess and train employees about cybersecurity threats. Infosec teams cannot assume that knowledge is a constant; like any skill, cybersecurity expertise needs to develop over time, and users need the opportunity to practice and grow their abilities. An hour of training, once a year, is not the way to move the dial on behavior change, nor can any one tool serve as a silver bullet to knowledge enhancement. It is a combination of phishing tests; question-based knowledge assessments; interactive training; reinforcement techniques and tools; and gathering of metrics and business intelligence that will give your security awareness and training program the best shot at success.
As always, we remain poised to be the partner that can help you move the dial and deliver measurable behavior change within your organization.