How To Gamify Cyber Security Training In 3 Steps

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Sebastian Salla Last Updated: May 24, 2024

Gamification is all about turning learning into an engaging, self-driven experience. In the world of cybersecurity, gamification often involves mimicking phishing attacks, delivering short and snappy training sessions, and encouraging friendly competition among colleagues. In this article, we'll explore how any organization can adopt these methods to create a fully gamified learning environment.

What You'll Learn In This Article.

  • How to train employees to spot phishing attacks by using simulated phishing exercises.
  • How to use micro-training modules to provide learners with a memorable learning experience.
  • How to use learner badges to initiate friendly competition between colleagues.
  • How to combine phishing, training, and friendly competition to gamify cyber security training.

How Do You Gamify Cyber Security Training?

Gamifying cybersecurity training is a straightforward three-step process: simulate real-world threats, assign relevant and engaging training, and introduce friendly competition.

An image describing a simulated phishing email.

Step 1. Simulate Real-World Cyber Security Threats.

Seeing is believing, especially in cybersecurity. To teach employees how to spot phishing emails, you can send them simulated phishing emails that mimic real threats. This hands-on approach helps employees practice their skills and learn from their mistakes in a safe environment.

Phishing can be tricky to detect and often relies on a gut feeling. However, employees can use specific techniques to identify potential phishing emails. These include checking the sender's domain, hovering over URLs to see their destination, and questioning unexpected emails or requests to bypass standard procedures.

The beauty of simulated phishing is that it provides active learning with minimal time investment. Employees get to practice and refine their skills without real-world consequences.

The best thing about simulated phishing is that it's an active learning process where learners can hone their skills in a safe environment with minimal time investment.

Step 2. Assign Relevant, Engaging, And Bite-Sized Training.

Simulated phishing alone isn't enough. It's essential to provide feedback and relevant training to reinforce learning. This is where short, engaging, and relevant training modules come in. Each session should be clear, concise, and under 10 minutes to maintain engagement and maximize knowledge retention.

Variety is key. Mix up the training materials with videos, statements, and images, and intersperse questions throughout. This approach keeps learners engaged and helps ensure they absorb the material.

Step 3. Add An Element Of Friendly Competition Between Learners.

Friendly competition is a crucial element of gamification. A leaderboard can track positive measures like timely training completion and successful phishing dodges. Reward programs for high scores can motivate learners, while those with lower scores should be encouraged to improve without facing lasting penalties.

Healthy competition can drive even the most reluctant learners to engage more deeply with their training, turning cybersecurity education into an interactive and motivating experience.

How Can You Use CanIPhish To Gamify Your Cyber Security Training?

CanIPhish has built its entire platform to offer a genuinely unique and gamified phishing training experience. By incorporating the three crucial steps we’ve discussed and more, CanIPhish makes cybersecurity training engaging and effective. Let’s see how it works in action.

An image describing a simulated phishing email.

Gamify Phishing Simulations.

We provide a fully managed phishing simulation platform, taking care of everything from hosting phishing email servers and websites to managing simulated phishing campaigns. This includes tracking statistics and generating comprehensive reports.

Every phishing email leads to a secondary payload, such as a phishing website, an attachment, or simply soliciting a response. This hands-on approach gives learners a real-world experience of how attackers might compromise their computers, steal credentials, or execute a business email compromise attack. Imagine your team gaining these skills without the risks!

Assign Training To Those Most In Need.

Our platform seamlessly integrates security awareness training with simulated phishing. When a learner falls for a phishing attack, relevant training is automatically assigned to help them better spot phishing attempts in the future.

We utilize "dynamic lists" to categorize users based on their phishing performance. Employees move between these lists depending on their interactions with phishing content. Those who frequently fall for phishing attacks see an increase in their "phish risk" score, resulting in more frequent simulated phishing emails and training assignments. The goal is for users to improve their skills and reduce their risk, ultimately moving to the low-risk tier.

This targeted approach ensures that everyone gets the training they need, exactly when they need it, and motivates employees to continuously improve their cybersecurity awareness as they strive to move to the coveted low-risk tier.

Reward Good Behavior Through A Points-Based Badge System.

When employees exhibit positive or negative actions, we assign badges that carry points. These badges are awarded based on up to 20 different observed behaviors across both phishing and training assignments.

Positive actions, like reporting a simulated phishing email, add points, while negative actions, like falling for a phishing email, deduct points from your overall badge score.

This points-based system not only motivates employees but also provides a clear and tangible way for them to see their progress.

Track Learners On An Organizational Leaderboard.

To further motivate employees, we’ve added a competitive edge with an organizational leaderboard. Humans are naturally competitive, and by tracking employees on a leaderboard, we can reward those who consistently demonstrate good behaviors.

Your IT team can easily set up public leaderboards to showcase top performers, creating a sense of achievement and friendly rivalry. They can also organize fun competitions, complete with rewards and recognition, to keep everyone engaged. Imagine the buzz around the office as employees compete to be the best in cybersecurity, making training not just a necessity but a fun and interactive part of your company culture.

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Wondering How You Can Get Started?

Getting started is a breeze. Simply sign-up for a free account, onboard your employees, and schedule a recurring simulated phishing and security awareness training campaign. Our platform takes it from there, automatically delivering phishing simulations and assigning training to those who fall for them.

We also offer a free Security Awareness Program Generator that can be used to set up your account to be fully gamified and ready to go in minutes. This tool ensures that your cybersecurity training is engaging and effective right from the start. More frequent phishing and training can be assigned based on the risk profile of each employee, keeping the training dynamic and tailored to your team's needs.

Free Tools

Free Security Awareness Program Generator

Is your organization taking the right steps to avoid a cybersecurity breach? Create your free tailored program today.

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Gamification is built-in and requires no additional configuration. You just need to monitor the leaderboard and periodically reward your highest-scoring learners! By following the outlined gamification process, you'll see higher levels of engagement, knowledge retention, and satisfaction with security awareness training in your organization!

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my employees are disengaged?

To tackle disengaged employees, try using gamification to make things more engaging. Start with realistic scenarios like phishing simulations in cybersecurity, and keep training sessions short and interactive with instant feedback. Add some friendly competition by setting up leaderboards and a badge system to reward good performance and improvement. Tailor training based on how each person is doing to keep it relevant and interesting. This way, you can re-engage your team and create a more fun and motivating work environment.

Is gamification always necessary for cyber security training?

Not always, but for some employees, cyber security training isn't something to look forward to. Gamification can make it more engaging by adding challenges, rewards, and friendly competition. This approach can turn routine training into a fun and interactive experience, boosting engagement and retention. While it's not essential for everyone, it can significantly enhance motivation and effectiveness where traditional methods fall short.

How can I measure the effectiveness of gamified cyber security training?

Effectiveness can be measured through metrics like engagement rates, training completion rates, assessment scores, reduction in security incidents, feedback from participants, and your simulated phishing results.