The 20 Best Security Awareness Training Topics For 2024

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Sebastian Salla Last Updated: July 10, 2024

If one thing is for sure, it's that cyber security is constantly changing. You think you understand it one day, but the next, it can seem like everything has changed.

The unfortunate side-effect is that employees have a difficult job when it comes to remaining cyber-safe. Cybercriminals are always coming up with new and innovative techniques to social engineer employees. Because of this looming threat, it's crucial to ensure that employees are trained against a variety of security-related topics that are relevant to their day-to-day work.

To help with this, we'll showcase the twenty best security awareness training topics for employee training in 2024. But before we do that, let's briefly recap what security awareness training is.

Jump To The #1 Security Awareness Training Topic Of 2024

What You'll Learn In This Article.

  • What security awareness training is and why it's important.
  • What the most popular security awareness training topics are.
  • How to structure training topics so employees receive beginner-level training first.
  • What you should consider before assigning training to employees.

What Is Security Awareness Training?

It's a training exercise where employees are educated on various cyber security best practices.

Because cyber security is such a large domain, security awareness training is commonly broken into bite-sized topics, where instead of overwhelming an employee on all things cyber security, we focus on what's important to them, which could be just a subset of topics.

The Best Security Awareness Training Topics

Now, let's get into what we're all actually here for. The training topics below have been carefully curated, reflecting the most pressing and relevant security challenges of 2024.

#20 Small Business Best Practices

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Small businesses are frequent targets for cybercriminals because they often lack the robust security measures that larger corporations have.

Cybersecurity training helps employees recognize and respond to potential threats, reducing the risk of costly data breaches and attacks.

In this training, employees will learn:

  • How to identify and respond to phishing attacks: Learn to recognize common phishing tactics that target small businesses and understand the critical importance of verifying the authenticity of requests that involve sensitive actions or information.
  • Why it's crucial to regularly update devices: Discover why keeping your business devices updated with the latest security patches is essential to protect against vulnerabilities that could be exploited.
  • How to strengthen acount security: Gain insights into best practices for managing business logins.
  • Data security and backup best practices: Understand the importance of regular data backups and how off-site storage can be a lifesaver for small businesses, protecting critical information against cyber incidents, damage, or loss.

#19 Defense In Depth Training

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The concept of in-depth defense is fundamental to creating a resilient security posture that protects against a wide range of cyber threats. This multi-layered defense strategy is essential for organizations of all sizes as it minimizes the impact of an attack by ensuring that other security measures are in place, even if one defense fails.

Learning about defense in depth equips individuals with strategies to build comprehensive security systems that protect valuable data assets continuously.

Here's what employees will learn in this training module:

  • What is defense in depth? Understand the concept of layered security measures and how they protect organizations from cyber threats.
  • How can multiple layers enhance security? Learn why having multiple security layers—like locks, alarms, and vigilant monitoring—creates a tougher barrier for cybercriminals.
  • What practical steps can you take to implement this strategy? Discover actionable security practices such as recognizing phishing attempts, using strong passwords, enabling multi-factor authentication, keeping software updated, and managing sensitive data securely.

#18 Smishing (SMS Phishing) Training

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In today's smartphone dominated world, the distinction between personal and work devices is increasingly blurred, heightening the risks associated with smishing attacks.

These deceptive SMS messages are crafted to exploit this overlap, targeting individuals to gain access to sensitive corporate data through personal communication channels. Training on smishing awareness is therefore critical.

This training increases your defensive posture and reduces the threat of smishing to your organization. Here's what it consists of:

  • What is Smishing? Understand the mechanics of SMS phishing, where cybercriminals use deceptive text messages to extract personal information, steal money, or distribute malware.
  • Why are smishing attacks effective? Learn how the directness and perceived urgency of SMS messages, especially those impersonating banks or official agencies, make smishing particularly dangerous and effective.
  • How can you protect yourself against smishing? Discover essential practices for identifying suspicious messages, handling unexpected requests, and verifying sender authenticity to protect yourself from falling victim to these scams.

#17 Vishing (Voice Phishing) Training

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Vishing attacks manipulate human interactions to steal confidential information, making it a particularly insidious form of social engineering.

The importance of vishing awareness training lies in its ability to equip individuals with the skills to identify and thwart these voice-based phishing attempts. Learning about vishing is critical to protect against identity theft, financial fraud, and unauthorized access to personal or corporate data.

In this training, employees will uncover the deception that is vishing. Here's what they will learn:

  • What is vishing? Learn the ins and outs of vishing, a cyber threat that combines voice communication and social engineering to deceive individuals into divulging sensitive information.
  • What are common vishing techniques? Discover the various techniques used by vishers, including Caller ID spoofing, ghost calls, robocalls, and the use of AI for voice impersonation, and understand how these tactics can manipulate recipients.
  • How can you protect yourself against vishing? Gain insights on how to effectively safeguard yourself and your organization from vishing attacks by staying wary of unsolicited calls, scrutinizing caller authenticity, and maintaining a critical mindset towards the urgency and plausibility of the information shared over phone calls.

#16 Social Media Scam Training

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The expansive reach and deeply integrated nature of social media into daily life make it a prime target for scams.

Social media scam training is essential because it teaches users how to navigate these platforms safely, recognizing and avoiding scams that could lead to personal or financial harm. As social media evolves, so do the threats, making continuous education on new scamming techniques vital for secure online interactions.

In the training, we'll uncover some real-world examples of social media scams and explore:

  • What are social media scams? Understand the different types of scams prevalent on social media platforms, from fake giveaways to impersonation and phishing attempts.
  • How do scammers exploit social media? Learn about the tactics scammers use to manipulate users, including creating fake profiles and utilizing sophisticated social engineering techniques.
  • How can you protect yourself on social media? Gain valuable strategies to identify and avoid social media scams, such as verifying account authenticity, understanding privacy settings, and recognizing the signs of fraudulent activities.

#15 Web 3.0 & Blockchain Training

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We stand at the cusp of a digital revolution with the advent of Web 3.0. This exciting phase, marked by decentralization and enhanced user empowerment, signals a significant leap in how we interact with the internet.

Focusing on Web 3.0 training is crucial, as it equips us with the knowledge and skills to navigate and safeguard our interactions in this new, decentralized online environment.

In this training, employees will learn about Web 3.0, including:

  • What is Web 3.0? Understanding the evolution from static pages (Web 1.0) and interactive experiences (Web 2.0) to a decentralized web.
  • The role of blockchain in Web 3.0. How technologies like blockchain contribute to security, transparency, and user control in Web 3.0.
  • Implications for cyber security. Web 3.0's decentralized nature fundamentally alters cyber security dynamics, necessitating new strategies to protect against unique vulnerabilities and attacks. Organizations must focus on advanced encryption, smart contract security, and decentralized identity management as data becomes more distributed.
  • What are the future trends in Web 3.0? Exploring how AI, IoT, and other technologies will shape the future of the internet.

#14 Secure Credit Card Handling

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The digital economy hinges on secure transactions, with credit card handling being a critical component.

In this training, employees learn about secure credit card handling practices including:

  • What is secure credit card handling? Ensuring all credit card transactions are processed, stored, and transmitted securely.
  • What is PCI-DSS compliance? PCI-DSS is a comprehensive set of security standards established by the payment card industry. It ensures that businesses maintain a secure environment when handling credit card data.
  • What steps can you take to align with the PCI-DSS framework? Accept credit cards securely, pausing call recordings as needed. Store details in PCI-DSS systems, not on physical notes, and dispose of unneeded information via shredding or deletion.

#13 Privacy Awareness Training

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In today's data-driven world, privacy is not just a compliance requirement but a cornerstone of consumer trust and brand integrity.

In this training, employees learn the crucial elements of privacy, such as:

  • What is privacy awareness? It's understanding the importance of handling personal and sensitive data responsibly.
  • Do laws and regulations govern privacy awareness? Yes, privacy awareness is governed by laws and regulations like the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which mandate responsible management of personal data and protect against misuse, ensuring organizations comply to maintain customer trust and avoid legal penalties.
  • What are the best practices for data privacy? Techniques like data minimization, encryption, and secure data storage.
  • Who is responsible for maintaining privacy? Every employee has a role in maintaining privacy, particularly those who handle personal data as part of their job.

#12 Secure Software Development Training

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Software is the backbone of modern business operations. As reliance on software increases, the need for secure software development increases.

In this training, the essential aspects of secure software development are covered, including:

  • What is a secure software development? Secure coding practices involve validating user input and implementing secure authentication, password and session management, and access controls.
  • What is Threat Modelling in application development? Threat Modelling identifies potential threats, vulnerabilities, and risks at the beginning of app development, including hacker attacks, website weaknesses, and their impact.
  • What compliance frameworks exist? Developers must ensure compliance with frameworks like CIS Benchmarks and NIST Frameworks.
  • Why is collaboration and testing important? A collaborative approach to software development enhances the software's quality, security, and effectiveness.

#11 Using Artificial Intelligence Securely Training

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not just a futuristic concept; it's a present-day reality transforming and maximizing how we interact with technology.

As AI integrates deeper into our daily tasks, from personal assistants to complex data analysis, understanding the impacts on security becomes essential.

In this training, employees learn about various insider threat subject matter, including:

  • What is Artificial Intelligence? AI involves machines learning from data to perform tasks that require human intelligence.
  • How does AI impact cyber security? AI has the potential to enhance security, but conversely, it can also be harnessed for malicious purposes, ranging from widescale attacks to the generation of AI-driven content, such as deepfakes, which can be employed to manipulate and deceive.
  • The ethical considerations in AI. Understanding the importance of using AI responsibly, especially regarding privacy and data protection.
  • Emerging real-world applications of AI. Learning how AI is used in various industries for automation, predictive analysis, and enhancing customer experiences.

#10 Insider Threat Training

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Insider threats can be the most dangerous type of threat out there. These are trusted individuals who abuse their position of trust with malicious intent.

In this training, employees learn about various insider threat subject matter, including:

  • What is an insider threat? Any employee or trusted individual who has access or knowledge of a business's inner workings and intends to maliciously abuse this access or knowledge.
  • What motivates an insider threat? Various factors can motivate insider threats, including personal gain, financial incentives, revenge, ideological beliefs, coercion, and curiosity.
  • How can you protect against insider threats? By trusting your instincts, classifying documents, and fostering a culture of security.
  • Why are insider threats so dangerous? They have intrinsic knowledge or access that can allow them to inflict serious harm on a business that an external attacker may not otherwise be able to do.

#9 Situational Awareness Training

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Ever had a gut feeling that proved to be correct? This is what situational awareness is all about.

Situational awareness can apply to all aspects of an employee's work, from walking around the office to browsing the Internet to commuting home with work equipment.

In this training, employees learn about various situational awareness subject matter, including:

  • What is situational awareness? It’s the understanding of when and where to look for potential threats with the ability to use this knowledge to make informed decisions.
  • Why is situational awareness important? It can empower people to remain confident in their abilities to stay cyber-safe.
  • How can you increase situational awareness? By staying vigilant against phishing, staying informed of threats, and securing physical devices.
  • How situational awareness can detect threats. Awareness of one's surroundings can equip them to quickly detect and recognize suspicious activity.

#8 Device Security Training

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On any given day, employees could use a myriad of devices such as mobile phones, laptops, desktop computers, server infrastructure, printers, etc.

Ensuring we handle these devices safely and securely is paramount.

In this training, employees learn about a variety of device security subject matter, including:

  • What is device security? It's all about protecting devices such as computers, smartphones, and other Internet-connected devices from threats.
  • How do we secure devices from physical access? Lock devices when not in use, protect devices from theft, and use privacy screens.
  • Can we protect devices against malware? Install antivirus software, keep devices up to date, and learn to spot the phish.
  • What types of devices need protection? Smart home devices, IoT devices, and networking equipment such as routers and switches need to be protected.

#7 Remote Working Training

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Remote working training is only becoming more and more popular.

During the COVID pandemic, many businesses were suddenly thrust into a remote working environment. Ensuring employees can work both remotely and securely is a two-way endeavor. Businesses need to ensure that remote workers have the necessary tools and equipment, while employees need to ensure they follow industry best practices for securing their remote working environment.

In this training, employees learn about a variety of remote working subject matter, including:

  • Remote working arrangements. How do you enjoy the benefits of flexible work while also doing so securely?
  • Creating a secure workplace. Choose a secure location, protect your devices, and encrypt your traffic.
  • Remote communication best practices. Use consistent communication methods that offer end-to-end encryption.
  • Work travel best practices. Avoid public Wi-Fi networks, and always use a VPN if you must use one.
  • Mobile device best practices. Enable screen locks, patch regularly and backup your data regularly.

#6 Physical Security Awareness Training

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Whether employees are in the office, working from home, or working from a library, a lack of physical security can have significant consequences if physical devices are stolen or compromised.

In this training, employees learn a variety of physical security subject matter, such as:

  • What is physical security? It's all about protecting people and physical assets from physical threats.
  • How can someone protect themselves? Through a mixture of perimeter security, access controls, and surveillance, you can protect against physical threats.
  • What's needed to get started? Operationalizing physical security controls requires documented policies and procedures.
  • Are there any privacy, liability, or cyber security considerations? Implementing certain protection mechanisms may have unforeseen impacts on other areas of concern.

#5 Multi-Factor Authentication Training

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Multi-factor authentication is a technology that's been growing exponentially in popularity over recent years. It helps to protect businesses against a wide variety of cyber attacks and provides assurances that the person logging into a service is who they say they are.

In this training, employees learn about a variety of multi-factor authentication subject matter, such as:

  • What is multi-factor authentication? It's an authentication mechanism where users need to enter two or more different types of authentication credentials before gaining access to a system or resource.
  • What types of multi-factor authentication are there? Something you know (e.g., a password), something you have (e.g., a physical one-time-password token), and something you are (e.g., fingerprint).
  • Why is multi-factor authentication important? To mitigate against Cybercriminals compromising accounts through abuse of password brute-forcing or purchasing password dumps on the dark web.

#4 Secure Internet Browsing Training

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To ensure businesses are primed to take full advantage of the benefits that the Internet provides, we need to ensure that employees can remain safe and secure while accessing it.

In this training, employees learn about several secure Internet browsing practices, such as:

  • What does it mean to browse the Internet securely? It's taking steps to ensure your personal and sensitive information is protected while using the Internet.
  • How can you practice secure Internet browsing? By using unique passwords, avoiding suspicious emails and websites, and by using up-to-date antivirus software.
  • The types of online fraud. Internet fraud typically involves credit cards, malware, or stolen credentials.
  • Using a secure web browser. Web browsers should detect websites associated with phishing and malware, provide ad-blocking measures, and implement encryption.

#3 Cyber Security Awareness Training

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Cyber security is often viewed as a complex and ever-evolving topic. While this is true in some respects, there are a variety of easy-to-learn fundamentals that every employee should know.

In this training, employees learn about various cyber security concepts, such as:

  • What is cyber security? It's the practice of protecting computer systems from digital attacks, theft, and other forms of malicious damage.
  • What types of cyber attacks are there? At a high level, cyber attacks can be bundled into phishing, malware, and denial of service attacks.
  • How can you protect against cyber attacks? By implementing a defense-in-depth approach to ensure employees know how to detect and prevent cyber breaches.
  • Why is cyber security important? It helps to protect against financial loss, reputational damage, and other negative consequences associated with cyber attacks.

#2 Ransomware Awareness Training

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Coming in at a close #2, ransomware is a threat that worries every executive!

These attacks are designed to extort companies out of their hard-earned revenue. In some cases, the effects of these attacks have even put companies out of business.

In this training, employees learn about a variety of ransomware-related subject matter, such as:

  • What is ransomware? It's a type of software that maliciously encrypts files and demands a ransom.
  • Why should we care about ransomware? Ransomware is growing in popularity and can cause serious disruptions to business operations.
  • How do cybercriminals spread ransomware? Through a combination of social engineering and exploitation of system vulnerabilities.
  • How can we prevent ransomware? Keep systems up-to-date with security patches, understand how to spot phishing, and maintain system backups.
  • How can we recover from ransomware? Before restoring from backups, ensure the Cybercriminals have been removed from your environment.

#1 Phishing Awareness Training

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It's no surprise that this is the most popular topic!

Phishing is a threat that every business is facing, and with such a reliance on communication protocols such as email and SMS, it's only becoming more popular!

In this training, employees learn about a variety of phishing-related subject matter, such as:

  • What is phishing? It's a type of social engineering attack commonly used to steal sensitive information, compromise computer networks, or directly steal money.
  • What should you do if you receive phishing? Report the email to your IT or Security team for analysis.
  • Why is phishing so common? Phishing is viewed by attackers as low effort, highly effective and low risk.
  • How can you spot phishing attacks? Look out for spoofed sender addresses, urgent subjects, requests for personal information or requests to perform an action.

Tip: Couple phishing simulations with phishing awareness training to reinforce education from this training topic!


There you have it! That concludes the 20 most popular security awareness training topics.

While choosing popular topics to train employees on is important, it's not the only thing you should consider. We additionally recommend following these simple best practices when kickstarting your employee training program:

  • Keep things short and simple. Training should be delivered in ten minutes or less.
  • Only educate employees on cyber security topics that relate to their day-to-day work.
  • Focus on the positive, not the negative. Fear tactics can inhibit productivity.
  • Train progressively and consistently. The mind is a muscle that is best trained over time.

If you're looking to get started, you can create a free account to access the CanIPhish Cloud Platform. We provide a fully functioning phishing simulator and eLearning platform to train employees against dozens of different cyber security topics.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Niche Topics That Employees Should Be Trained On?

Depending on the industry or geographic region that your company operates in, there can be a variety of supplemental topics that your employees should be trained on. For example, if your employees handle credit card information, then it would be a safe bet to conduct regular training on secure credit card handling.

What Is The Recommended Learning Pathway For New Starters?

It’s recommended to take employees through a structured learning pathway where beginner-level training is assigned first to help employees build their fundamental knowledge of cyber security. Once this fundamental knowledge is obtained, then more difficult training topics can be assigned. For example, phishing awareness, ransomware awareness, and cyber security awareness would all be considered beginner-level topics, whilst situational awareness and insider threat training would be considered advanced.

Should Employees Ever Receive The Same Training More Than Once?

Yes. The brain is a muscle that slowly forgets things if it isn’t frequently reminded. For example, ransomware is a threat that many businesses face, but individual employees may only come across a ransomware threat once every few months. Because of this, employees will slowly forget what ransomware threats look like until they eventually fall victim to them, even though they were previously trained on them.

To counteract this, we recommend that training topics be re-assigned once a year, so the knowledge is kept front-of-mind and relevant to any recent changes.

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Written by

Sebastian Salla

A Security Professional who loves all things related to Cloud and Email Security.