The 2019 Security Awareness Report published by SANS Security Awareness, a division of SANS Institute, found that across many organizations, there is an increased emphasis on the need for awareness and training programs.
According to the report, more than 75% of those who are currently responsible for security awareness and training are spending less than half of their time on employee education programs.
“The implication is that awareness is simply mounted on to their other job requirements. This is the largest single factor limiting the growth and maturity of programs,” the report said.
Though awareness professionals often bring more dynamic skills to their technical roles, the lack of candidates who possess the much needed soft skills of communication and marketing hinders the organization’s ability to build a program that truly engages employees.
Among the nearly 1,600 respondents who participated in the study, those who reported having programs that are effectively changing employee behavior have at least two full-time employees dedicated to awareness and training.
“While there is a general tendency to isolate individual employees as the cause of security-related issues, the data within the report demonstrates that addressing an organization’s human cyber risk is best handled by making consistent systemic training investments. This report examines the most effective steps to address them, enabling you to benchmark your awareness program against your peers and other organizations,” the report said.
The report did find that the number of organizations with no program at all has decreased over the last two years, falling from 7.6% to 4.3% and indicating a slow but steady shift toward success.
“I’m absolutely thrilled about the release of the 2019 Security Awareness Report,” says SANS security awareness director Lance Spitzner. “Every year we are able to gain a better understanding of the most common challenges awareness professionals face and how to best address them, and after five years we are beginning to identify key trends.”