Threats such as phishing attacks and ransomware are becoming ever more sophisticated. And with an increasing number of people working from home, often beyond the confines of a company-monitored network, cyber security awareness is more important now than ever. Businesses need to do all they can to ensure end-users (employees and often clients as well) are properly trained in online safety. As such, cyber security awareness training has become a must-have for organizations of all shapes and sizes.
Indeed, the global market for cyber security awareness training is worth around $1 billion annually and is growing at a rate of about 13 percent each year. Of course, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to training employees. There are a huge number of companies offering training courses that vary greatly in scope, delivery method, and price. Some are one-time courses, whereas others offer ongoing support which, of course, comes with proportionate costs. Ultimately, it’s important to find the best fit for your unique business.
In this article, we reveal our top recommendations for cyber security awareness courses. These offer everything from free training accessible to anyone to full-fledged integrated systems that provide ongoing training and analysis. If you’re just looking for a brief rundown of what’s available, here’s an at-a-glance look at our featured programs.
Best Cyber Security Awareness Courses:
- Guardz EDITOR’S CHOICE This cloud platform provides security scanning for endpoints, email systems, and cloud data stores and it also offers a user awareness training program with phishing simulations. Get a 14-day free trial.
- Cofense Online Security Awareness Training: Choose a free program or a premium platform with a suite of addons.
- KnowBe4 Kevin Mitnick Security Awareness Training: Awareness and compliance training plus interactive games.
- Webroot Security Awareness Training: Short, easy-to-follow courses plus phishing simulations.
- CybSafe Borderless Security Awareness: Personalized program that uses intelligent technology.
- ESET Cybersecurity Awareness Training: Free and budget-friendly options but no ongoing support.
- Elevate Behavioral Security Platform: Game-based training focused on changing human behavior.
Although not every course meets all of the following criteria, these are the factors we considered when making our selections:
- Covers the most relevant topics
- Is kept up to date
- Offers easily accessible delivery methods
- Provides interactive features such as phishing simulations
- Can be intuitively managed
- Offers good value for money
Guardz is a platform of security monitoring services that scans emails and protects endpoints and cloud data stores. The package is delivered from the cloud and includes an Employee Awareness Training unit.
The Guardz Employee Awareness Training service provides a library of training courses. Each course is implemented with multiple videos. The platform enables the system administrator to allocate a course to one or many employees.
The users can learn at their own pace. However, a team manager can specify a deadline for course completion. The users don’t have to sit through all of the videos in one sitting and can choose when to play each video.
The videos are stored on the cloud and accessed through any standard browser, which gives each user access to an account. The activities of each account are recorded in the central management console.
An administrator is able to see how far each user has got through a course and if the course has been allocated to a team, the dashboard shows how many of them have completed the full series of videos.
Guardz doesn’t have a very large library of training courses but this is because the platform isn’t primarily a training system. It is a cybersecurity package and the awareness training is just one element of that. All plans include a Phishing Simulator, which enables a system administrator to send test emails to users to ensure that they have absorbed training and can identify cons.
Once a user has completed a course and passed the phishing challenges, the system administrator can turn on the security protection, which will block most phishing attempts. However, con artists always try to find channels that work around security and so users will never be protected 100 percent.
Price: There are three plans available:
- Starter For 1 – 99 users at $9 per user per month
- Pro For 100 + users with more features at $5 per user per month
- Ultimate A managed security service, which is priced by negotiation
You can get a 14-day free trial to assess the Guardz system.
Guardz is our top pick for a cybersecurity awareness course because it is delivered in the context of a full cybersecurity protection package. Thus, the training can be delivered within the security platform, which is accessible through any standard Web browser. The awareness training imparts best working practices for employees that ensure no slip-ups will occur in the event that a con artist works out a way to circumnavigate the company security offered by the Guardz platform. An example of how such a security breach could occur would be if a scammer managed to track down an employee on a social media platform and opened contact there.
Official Site: https://guardz.com/free_trial
Cofense offers a range of security awareness training products so packages can be tailored to suit any business. There’s even a free course if you’re on a really tight budget.
CBFree is the no-cost program and is ideal for businesses that can’t stretch to paid courses. The training is made up of 17 awareness modules, including topics such as business email compromise, ransomware, mobile devices, and physical security.
In addition, there are four compliance modules, covering healthcare (for example, HIPAA and HITECH), payment data, personal data, and GDPR. Plus, you get five interactive learning games including a phishing resiliency quiz and reporting exercise.
Each module is around five minutes and includes an optional interactive question and answer section. Cofense has all the bases covered here, so although it’s a short program, employees will get a solid all-around view of cyber security awareness.
Cofense’s core paid program is Cofense PhishMe. This is a phishing simulation designed to provide ongoing learning for employees and change their behavior toward phishing attacks. The company builds on this by offering a suite of add-ons to enhance the program. These include Cofense Reporter, which makes reporting phishing emails as simple as clicking a button, and Cofense Phishing Defense Center, which will analyze user-reported emails.
Many of Cofense’s courses are available in multiple languages.
Price: You’ll need to contact Cofense directly for a full quote, but pricing for Cofense PhishMe starts at around $10 per user per year.
KnowBe4 offers a comprehensive training solution suitable for businesses of all sizes. The program begins with baseline phishing simulation testing to determine the level of awareness of users. Once the “Phish-prone percentage” is determined, training commences, including interactive courses, games, and videos.
Unlimited phishing attacks are built into the program by way of KnowBe4’s highly-regarded phishing simulator. There is a smart component, which means that training and simulations are tailored to each employee’s behavior. Comprehensive reports make the system easy to manage and help to prove its ROI.
One of the allures of the KnowBe4 program is that it’s overseen by Kevin Mitnick. Mitnick is a prominent white-hat hacker who rose to infamy when he was the FBI’s most wanted hacker in the ‘90s. Mitnick now runs his own cybersecurity consulting firm (Mitnick Security Consulting) and acts as KnowBe4’s “Chief Hacking Officer.”
Various tiers of the program are offered: Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond. Which one you choose will depend on how many additional features you require including training level, support tier, and features like smart groups and reporting APIs.
Price: Prices start at $8 per user per year for larger organizations. But for very small businesses (25-50 employees), prices start at $17 per user per year.
Webroot’s cyber security awareness training is designed for businesses that want to ensure all end users (including employees and clients) are doing all they can to ensure the company’s online security.
Standout features of the course delivery include a setup wizard, simulated phishing campaigns, regulatory compliance training, individual participation tracking, and shareable reports.
The Webroot training comprises 90 courses in total that fall into four categories: security, compliance, IT skills, and business skills. Topics covered include social engineering attacks such as phishing, how to spot malware behaviors, effective reporting of threats, policies and best practices, regulation compliance (for example, GDPR and HIPAA), and lots more.
Price: Webroot is offering a free 60-day trial for up to 50 users. You can get a price quote by contacting the sales team directly.
CybSafe is another highly-regarded name in the cyber security awareness training business. Although this is a UK-based company, it offers solutions to businesses across the globe. The cloud-based infrastructure is scalable to businesses of any size.
In its marketing, CybSafe emphasizes that its solutions aren’t your average training courses. Rather, the focus is on changing user behavior through intelligent technology. The most prominent feature is that training is highly personalized. Exercises including refresher tests, activity reminders, and phishing simulations are all tailored based on data points related to the individual user.
The training comprises four main hubs which you can purchase separately or as a discounted bundle:
- Awareness Hub: This houses the core security awareness training as well as awareness tools and up-to-date security news and on-demand advice.
- Behaviour Change Hub: This is where the simulations and personalized interventions come into play. This hub also includes goal settings for security habits and a risk analysis of security behaviors.
- Culture Hub: Use this hub to assess the security culture and analyze the sentiment of the organization, and gain insights at the user level.
- Managed Service Hub: You can add this hub if you want greater control over planning and development. You’ll also get enhanced support, for example, assistance with user onboarding, and comprehensive progress reports.
Price: Example prices for 101–250 users (per user per year) start at $7.53 for the Culture Hub, $19.38 for the Behaviour Change Hub, $15.61 for the Awareness Hub, and $34.02 if you bundle all three. Example pricing is not provided for the Managed Service Hub.
If you’re on a smaller budget and happy with a static program instead of ongoing training, then ESET’s offering could be a good fit. Its basic version is completely free and the premium option forgoes the monthly subscription model in favor of a low one-time payment.
ESET’s free version gives you a fully online cyber security awareness course as well as training in best practices for remote workers. The latter is particularly valuable given the potentially long-term seismic shift to remote work we’re seeing as a result of the pandemic. The course covers the most relevant topics including phishing, email safety, password security, two-factor authentication, general internet safety, and malware.
The premium option provides a more comprehensive service to provoke real behavioral change. It includes interactive games, a dashboard for monitoring user progress, and email reminders to help users stay on track. A certification and LinkedIn badge is also included.
Onboarding and use of this program is very straightforward, so it’s ideal for businesses seeking a no-fuss training solution.
Price: The basic training course is free while the premium option costs $20 per user per year (for a minimum of 10 users).
One thing that makes Elevate Security’s offering stand out from the crowd is that its cyber security awareness program is the company’s sole product. This means it puts all its focus into ensuring it offers a refined, up-to-date training tool.
This is evident when you see the program dashboard. It’s very easy to use and allows administrators to see a comprehensive overview of the entire organization. This is particularly useful for businesses trying to see where their weakest links are.
The program has two main components. “Insights” is the dashboard which allows you to test users’ via phishing simulations and view performance on a detailed security map.
The “Influence” component focuses on changing user behavior through interactive games and personalized scorecards. Users can view individual performance and undergo tailored training. The gaming aspect makes for some fun, friendly competition to help inspire users to excel.
Price: You’ll need to contact the Elevate Security team directly to get a quote tailored to your business.
Cybersecurity awareness course FAQs
What is a cybersecurity awareness course?
A cybersecurity awareness course is a type of educational program that teaches individuals about computer security and safety basics. These courses aim to help people understand how to protect themselves and their information online. Often, these programs are offered by universities or colleges, but they can also be found through private companies or organizations.
Does a cybersecurity awareness course help you get a job?
While a cybersecurity awareness course may not guarantee a job, it can help prepare you for employment in the field. These courses often cover topics such as risk management, computer forensics, and ethical hacking. By becoming familiar with these concepts, you can make yourself more attractive to potential employers.
What are the benefits of taking a cyber security awareness course?
In the digital world we live in, cyber threats are becoming more and more common. Taking a cybersecurity awareness course can really make a difference. Let’s dive into some of the great benefits:
- Understanding Cyber Threats: These courses help you learn about different kinds of cyber threats, like phishing, malware, ransomware, and social engineering attacks. Knowing about these threats is the first step in keeping yourself and your organization safe.
- Preventing Data Breaches: By learning about cybersecurity best practices, you can help prevent data breaches. This is especially important for businesses, because breaches can lead to financial losses, reputation damage, and legal consequences.
- Protecting Personal Information: These courses teach you how to keep your personal information safe online. This is more important than ever, since so much of our personal information is stored digitally.
- Following Regulations: Many industries have regulations that require businesses to protect their data. A cybersecurity awareness course can help ensure you follow these regulations.
- Advancing Your Career: If you work in IT or data management, having cybersecurity awareness can make you a more competitive candidate for jobs and promotions. It’s a valuable skill that lots of employers are looking for.
- Creating a Cybersecure Culture: Training employees in cybersecurity awareness is super important for businesses to create a security culture. Employees are often the first line of defense against cyber threats, so by making sure they have the knowledge they need, you can really improve your organization’s overall security.
So, as you can see, a cybersecurity awareness course is really valuable. It can give you the knowledge and skills you need to protect yourself and your organization from cyber attacks.