September 11, 2023. | Cybersecurity, Data security

The 5 key pillars of cyber security training success

Cyber criminals are using increasingly sophisticated tactics to gain access to their targets’ IT systems, but their most common, and most successful route, is still through an organization’s unsuspecting employees.

Team members often inadvertently provide access by being duped into sharing login credentials. It is for this reason that good quality staff training plays a vital, but frequently overlooked role in any organization’s cyber security efforts.

For companies operating in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), cyber security training is one of the key aspects highlighted in the Dubai Financial Services Authority’s (DFSA) Cyber Risk Management Guidelines, as an important way to manage risk.

In this article, Penta’s cyber security expert Mohammad Hammoudeh shares his 5 key pillars of success for effective internal cyber security training:

1. Invest in high-quality training

Cyber criminals are becoming ever more sophisticated in how they select and target companies. However, the biggest attack vector remains through the company’s employees, often using the most basic tricks and tactics. The most sophisticated cyber defenses money can buy can be defeated by your own staff carelessly giving away information. All businesses have pressure on funds with different departments competing for a slice of the budget, but given the potential losses to a company in the event of a successful attack, the argument for investment in solid cyber security training is very strong.

2. Use a reputable training company

It can be tempting to use your own internal IT teams to carry out the required training programs. After all, they know your systems inside out. However, even though this approach can be cost-effective, I would always recommend employing the services of an experienced training company whose trainers have experience with the latest threats and appropriate countermeasures.

3. Cyber security training is an ongoing effort

Sadly, a one-off training session is unlikely to be sufficient in the face of an ongoing and ever-evolving threat. Regular refresher sessions and reminders of good practices over emails or system pop-ups are a good way to keep cyber security principles top of mind.

4. Simulated attacks keep everyone on their toes

Getting a reputable company to assess your cyber security by simulating an attack is an effective way to identify potential weaknesses. This gives you the chance to plug any gaps before genuine attackers get the opportunity to exploit them.

5. Empower teams to recognize and report potential threats

Company employees are very often the first target for attackers trying to exploit your cyber security defenses. They are also your first and most important line of defense. Training them to spot suspicious activity, empowering them to take action, and taking them seriously when things are reported are powerful weapons in your fight against cyber criminals. Train people well and trust their instincts.


Unfortunately, cyber attacks are a real and growing threat to every organization. Given the potential consequences to companies in terms of lost revenue and damage to reputation from a successful attack, it’s wise to use every available means to avoid, repel and mitigate a security breach. One of the most effective ways of doing that is to train teams to recognize threats and act accordingly. Prevention is always better than cure so an investment in cyber security training pays off.

If your company operates under the jurisdiction of the DFSA, click here to download a copy of Penta’s DFSA Compliance Roadmap for 2023

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