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SANS Security Awareness Report Highlights the Rising Era of Awareness Training

2019 Report reveals deeper insights based on industry and peer feedback, putting a growing emphasis on the need for skilled awareness professionals and training programs.

  • Bethesda, MD
  • July 16, 2019

SANS Security Awareness, the global leader in providing security awareness training, and a division of SANS Institute, announced they have released the 2019 Security Awareness Report. In its fifth consecutive year, this annual report entitled "The Rising Era of Awareness Training" builds on findings from previous years and zeroes in on the primary issues faced by security awareness professionals: a lack of resources, leadership support, and job role ambiguity.

 “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.”

The intention of the SANS Security Awareness Report is to provide security awareness professionals with a roadmap to make data-driven decisions on how to improve their security awareness programs. It also provides professionals with the ability to benchmark their programs against their industry peers. Essentially, it works to more definitively answer the question of what ingredients go into making a security awareness program successful. This year, data was analyzed from nearly 1,600 respondents providing even greater insight into how to benchmark and mature a security awareness program.

Working with researchers from The Kogod Cybersecurity Governance Center (KCGC), an initiative of American University's Kogod School of Business (KSB), the survey data was examined in detail to provide information on:

  • Common challenges holding back program maturity - lack of time and staffing were among the top reported roadblocks facing awareness professionals.
  • Achieving leadership support and program buy-in – industry peer pressure was found to have a distinctive role in determining whether leadership treats security awareness training as a top priority.
  • The growing need to create more concrete job roles and expectations within the security awareness training realm - less than 10% of the respondents reported their job titles even included the words ‘awareness’ or ‘training’ in them.

This report highlights these growing concerns and challenges for security awareness. It also utilizes the SANS Security Awareness Maturity Model as a guide to identify an organization's level of a program's impact and how to measure human risk and change end-user behavior. This model, which has been revamped in this year’s report, provides organizations with the ability to easily identify where their security awareness program is currently at, where a qualified leader can take it, and it even outlines the path to get them to where they want to be.

For more detailed analysis and recommended action on improving an awareness strategy, the 2019 SANS Security Awareness Report is available for download here:

About SANS Security Awareness

SANS Security Awareness, a division of the SANS Institute, provides organizations with a complete and comprehensive security awareness solution, enabling them to easily and effectively manage their ‘human’ cyber security risk. SANS Security Awareness has worked with over 1,300 organizations and trained over 6.5 million people around the world. Security awareness training content is translated into over 30 languages and built by a global network of the world’s most knowledgeable cyber security experts. SANS Security Awareness content and training is world-class and available to a global audience. The SANS Security Awareness program includes everything security awareness officers need to simply and effectively build a best-in-class security awareness program. For more information about training programs, please visit: https://www.sans.org/security-awareness-training/products

About SANS Institute

The SANS Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. SANS is the most trusted and, by far, the largest provider of cyber security training and certification to professionals at governments and commercial institutions world-wide. Renowned SANS instructors teach over 60 different courses at more than 200 live cyber security training events as well as online. GIAC, an affiliate of the SANS Institute, validates a practitioner's qualifications via over 35 hands-on, technical certifications in cyber security. The SANS Technology Institute, a regionally accredited independent subsidiary, offers master's degrees in cyber security. SANS offers a myriad of free resources to the InfoSec community including consensus projects, research reports, and newsletters; it also operates the Internet's early warning system—the Internet Storm Center. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners, representing varied global organizations from corporations to universities, working together to help the entire information security community. (https://www.sans.org)