SANS Security Awareness has been working to bring you an entirely updated EndUser Security Training Program. New materials have been added, our instructional designers, cognitive learning professionals and security awareness experts have been hard at work to provide your organization with a training program that will easily allow you to continually train learners throughout the year.

Building on a Tiered Methodology

These materials are based on our Tiered Training Strategy – a roadmap of training that allows security trainers the opportunity to introduce and remind learners about various security concepts throughout the year. As learners become more proficient, they approach a new tier, or level of complexity to encourage adopting and exhibiting secure behaviors. We use The Retention Model to build on training concepts. See below:

retention model

Our security awareness expert, Lance Spitzner has long spoken about the value of teaching security concepts with repeated exposure, citing the BJ Fogg model. I won’t get into that here, you can read the post for yourself, but the long and short of it is:

If you want to effectively manage your human risk, you need to first focus on as few behaviors as possible, and make those behaviors simple.

Based on that, with the help of the smart folks on the SANS Security Awareness team, we’ve put together a complete training strategy, and filled it by updating our 2018 EndUser security core modules and then designing new materials to encourage learners throughout the training program to adopt those new behaviors.


2018 Updates to EndUser Video Modules

Last year we updated our EndUser modules by modernizing the look and feel, this year’s update introduced Expert Introductions and made our animations more engaging. The graphics and animations balance the need to keep the learner interested and learning, while at the same time, not being overly complex or distracting. We then went back to scrutinize our messaging and language – and updated that to reflect the current threats and issues.

Additionally, we’ve added even more languages to our existing translation base so that all learners, no matter where they are in the world, can easily understand core security concepts.

2017 2018 cyber bad guy


New Hires are Important

A new employee has to juggle the tasks of fitting into the company, learning their new job while hopefully exhibiting secure behavior on day 1.  If you ask a new person what’s the most important thing to think about on their first day, most likely they won’t say “I need to make sure I create a good secure password.”  This is why we’ve created our New Employee module to help engage new folks in your organization from day 1; setting the right security expectations and mindset can help prevent turning a small mistake into a costly error.

Micro-Learning Has Value

Did you know that a human’s initial attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish? It didn’t used to be that way, but technology has changed us – and as a result our focus is much shorter than it used to be.

Lance Spitzner SANS Institute

We all know that security awareness training may not sound exciting for end users, and, combined with the fact that we all have short attention spans, we came to the reasoning that very short, micro learning tidbits has value in security awareness training.

Our new Micro Videos, enable security awareness trainers to teach in micro moments, outside of regularly scheduled module training. They cover topics covered in the modules to aid in reinforcement of correct behaviors. Needless to say we’re pretty excited to make them available to you.

Behavior Adoption is Easy – with the Experts

Of course, if you know of SANS, you know how committed we are in getting the highest quality of security training education from the world’s leading experts. You can check out the backgrounds of some of our experts (LINK to Our Experts) to see the breadth and depth of experience these folks have.

To lean into this more fully, SANS Security Awareness has added Expert Intros to introduce learners to new security concepts before a training module. These expert videos were created again, to encourage memory and retention, and to aid in capturing the attention of short-attention spans.

New Support Materials

7 signs of phishing

Last, but not least, we’ve added more support materials. Posters, infographics, media – all the materials you need to make you successful in your training program. Some of the highlights:

  • New posters and print-worthy media.
  • Interactive modules – situation-based videos that present learners with various questions that they must self-navigate through to get a score.
  • Mini-games – nothing says engagement like a learning game.
  • New Assessments – to gauge learner’s comprehension of various security concepts.

I hope you are as excited as I am about this new release. We have more good things coming this year – so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you’d like to see a demo of all the new content in action, please feel free to email us at SecurityAwareness@sans.org.