Hoxhunt Training. PHOTO: Cybercrime Magazine.

How Does Employee Security Engagement Training Transform Your Defense Strategy?

Human-first and hyper-personalized

Mika Aalto, CEO at Hoxhunt

Helsinki, Finland – Mar. 31, 2020

If you are a security professional, you must be concerned about your employees falling to social engineering attacks. As a forward-thinking security expert, you’ve most likely tried to tackle the human-risk factor of your security. By now, you may have noticed that security awareness training does not deliver the desired results, such as involving as many of your employees as possible so that they would learn to protect your organization better by reporting all threats.

Employee training can work, if done correctly, in reducing human risk. I will explain to you how. 

Tackling Human Risk Has Never Been So Important

The more customers we meet, the more often we hear from CISOs that attacks do not target their technology defenses. We are always keen to hear when a lot of them share with me that they know they must invest in employee training to minimize the chance of a data breach.

Usually, employees are careless. It’s not ignorance from their side. Simply, they have just never been taught to be concerned. That is something social engineers are well aware of, and they use it for their advantage.

One employee can take the wrong action, and it can have a severe impact. While you cannot hold the hand of all your employees, you can find the right training for them that can significantly lower the chances of a breach.

What’s the Trouble With Security Awareness?

Awareness means that your employees have knowledge or perception of the existing attacks out there. But awareness does not guarantee that they have the skills to take the right action.

Let’s assume that you are investing in a security awareness tool, and you phish your employees frequently.

Is it frequent enough to make people remember and learn?

Do people want to participate?

Do you focus on teaching them to report everything suspicious that they encounter?

If you didn’t answer ‘yes’ to each of these questions, I would suggest an alternative for you.

What is Security Engagement?

Security engagement is a form of security training that focuses on engaging the employees constantly so that they learn to identify threats by simulating real-life attack types. Using continuous simulations will teach users to report actual threats so that the security teams can have valuable information and visibility into risks, and they can plan an incident response and mitigation more adequately.

How will security engagement help your company to be more secure?

Why Companies Move from Security Awareness to Security Engagement Training

Companies that decided to move away from security awareness realized that the training was broken. Instead of preaching awareness and meeting compliance, pioneering organizations wanted to make their employees an active part of their defense strategy.

To involve people and help them care about security, they realized that they need to engage people fully so that they can genuinely help them to fight off attacks.

Security engagement training goes further than awareness: while it makes people aware of threats, it also makes them constantly question whether something is off when they receive an email. When employees are involved in the safekeeping of your assets, you will have a robust line of defense.

You may ask, what does security engagement training do differently?

Human-First & Hyper-Personalized

Security engagement training embraces the needs of the employee. At Hoxhunt, we understand that the training needs to be tailored to the individual.

Just think of it for a moment: all people learn differently. Some people need more simulations, others want a more challenging training. The security engagement platform caters to the different levels of people by adjusting the level of training to match individual skills.

Training should also vary based on other factors, such as language, territory, department, role, and time spent in training or in the organization. These are all factors that should be considered when you want your employees to participate in your training.


Personalizing and humanizing training has a vital role in catching more people’s interest.

When we developed Hoxhunt, we thought that there should be a secret sauce as to why people would truly want to participate in security training. We knew that people love to compete with each other, so why not gamify our approach?

The fun factor of the training makes it engaging for many. Using gamification theory to motivate people to partake in training will result in a higher participation rate and more people who can learn to recognize threats through the simulations — thus, they would learn to report not just the simulations, but also real-life threats.

Like in many other fields in life, you see better results using a positive approach instead of punishment.

Behavior Change

When our customers use Hoxhunt security engagement training for employee education, their end goal is to achieve sustained behavior change. The simulation would teach people that no matter what, they need to report everything through the Hoxhunt plug-in to the security team. It’s better to report a false alarm than not to report something that was dangerous that could have helped to prevent an attack.

Measurable Impact

You should be able to measure that you are on the right path towards improving your defense strategy by minimizing the human risk.

There are a couple of things you should measure and monitor closely.

You want to have a high activity rate, meaning that as many onboarded users as possible participate. The more people report, the higher your reporting rates will be. High reporting rates will give you exceptional visibility into threats that pass your email filters so that you can plan your incident response better.

Continually following the failure rate will show you whether your employees are getting better at recognizing threats.

Security Engagement Training Has a Transformational Effect

Employees love security engagement training because they feel like it is personalized for them and that it’s also fun. This training teaches them to recognize threats frequently, within seconds, without interrupting their workflow.

Security teams have been adopting it at an exceptional rate because it can help them do a better job at defenses by reducing human risk. Security teams can truly engage the employees, and people often give them great feedback. They want to help their defense work, and they can build a better security culture together with their workmates, with the common goal of protecting the company from the bad guys.

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Mika Aalto is CEO at Hoxhunt

Sponsored by Hoxhunt

Our mission at Hoxhunt is to enable everyone to protect themselves from cybercrime. We want you to be able to protect yourself, your family and your company.

To this date, changing employee behavior to a secure one has been incredibly hard. Organizations have tried pushing information to their employees in classrooms and in e-learning solutions. They’ve tested the results of these awareness campaigns with phishing tools and penetration tests, giving extra training only when an employee fails. While some of these methods are great for other purposes — like e-learning is for regulatory compliance. The actual results in changing employee behavior to a more cyber-secure point out otherwise, the traditional methods to patch the human component do not work.

That is why we built Hoxhunt. We want to turn employees from a company’s weakest link into the strongest asset against cyber attacks. Our gamified platform trains employees against phishing attacks in a fun and engaging way.