Cybersecurity Behavior

Improving Cybersecurity Behavior and Culture with Gamified Training

Gamification, rooted in behavioral psychology and game design, leverages our innate love for play and intrinsic motivations, transforming learning into an engaging and effective process.

Since the early 2000s, organizations understood the need to train non-technical staff to handle the risks associated with new technologies. Since then, the attack surface has expanded exponentially, necessitating consistent improvement in training methods.

So, what is the next evolution in security awareness training (SAT)? Gamification.

What is Gamification in Cybersecurity Training?

The human attention span is now lower than ever. This completely transforms how we retain information and change our behaviors. Training and learning methods that have worked in the past are no longer as effective, forcing organizations to rethink their SAT approach.

Enter gamification.

Gamification is the next evolution in cybersecurity training, leveraging interactive and engaging elements to improve learning by making it fun and memorable.

Gamification elements include scoring points, earning badges, and ranking on leaderboards to foster a competitive spirit and a feeling of accomplishment, tapping into fundamental psychological motivators that drive human engagement.

While gamified training is a relatively new concept in the context of cybersecurity, Security Quotient firmly believes that it has the potential to significantly enhance user engagement, retention of information, and, ultimately, the effectiveness of security awareness programs.

Perhaps the best example of how gamification can accelerate learning is the popular language-learning app Duolingo, which uses elements like points, badges, and in-app rewards to keep users engaged and motivated. The app has helped thousands improve their language skills and consistently ranks as the most effective in its category.

How Gamification Motivates the Workforce

One of the main benefits of gamification is its ability to motivate the workforce. And this motivation doesn’t originate from fear of a potential devastating cyberattack. Instead, it’s grounded in friendly competition elements such as leaderboards and achievement badges.

Let’s face it, no matter how serious cyber threats are nowadays, the average employee will rarely think about them on a daily basis or prioritize cybersecurity practices without a direct incentive. Gamification introduces an engaging way to keep these important issues top of mind, encouraging proactive behavior through a more relatable and interactive approach.

Creating a Gamified Training Program

1

Define your objectives

2

Select the right gamification elements
  • Points: Award points for completing tasks or challenges.
  • Badges: Provide badges for specific achievements.
  • Leaderboards: Use leaderboards to foster healthy competition.
  • Levels: Design levels that learners can progress through as they master content.
  • Challenges: Incorporate challenges or missions to complete.
  • Feedback: Offer immediate feedback through scores, progress bars, or other indicators.

3

Design engaging content

4

Integrate social elements

5

Test and improve

Final thoughts

While traditional training lays the foundation, it often struggles to fully engage participants or drive lasting behavioral change. Gamification, rooted in behavioral psychology and game design, leverages our innate love for play and intrinsic motivations, transforming learning into an engaging and effective process.

Yet, gamification isn’t a universal fix; it demands meticulous planning, customization, and continuous adjustment to truly connect with varied audiences and keep pace with the dynamic nature of cybersecurity. The key lies in balancing enjoyment with educational value, ensuring the training not only captivates but also comprehensively prepares individuals to confidently face security challenges.

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