In the ever-evolving landscape of the digital world, where technology empowers us, it also exposes us to unprecedented risks. Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) like myself work hard to fortify organizations against cyber threats. One of the essential tools in our arsenal is cybersecurity awareness and education—a shield forged not just to protect, but to empower. 

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is an internationally recognized campaign held each October to help the public and organizations learn more about the importance of cyber security. The campaign is designed to help people stay secure online by raising awareness of the vast threat landscape and teaching them simple steps to protect themselves, their information and technology. Pivotree is proud to do our part.


Cybersecurity Depends on People

The genesis of cybersecurity awareness and education can be traced back to the realization that technology alone cannot guarantee safety. The most advanced security technology is futile if the human element—the end user—is not equipped to navigate the digital landscape securely. There is an urgent need to bridge the gap between technological defenses and human vulnerabilities. 

While it is important for an organization’s people to follow protocol to prevent breaches, we must develop additional safeguards that defend our systems even when human errors take place. As many as 88% of data breaches are caused by human errors. This number makes it clear that with the right systems in place, these breaches are preventable. 


Cybersecurity Awareness is Key

In the digital age, information is power. From sensitive corporate data to personal information, the stakes are higher than ever. Data has become one of the most valuable commodities on the planet. For organizations, the consequences of a cybersecurity breach are not confined to financial losses, though these can be substantial. Reputational damage, loss of customer trust, operational interruption, and legal ramifications can cripple an organization. Cybersecurity awareness serves as an insurance policy against these existential threats. A well-informed workforce is the first line of defense. And this is where something like Cybersecurity Awareness Month serves as a great platform to build resilience internally. 

“Cybersecurity awareness is not just about recognizing phishing emails or creating strong passwords; it is about cultivating a culture of vigilance, where every employee becomes a cyber sentinel.”


Doing Better: A Continuous Journey

While many organizations have embraced cybersecurity awareness programs, doing better is a continuous journey. I support an approach that goes beyond the annual compliance checkbox. Regular and engaging training sessions, simulated cyber-attacks, and real-time updates on emerging threats keep employees on their toes.

It’s also important to emphasize the importance of tailoring educational initiatives to different roles within an organization. What might be relevant for a developer might not resonate with a sales executive. Customized training ensures that every employee understands the specific threats they might encounter in their day-to-day activities.


Collaboration and Communication: The Cornerstones of Cybersecurity Education

The need for collaboration and communication cannot be over emphasized. It’s not just the responsibility of the Information Security or IT teams;  it’s a collective effort. Building a culture where employees feel comfortable reporting potential security incidents without fear of reprisal is crucial.

At Pivotree we use all our internal communication channels, our intranet, email, Slack and Zoom channels, to make cybersecurity education more engaging and memorable. It’s important that we demystify the jargon and translate complex concepts into relatable scenarios, fostering a sense of collective responsibility.


Empowering Individuals

Cybersecurity education is not just about instilling fear of cyber threats; it’s about empowering individuals. Understanding the “why” behind security practices makes employees more likely to adhere to them. By fostering a sense of personal responsibility, we help create a workforce that views cybersecurity not as a burden but as an essential life skill.

The importance of cybersecurity awareness and education cannot be overstated. It is not a one-time investment but an ongoing commitment to staying ahead of the ever-evolving threat landscape. By empowering individuals, fostering a culture of collaboration, and embracing innovative educational approaches, organizations can build a formidable defense against cyber threats. In the digital age, knowledge is power, and cybersecurity education is the key to wielding it responsibly.

by: Shaunna Jackson, CISO and Vice President Cybersecurity, Pivotree

About Pivotree: Pivotree designs, builds, and manages frictionless commerce experiences for brands and their customers around the world. We provide end-to-end solutions and services in Commerce, Data Management, and Supply Chain for hundreds of brands globally.


1. How does cybersecurity awareness training evolve beyond recognizing phishing emails and creating strong passwords to encompass a broader culture of vigilance within organizations, and what specific strategies can be implemented to foster this culture effectively?

Cybersecurity awareness training evolves by emphasizing the cultivation of a culture of vigilance within organizations. This goes beyond merely recognizing phishing emails or creating strong passwords. Strategies involve instilling a deep understanding of the importance of cybersecurity among employees, fostering a mindset where every individual feels responsible for protecting organizational assets. To foster this culture effectively, organizations can implement regular and engaging training sessions, conduct simulated cyber-attacks to test employees’ responses, and provide real-time updates on emerging threats. By promoting a collective sense of ownership and vigilance, organizations can enhance their resilience against cyber threats.

2. What metrics or indicators can organizations use to measure the effectiveness of their cybersecurity awareness programs beyond simple compliance checkboxes, and how can they ensure continuous improvement in educating employees about emerging cyber threats?

Organizations can measure the effectiveness of their cybersecurity awareness programs using various metrics and indicators that go beyond simple compliance checkboxes. Metrics may include the frequency of reported security incidents, the rate of successful phishing simulations, employee participation and engagement in training sessions, and the time taken to detect and respond to security breaches. Continuous improvement in educating employees about emerging cyber threats can be ensured through regular evaluations of training effectiveness, feedback from participants, and updates to training content based on evolving threat landscapes and industry best practices.

3. In what ways can organizations tailor cybersecurity awareness initiatives to address the diverse needs and roles of their employees, ensuring that training resonates with individuals across various departments and levels of technical expertise within the organization?

To tailor cybersecurity awareness initiatives to address the diverse needs and roles of employees, organizations can adopt a customized approach to training. This involves designing training programs that resonate with individuals across various departments and levels of technical expertise within the organization. For example, developers may require specialized training on secure coding practices, while sales executives may benefit from awareness sessions focused on social engineering tactics. By understanding the specific threats and challenges faced by different roles, organizations can deliver targeted and relevant training content that empowers employees to protect against cyber threats effectively.