Almost every organization today uses software and strict policies to safeguard their data. But, this isn't enough, says Verizon's 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report. Because an organization's biggest security vulnerabilities lie within the walls. It is the employees who are the biggest gap in an organization's security wall. IBM once reported that “over 95% of all security incidents investigated recognize ‘human error’ as a contributing factor.” In other words, it all started because of poor decisions and actions from end users.
Many companies spend millions of dollars to protect themselves against a fray of external cybersecurity threats but neglect the internal risk and exposure created by their own employees. And yes, some technology investments have sought to prevent such incidents by replacing bad behavior and human decisions with AI and Machine Learning systems. But, these innovations still have some ways to go.
But luckily, employees again can be an organization’s best defense against security breaches. And the best way to achieve this is to institute a company-wide security awareness initiative. AwareGO, founded by Mr. Ragnar Sigurdsson and his wife Mrs. Helga Steinthorsdottir, provide training materials in the form of short and inspiring security awareness videos to help inform an organization’s employees of the possible dangers. Mr. Sigurdsson started the company with the intent to spread awareness about security risks to people inside an organization, who he found were the weakest links while he was a penetration tester back in 2003-2007.
The Company – A Quick Look
Mr. Sigurdsson started off by using PowerPoint presentations to teach employees about security. However, he soon realized that these programs failed to grab the attention it needed, as it was “very boring”. The Sigurdsson couple thought about “better ways to get the message across”, and, of course, they did –they named it AwareGO. The duo created short and effective training materials for “maximum impact in minimum time”. Because, “you cannot afford to let training get in the way of your employee productivity,” the company argues.
The Iceland-based startup, AwareGO, has clients ranging from small businesses to enterprise-level organizations spread across a variety of different industries. Their clientele also includes a few from the world’s most renowned banking institutions. The startup even launched a learning management solution (LMS) recently, for small and medium businesses. Formed by a small team of 11, AwareGO plans to maintain the flat hierarchy to withhold morale and employee satisfaction. “It works very well for us and demands that every employee can work independently within a preset frame but not be afraid to ask for help from anyone else in the company,” Mr. Sigurdsson said.
Like many customer-obsessed organizations, “Listen to Your Customers” is also AwareGO’s success mantra. “Our customers help us improve our content and make it more relevant,” added the CEO. But, at the same time, AwareGO even listens to its employees while giving them a chance to express their ideas and feedbacks in meetings the CEO refers to as the ‘OKR meetings’ (Objects and Key Results). Such programs, the CEO says, enables employees to be more empowered and the company to be more responsive, creating the competitive edge it needs to adapt and thrive.
Why Choose AwareGO?
AwareGO equips organizations of all sizes with tools they need to train their employees to keep sensitive data safe and secure. They work fast and create relevant, high-quality videos addressing the latest threats that are of utmost importance. But these aren’t the only reasons that would drive firms towards AwareGO. Here are a few others–
Marketing Awareness – AwareGO borrows from the masters of advertising and uses short story-driven videos to drive home employee security awareness training. “The best way to make memorable messages is using the same format marketing people have mastered – Advertisements. Some people need regular reminders, because, if they do the wrong thing, they ruin things for a lot of other people,” Mr. Sigurdsson says.
Easy LMS integration – AwareGO’s training videos can be easily integrated into any Learning Management Systems. The team even helps organizations that lack LMS setup one from scratch with the help of its trusted partners. “For smaller companies, we offer a free Learning Management System to deploy and audit results of campaigns,” the founder added.
Compliance qualified – AwareGO’s security awareness training is 100% compliant with all the necessary regulations and standards including GDPR, ISO27001, and PCI-DSS.
Always Up-To-Date – AwareGO ensures that their clients stay updated with training on all the relevant and recent cybersecurity risks. They also generate at least 2 new videos every month, constantly covering emerging security threats.
Additional materials – The videos come with short texts for introduction and to further drive home their key learning points. Post training, they also come up with questions suitable for testing the employees’ awareness level.
Multiple languages support – AwareGO’s training videos are in English by default and the team is already working on including support for multiple languages like German, French, Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and more.
Customizable training – AwareGO also specializes in delivering the content in the training videos fully customized based on each client’s specific requisites. Along with these, AwareGO and its team aims for the larger corporations and plans to develop a platform-agnostic ‘Viewer’ that can be easily integrated into an organization’s software – be it an LMS, SharePoint, Facebook workplace or anything else, the CEO added. The company also aims to embed multiple languages support into the Viewer to easily switch between voiceover and subtitle languages.
Ragnar Sigurdsson, the Self-Made Man
Ragnar Sigurdsson – Co-Founder, and CEO of AwareGO – has a background in training, system administration, and white hat hacking. He has always been an entrepreneur at heart, at 18 years he started the first youth hostel in his town, bought a few mattresses and rented the local elementary school for 5 summers. At long night shift, he self-studied system administration and started working as a system administrator and teaching Microsoft and CompTIA courses.
In 2003 he became a Certified Information System Security Professional CISSP and a Certified Ethical Hacker shortly after that. Mr. Sigurdsson also was a Graphics Designer at Adstod before he established AwareGO.
“The occasional sprinkle of humor in our videos helps us grab users’ interest, hold their attention and drive the message home.”