Employee Training Blog

Cybersecurity: Fighting the forgetting curve

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

If I named 10 items of my grocery list right now, how long do you think you’d remember them? Well, let me tell you, not very long. Without review, 90 percent of what we learn, is forgotten within 30 days. Even 20 mins later, we already lost 40 percent of what we’re taught. The same goes for cybersecurity training. Initial training to keep people aware of possible cyber threats is great. However, it seems pointless if the majority of acquired knowledge is lost within one month. But then, how do you make people remember?

The graph below, called the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, is a good example of how (badly) we retain information. The bad news: it’s steeper than you may think. The good news: there are strategies you can use to improve your memory. Repetition, for example, is one of them. In a nutshell – the more frequently you repeat something, the more likely it’s to stick.


One-time training VS continuous learning

Continuous learning (aka repetition) is proven to be fár more effective than just a one-time training. Something Hermann Ebbinghaus already figured out back in 1885. “…with any considerable number of repetitions a suitable distribution of them over a space of time is decidedly advantageous. This, compared to the massing of them at a single time.” Unlike a one-time training, repetitively sharing small chunks of information creates permanent knowledge. Seeing that 95 percent of cyber security breaches are caused by human error, it might not be such a bad idea to remind your staff members on a regular basis. You can repeat threats that are out there, how to recognize them and how to guard themselves against them.

Yes, it works!

At our office we use a similar technique to keep employees on their toes. Small bits of cyber security information are shown over and over again on every screen throughout the building. Whether it’s through our screensaver, digital signage screens or corporate app. We remind staff members on the daily of anything cyber security related. With great success. Now, people are (luckily) far more cautious when it comes to clicking email links, opening attachments or spread sensitive information.

Want to experience the effect repetition can have on your cybersecurity? Contact one of our experts now. Or download or free infographic The power of repetition, we’re happy to discuss how the power of repetition can help your organization.

Linda van Oppen

Linda is Netpresenter's Head of Operations. Her mission is to bring out the best in every organization by making new employees feel at home and trained. According to Linda, you are doing well when employee satisfaction and performance have increased.