A PwC survey on corporate digital IQs found that there’s a disconnect between the skills and technologies that companies say matter most and what they’re investing in. With the rapid increase in emerging technologies disrupting every industry, enterprise leaders are feeling immense pressure to fill the resulting glaring void with employees who can pick up the skills necessary to implement this technology into everyday enterprise tasks. Aside from finding the right people, companies also need to ensure that proper training is in place. However, it’s no secret that a lack of engagement exists between employees and the less-than-awe-inspiring learning programs in use.
Just as I was finishing my tenure as the CSO of Dell, we introduced “Gamification” into our security and ethics training and noticed an uptick in the engagement it engendered amongst our millennials. Given what had been my 20-year “uphill” battle in the space of awareness training, this offered a welcomed glimmer of hope. Now add to that what augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) bring to the field and the prospects get even brighter.
When the phrases AR and VR started being tossed around, many of us could not even fathom how these technologies would impact our lives. Fast forward to today, and these technologies are right in the palms of our hands. AR and VR have opened new doors for innovation and created a more immersive user experience, especially for IT and security teams. While perhaps not the earliest adopters of these technologies, companies are beginning to use AR and VR to their advantage when it comes to providing cybersecurity training to their employees.
How exactly does AR training work? First, let’s break down what AR is in a broader sense. AR allows the user to see the real world with virtual objects superimposed or composited with their reality. Essentially, users can interact with on-screen digital objects within the scope of the physical world they see on a daily basis. Now imagine the use of AR in a corporate training environment. Not only does AR provide employees with a more interactive platform, but one that can be customized to accommodate unique learning needs.
For companies with a multigenerational workforce, this creates a profound opportunity to present their employees with training that is both more relevant and realistic. This is extremely valuable in high-touch industries like the cybersecurity sector, where the skills gap is already an area of concern. With AR, a new employee could be sitting at their desk and have a training system present various cyber threat scenarios through AR glasses, prompting them to identify the issue and solve the problem. It is interactive programs like this that will help employees remain more engaged in their training and generate better results overall.
And it doesn’t stop there. Companies like Inspired eLearning have made it their mission to provide training around security, cybersecurity and compliance with the help of VR. Called Security First Solutions, their product takes data from a multitude of tests and simulations to deliver an immersive training program on the latest and most popular cyber threats like phishing and SMiShing, all behind a VR headset. What’s more, immersive technology is also opening the eyes of young minds and showing them what a career in cybersecurity could entail. Thanks to VR, organizations can use the appeal of visual learning to attract millennials and post-millennials to pursue a career in cybersecurity and work toward closing the cybersecurity skills gap.
While VR and AR have different fortes, both enhance and accelerate experiential learning that can help manifest and reinforce a culture of cybersecurity across industries. It is technology implications like this that will help propel cybersecurity awareness into a state of mass awareness and irrefutable paramountcy.