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95% of hacks and data leaks are caused by human error. Here’s why gaming is the solution.

No matter how much businesses invest in cyber security software, 95% of all hacks and data breaches are still caused by human error.

It only takes one out of a thousand colleagues to click the wrong link for your customer’s data to be out in the open. This can cause both your company’s image and bank account to take hits it may never recover from. A devastating 60% of small businesses shut down within six months of a cyber attack.

The solution? Train your staff.

But most companies have no security awareness program in place, and many of those that do offer yearly e-learning courses (i.e. boring PDFs and Powerpoint slides) or long-winded in-person classes.

Having been in the cyber security space for over five years, we’ve learned that both approaches are deeply flawed. Research shows that 90%(!) of learnings are forgotten within a week, leaving your business vulnerable to cyber threats even after training. Let alone what happens when you don’t offer security awareness training at all.

This left us wondering: “Shouldn’t there be a more recurring, engaging and effective way to train cyber awareness?”

We couldn’t find one, so eventually we built it ourselves.

In this article, we’ll share the story of how and why we created Guardey and why gamification is the ideal solution to prevent businesses from getting hacked.

Our early experience with cyber security

Before starting Guardey, myself and co-founder Anouk worked together for over 5 years on a cyber security solution for the consumer market: GOOSE VPN.

GOOSE VPN does what the name suggests. It’s a VPN that enables over 200.000 users worldwide to safely browse the internet.

Over time, more and more of our customers started to ask for a solution that would work for their smaller or mid-sized businesses. According to them, the current offer of solutions simply weren’t cutting it. Their websites were targeted to IT professionals and their products were complex and difficult to implement. Aside from that, we found that most solutions didn’t offer sufficient cyber awareness training.

With 43% of all cyber crime currently targeted on SMBs, this struck us as a huge problem.

To solve this, we built Guardey to offer SMB businesses the same safety as the big corporations.

Why we developed a cyber awareness game

Guardey offers a business VPN and a monitoring and detection solution with a cyber alarm that recognises threats and notifies users about them. But since 95% of hacks and data leaks happen due to errors by people instead of software, we knew we had to specifically focus on cyber awareness too.

After studying the current offer of cyber awareness solutions available, we found that in order for our solution to be effective, it had to be:

  • Used regularly
  • Engaging
  • Up-to-date

We quickly realised we had to focus on gamification. Earlier in my career I co-founded a company that offered training solutions in the maritime and offshore sector. People in this sector only got training once every four years, even though these trainings were incredibly important to help them perform their jobs safely.

That’s when we discovered the effectiveness of recurring trainings with gamification and successfully implemented it. And when we learned about the need for better security awareness training, we knew using gamification would be just as effective.

Here’s what makes our security awareness game so effective:

Weekly challenges

Most companies that train their employees do so with a yearly course. This requires the employees to take in a lot of information in a short time period. Most of the learnings are completely forgotten after a few months.

Guardey’s solution is based on gamification. With weekly challenges, the user gets to slowly build their knowledge. Because they spend a couple of minutes every week doing it, the information is retained better.

Learning curve Guardey

The first couple of challenges start off with the basics. As the weeks pass, the questions increase in difficulty. As time progresses, the user becomes better equipped to recognise suspicious activities and act accordingly.

Entertainment, competition, and rewards

One of the biggest benefits of gamification is how it makes learning more engaging. It keeps the learning objectives exactly the same but makes the process of learning more fun.

In our game, the user starts their own fictional company. When they score points in the game, their company makes money. If they lose points, their fictional company loses money and its reputation gets a blow.

Each user can see how they are doing in the leaderboard. Here, they can compare themselves to the rest of their company and even the rest of the world.

To increase engagement even further, companies can decide to incentivise their users by rewarding their best performers with prizes.

In Guardey’s learning management system (LMS), administrators can see what the effect of the training is. The data shown helps them understand which topics got low scores and need more attention. They can also learn how much time is spent on the training and how the average knowledge level is growing.

With this data, you can also prove that you adhere to the norms of ISO27001 and GDPR, which both require your employees to get security awareness training.

Up-to-date learnings

The world of cyber security is fast-paced. Hackers constantly come up with new ways to break into companies. When this happens, companies need to be educated ASAP instead of having to wait until the next yearly course. In the game, urgent topics are simply added to the upcoming weekly challenge.

We are currently working on a feature that enables administrators to add their own questions to an upcoming weekly challenge. Has your company been dealing with phishing attempts? Simply add questions about it to the upcoming challenge to make sure the entire organisation is aware.

Cheaper than a cup of coffee

There’s a famous quote by Richard Clarke that goes: “If you spend more on coffee than on cyber security, you will be hacked.”

We agree with Clarke, but also understand the situation many businesses are in. Budgets are tight and yet another solution can simply be too much for the average SMB.

That’s why – in our mission to make cyber awareness accessible for all businesses – we decided to make our solution cheaper than a cup of coffee. For €3.33 (10 cents a day), you can train an employee to improve their cyber awareness.

Avoid hacks and data breaches

We believe we’ve built a game that will help you to make your organisation security aware. The combination of repetition, entertainment, competition, and relevancy enable your team to maintain a high level of awareness and decrease the chances of a data breach.

Don’t let hackers outsmart you. Try Guardey free for 14 days

Frequently Asked Questions

I already have a firewall, do I still need Guardey?

Relying solely on a firewall for cyber security leaves your organization vulnerable to evolving and sophisticated threats. Cyber attacks target multiple vectors, including vulnerabilities in software, employee endpoints and web applications. Guardey works in conjunction with the firewall.

Firewalls keep out up to 80% of online risks. With Guardey, it is transparent which online risks did make it through the firewall. In addition, human errors are still too often made, so also train employees to work responsibly online.

I already have a VPN, do I still need Guardey?

It’s good that you are already using a VPN. This makes you invisible to malicious people, but at the end of the day, employees can still be vulnerable by bringing in the wrong orders or wrong websites.

Guardey is more than a business VPN. Guardey also provides monitoring in the VPN tunnel. This detects online risks and allows a quick response.

We are too busy for weekly gamification. Why should I play the gamification?

These days we are all busy, we recognise that 😉 All the more important is employee awareness. Make sure employees don’t accidentally make mistakes due to pressure. After all, that only creates extra work.

That’s why our challenges are only a maximum of 5 minutes and can be done quickly in between. A new challenge becomes available every week. As an organisation, do you want to play these challenges every week, every two weeks or every month? Of course, that’s no problem either.

Can I also play just the gamification?

Short answer: yes! It is possible to play just the gamification.

Have you already taken sufficient cyber security measures for your employees in the office and outside the office? But can awareness still be worked on? Then you can also play just the gamification. This can already be done very easily in just the browser. Check out our game only package here.

Is Guardey effective against phishing attempts?

Phishing is especially dangerous when you don’t know you’re dealing with phishing. That’s why our cyber awarness game is the first step against phishing. Make people aware of the dangers and make sure they have the right knowledge so they don’t click on anything.

Further Guardey plays a crucial role in detecting suspicious online activities. For instance, if a member of your organization interacts with a website known for hosting phishing content, Guardey will promptly alert you about the potential risk. By providing this proactive alert system, Guardey aids in preventing users within your organization from falling prey to phishing scams.

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Anouk ter Harmsel

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