The Importance of End-User Education in Business

Chances are, you have a solid understanding of the end-users, IT users, and even the “Super-Users” in your organization. End-users are simply a business’s employees that use any of the business’s technology or software programs for doing their job. End-users are different from IT-Users, who are typically your application/network administrators, software developers, computer technicians, and other technical employees–except when they’re using Microsoft 365 or Google G Suite applications or any of the business’s SaaS applications for payroll, benefits, time and attendance, etc. When the IT employees are End-Users, they don’t often require much hand-holding.

As for the non-IT employees who are most always End-Users, there are some who need more access to applications than the business’s typical End-Users, and these also have more skills than most of the other users. These atypical End-Users are your “Super-Users,” and their job descriptions grant them more access to some applications than all other End-Users.

You might think, IT-Users don’t really require any training, and Super-Users maybe every now and then, so End-Users are the only ones who you really need to train. But that isn’t the case: no matter how high the level of proficiency for any users, all of us need to keep up with training because all types of users are at some point End-users. In this guidebook, we’ll outline exactly why you should train your business’s End-Users to take advantage of all they can provide your business.

All Types of Users are End-Users

All of us are End-Users at some point. No user knows everything. Nor, are any users perfect, and none of them are on guard 100% of the time.

I found this example you might enjoy or maybe have even experienced: a Managed Service Provider (MSP) wanted to confirm all their internal users were “practicing what they preached” on how to keep their customers from being caught by a Cryptolocker or Ransomware scam. So, they used Microsoft 365 AIP’s ATP to send a couple of Phishing Test campaigns, and hoped to not have any of their users—who were all “IT-Users”—fall for clicking any of the suspicious links within the Phishing Test email messages. Well, several clicked what they should not have… including the MSP’s security expert!

Their Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) security expert clicked a “See tomorrow’s calendar” link that was anchor-tagged to youhavebeenphished.MSP’s If she’d have looked closely and followed their “SCAMD” rules for email, which tells their customers to check for:

S – Spelling and grammar
C – Confidential information
A – ACL – Attachments Content Links
M – Mass Mailings
D – Details
! – DOES THE EMAIL SCREAM AT YOU IN ALL CAPS or have lots of !!!!!! at the end?

She would have noticed 1) the “m” in tomorrow, was actually “r + n = rn,” and 2) if she’d hovered her mouse over the link, it would have shown “youhavebeenphished.MSP’s” in the status bar of her email client. When they asked the clicker why she clicked the malicious link, she said with all she had implemented within their MSP to protect them from being scammed, she had became complacent.

The point of this example is that no product, on every day, will stop everything—not even one as good as Microsoft 365 AIP with ATP. So, yes, all types of users need End-User training, because all types of users are End-Users at least some of the time.

Most Crucial Training Areas

There are enough technology areas within most every business where if you required all End-Users to complete all offered training for all areas, the business’s employees would do nothing but train from 9-5. Of course, this isn’t realistic. So, each business has to prioritize and place a value on each area where End-Users training exists and could be needed. We’ve compiled this list of the most crucial training areas so you have a solid understanding of what your business should tackle.  There are a few of these that are industry specific, but at least 10 of these classes are needed for all modern businesses.

  1. General Security awareness training with the basics of Credit Card Security
  2. Anti-phishing
  3. CEO fraud
  4. Common threats with varied examples
  5. Importance of creating strong passwords
  6. Financial institution physical security
  7. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  8. Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) for protection of Non-Public Personal Information (NPPI)
  9. Creating Happy Paths for handling sensitive information (Personally Identifiable Information (PII), Protected Health Information (PHI), Credit Card data (PCI DSS)
  10. Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), etc.)
  11. Mobile device security
  12. PCI compliance simplified (with clear examples of specific types of credit card fraud)
  13. General Ransomware and Ransomware for hospitals
  14. Safe web browsing
  15. Social engineering red flags
  16. Defining Happy Paths for all types of digital communications
  17. A gamified assessment designed for post-training QA
  18. And as a summary, your role in all this

End-User Training Benefits

Besides ensuring that your End-Users are well-informed about your business’s technology, there are myriad advantages to investing in your employees’ learning and development. Gartner Research’s “The Justification of IT Training” study acknowledges the importance and impact of training within a business. Gartner Research found that businesses which spend less than 13% of enterprise software project costs on continual End-User training are 3x more likely to fall short of their project and business goals than businesses which spend more than 17%. Gartner Research also uncovered that every hour of effective training is actually worth five hours to the corporation.

In this section, we’ll highlight additional benefits that will help you get everyone on board and reap the rewards of End-User education.

Increasing productivity

After being properly trained, End-Users are less frustrated and confused. When trained in all areas, the End-Users can use the technology they have to use to do their jobs, without getting stuck. This allows them to be far more productive and efficient at work. These IT End-User training classes not only teach skills, but serve as forums for the End-Users to connect the dots, making associations between and common practices within the IT areas. And, during some of these classes, End-Users are able to speak with IT professionals and share ideas with each other on how to use things more efficiently and solve problems that might be common across areas of IT, creating a fabric of understanding that is shared between areas – this is a great way to increase productivity.

Improved ROI on the technology investment

Ultimately, the business experiences improved return on the software and/or hardware investments and a sense of trust in the business’s ability to evolve and model, while also keeping a balance for employee concerns and needs. And, this training of programs/utilities/equipment they use each day helps offset work performance gaps by giving employees knowledge they can apply, instantly. And, with End-Users knowing more about what they are using to do their work, the End-Users spend much less time reviewing a manual to find out how to get their work done.

Empowers End-Users

When the trained employees connect with the practical benefits the skills they have learned, that help them in their work, there’s increased emotional buy-in and a fresh, founded understanding of the technology’s purpose. And, understanding the purpose of what s/he uses every day helps them respect the IT services/equipment they are using. Many businesses that kept their End-Users trained experienced value in this, when their employees had to stop working in one central office and work from home, due to stay-home rules within the pandemic that began in 2020. These trained employees operated with as much or more efficiency than they did working out of a central office. So, for these businesses, keeping their End-Users trained, allowed them to see almost no loss of productivity when they had to have all their employees working remotely, from their homes.

Furthermore, through End-User training, employees feel supported by the business and their resistance toward new technology is reduced. This results in a more technologically capable user base, which can help the business not only better forecast, successfully meeting strategic goals, but be prepared for any changes they need to make to take advantage of new opportunities.

Maintain your business’s compliance

End-User compliance training is mandated by legislation, regulation, and/or policies. It exists to educate your End-Users on laws and regulations applicable to your city, state, country, or maybe even industry. As data privacy regulations and protection laws gain ground, it’s wise for companies to establish compliance training to ensure proper governance within a business. HIPAA and OSHA are two regulations where many businesses have to always remain in compliance, and require training on a regular basis.

Our recommendation

Increased productivity, improved ROI, empowered employees, less resistance, reduced errors, and maintained compliance?  Yes, this sounds nearly too good to be true, but is what End-User training does for businesses! And, you achieve all these End-User training benefits by knowing your business, your employees, your goals, and developing an End-User training approach that is sensitive to all of those needs.

Our recommendation is for you to outsource your End-User IT to a qualified MSP/MSSP. Using the MSP’s End-User Managed IT stacks, differences between End-User devices are minimized, and variables End-Users can affect are seriously reduced. This cuts the End-User training many times by more than 75%. The End-Users can focus on doing the work that is in their job description, and not having to worry about administration of their desktops, notebooks, printers, scanners, file sharing, etc. And, the MSP will also provide much of the still required IT End-User training at a fraction of the cost of having a professional IT training service train your End-Users. We also recommend the MSP/MSSP to be closely partnered with a company that provides proper Anti-Phish training such as highly-respected resource like KnowBe4 or IRONSCALES, where they train you… and your End-Users on all the areas that can help your business not be brought down by Phishing attacks. And make sure to choose an MSP/MSSP that offers Virtual CIO (vCIO) meetings each quarter or at least twice a year, so you can always stay on the same page in making sure your End-Users are trained and you’re taking care of your business.

Get Started with Fuse.Cloud

The Jackson, Mississippi-based MSP/MSSP we recommend is our one and only Fuse.Cloud, which not only has a proven record for providing Voice and connectivity services for hundreds of customers, but offers: proven IT End-User training; a close partnership with KnowBe4 for Anti-Phish training; value added wholesale reseller relationships with Microsoft, Google, Cisco, and others; Managed Networking; Firewall Services; Desktop/Server stack solutions for protecting your infrastructure; and Fuse.Cloud offers 24x7x365 support.

Ready to tackle End-user education in your business? Contact us today and let’s discuss how we can hit the ground running.

Written by Kevin Crothers, Fuse.Cloud Director of Strategic Partnerships

March 25, 2021

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