12:36 PM

Security Talk: 7 Ways To Make Users Listen

Zeus reboot underscores the fundamental cause of many security breaches: Human error. Here's how to keep users listening when you talk security.

4. Get Out From Behind The Help Desk.

Sometimes, you need to get in front of people and, you know, actually talk to them. It's tougher to tune out security training when it's face-to-face. Real security failures make for good subject matter here. "Ask for five minutes in team and department meetings to share real-life incidents -- while also asking for feedback to encourage better communication between business and IT," Ulery said.

5. Attack Your Own Employees.

OK, don't actually attack anyone. But simulating phishing scams and similar threats is a great way to identify and bolster weaknesses in your security programs and policies.

"Proactively engage employees in poor security behavior by sending out phishing -type emails that end up taking the employee to an immediate, two-minute training session if they click on the link," Ulery said. "Generate reports on who actually clicks the link [and retrain those users]."

Likewise, don't forget about the phone scams. Ulery recommends that IT pros periodically call employees and, under some non-IT persona, ask them to give out passwords and other sensitive information over the phone. Retrain staffers who fork over their credentials.

6. Test Your Call Center.

"If you have a call center that handles customer data, regularly test the processes and interactions by having employees call into the center and test their response," Ulery advised. In fact, you need not run a full-blown call center to run a similar program. Periodically test any employees with access that handle customer information across channels -- phone, email, Web, and so on. You might consider similar training for other employees and departments that handles sensitive information, such as finance.

7. Reward Good Behavior.

Don't just play the role of ominous Big Brother; highlight positive security habits and offer a little incentive for good behavior. One example: "Send Starbucks gift cards to employees who refuse to share their password as a reward for being diligent on security," Ulery said. The reward is ultimately up to you. If your company is already applying gamification elsewhere in the organization, consider its possibilities as a security awareness tool.

Finally, although redundancy is a good thing in security training, don't confuse it with boredom or desensitization. "Through all of these efforts, insure that the message is regularly changed so employees do not end up having a blind spot for the message," Ulery said.

Got your own tips and tricks for keeping users safe and secure? Share them in our comments section below.

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User Rank: Apprentice
10/3/2013 | 7:12:13 PM
re: Security Talk: 7 Ways To Make Users Listen
Using flash-based games as a training tool - when properly hosted on your internal network - can be an effective way to reinforce messaging. It is also important to incorporate an engaging "story" and strong "teachable moments" as part of the game.
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