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Be Aware: 8 Tips for Security Awareness Training
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Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
9/30/2014 | 1:49:35 PM
Re: Be Aware: 8 Tips for Security Awareness Training
@SecOpsSpecialist. My guess is that the warning is more general. Tell users that they will tested by an attack, but not be specific as to timing and the nature of the attack. I suspect, even with such warning, users will fall victm, and a serious lesson will be learned.
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2014 | 1:37:11 PM
Re: Good, practical advice on security awareness training
In my experience, there is one technique I use that is guaranteed to catch everyone's attention, and I use it close to the beginning of any talk regarding security. I take a recent breach of a big name retailer, one that has stores in the area, and talk about how that possibly affected them in their personal lives. This always results in a lively discussion. Then I simply relate that to our work environment, and how often, the retailer breach was a result of a social engineering attack on a user. I tell them that not only can the breach expose customer data, but it can potentially expose employee data as well. Then I ask them how comfortable they would be about the possibility that their PII, stored on our HR and payroll applications, gets stolen. In actuality, this is true of any company breach - once in, the intruder can potentially harvest any information they want. In addition, I also talk about social media, how our organization is active in that space, and what kind of activities is acceptable and relevant to our organizational goals. I also tie that to their personal lives; to the kind of activities are safe and are considered good practices not just for themselves, but also for their family. Once again, lively discussion follows. Believe me; they have many takeaways - both for the company and for themselves as well. This shows them that awareness training is not just some mundane "rules and consequences" talk that they are forced to attend, but an informational session that increases their value to the organization and provides added value in their personal computing activities outside of work. You won't believe how often I get thanked for delivering that information to them, and how many follow-ups I get, sometimes weeks or months afterwards, asking for more information and advice, and about how they have changed their computing behavior at home and at work as a result of the session. Let's face it - if the training session is all about work, it can become boring very quickly, and material retention will drop. Interspersing personal impacts breaks the monotony and causes them to pay closer attention to the training, thereby increasing material retention, and more importantly, results in active discussions of the training message.
User Rank: Moderator
9/30/2014 | 12:38:41 PM
Re: Be Aware: 8 Tips for Security Awareness Training
As a security professional, I do believe it's necessary for those who are trying to get Security to be the forefront of everyone's mind to take a gander at this article. It has some great insight. I would, though, disagree with the point on number 6 where it says to "notify users before a launch of an attack". If they know an attack is coming, they will be more likely to avoid doing what they are being tested on which makes the attack moot.

However, as a security trainer for an organization, I'm very much aware of these tips and currently am putting these into production. I host a variety of training sessions, all tailored to specific needs of specific areas and it has proven to be more effective than just a blanket security program. Posters are also good material to have around the workplace as well because it brings attention to things that we as Security folk would think about and know, but the average user wouldn't necessarily understand.

As an additional tip for those who are trying to craft a Security Awareness program, Computer-Based Training is a great way to meet compliance, but don't stop there. Have someone meet with the people, do department-based training sessions, hold learning luncheons for people to come, sit, ask questions etc. When people feel like they can approach Security staff with questions, it becomes easier for the staff to do their job.

Definitely finding someone who can be the "cheerleader" so-to-speak in other areas helps immensely because if Security staff don't have support, as it says "everything falls to deaf ears".
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2014 | 8:42:29 AM
Re: Good, practical advice on security awareness training
This is good advice. At my institution, we have security awareness training at orientation. Not anything too granular but it establishes a consistent thought process that security needs to be adhered to because there are possible implications if it is not. 

I think similar to software development, security awareness training needs to be engrained at each step. This way it does not become noise to people and is dismissed at the first mention of the word. Its beneficial for people to have security compliment their functionality not thrust upon them. I feel that a few of the tips held that message for the article.
Marilyn Cohodas
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
9/30/2014 | 7:57:16 AM
Good, practical advice on security awareness training
These are excellent tips, Sara, all very actionable.  Your tip  -- Tailor Message To Different Audiences -- is something that I haven't seen discussed or practiced all that often, though it makes perfect sense that different messages will be effective to different audiences. This is a fun slideshow with a lot of meat to it. I hope readers will add their security awareness training tips and best practices in the comments...
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