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Be Aware: 8 Tips for Security Awareness Training
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Marilyn Cohodas
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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...
RyanSepe
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RyanSepe,
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.
SecOpsSpecialist
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SecOpsSpecialist,
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".
GonzSTL
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GonzSTL,
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.
Marilyn Cohodas
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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.
Stratustician
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Stratustician,
User Rank: Moderator
9/30/2014 | 2:14:33 PM
Re: Good, practical advice on security awareness training
Great points!  As part of the training for different audiences, it might make sense to look at different types of departments as they have different risks.  For example, marketing folks are known to use portable storage and cloud storage so they can work on files remotely.  Sales users risks come from how and where they access customer data.  Tailoring training to talk about these types of users specifically might get a better reposnse than the infamous "thou shalt be secure" corporate snooze sessions we've all sat through.
SecOpsSpecialist
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SecOpsSpecialist,
User Rank: Moderator
9/30/2014 | 4:06:23 PM
Re: Be Aware: 8 Tips for Security Awareness Training
@Marilyn - I'm not sure that is even effective still. In my experience, if a user knows something is coming, they are more likely to try to circumvent it than if they don't know it's coming. Truthfully, vulnerability testing done by outside vendors should not be announced because then the results are skewed and do not actually provide accurate data which can hurt the company overall. You can tell users til you're blue in the face that Security is important but until they fall victim to something, they will not change.
Sara Peters
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Sara Peters,
User Rank: Author
10/6/2014 | 12:18:47 PM
Re: Be Aware: 8 Tips for Security Awareness Training
@SecOps Specialist  I love this extra bit of advice you mention:  "Computer-Based Training is a great way to meet compliance, but don't stop there."  I think that of all the many things security professionals do, awareness training is the one most likely to be treated with a "checkbox-only" approach. What do you think?
SecOpsSpecialist
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SecOpsSpecialist,
User Rank: Moderator
10/6/2014 | 12:31:50 PM
Re: Be Aware: 8 Tips for Security Awareness Training
@Sara -

Often times the Security training, much like HR training, is treated like a checkbox because it needs to meet compliance standards. The difference between Security training and Security Awareness training is that Security training is designed to meet compliance standards like FERPA or HIPAA/HITECH. Security Awareness training is about bringing, well, awareness, to the forefront of everyone's mind. There's more to Security than just blocking bad websites and keeping the "bad guys" out.

If people don't know that links are harmful, a checkbox solution won't help them with that. If people don't know that Social Engineering is something that happens almost every day and they don't know what signs to look for, they are vulnerable to it. Same thing with Phishing, Vishing, or Whaling. It's all a matter of how important the company views security. Is it something that needs a checkbox, or it is about getting people to change their views and get better at locking their workstations?

 
Sara Peters
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Sara Peters,
User Rank: Author
10/6/2014 | 3:27:59 PM
Re: Be Aware: 8 Tips for Security Awareness Training
@SecOps Specialist  Well it certainly SHOULD be about improving security, not about checking a box. I expect that most awareness programs simply give out policies, without properly explaining why such policies exist???
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