A common misconception about security awareness programs (SAPs) is that they are expensive to implement and maintain. When you consider all the things that might be included—headcount, content creation, on-site events, SWAG, security compliance courses, and phishing assessment tools—SAPs seem like costly ventures.

However, organizations both large and small can implement programs with small budgets and a little bit of creativity. Below are some creative ways to launch and maintain your program without breaking the bank.

Security Champion Committee

Every SAP faces the difficult challenge of user buy-in, or adoption rate. To meet this challenge while not spending any extra money, create a formal security champion committee. Your committee should be made up of volunteers from different levels and departments within your organization. This committee’s main goal is to encourage participation by distributing key messages while providing feedback or assistance with your program’s growth.

Collaborations with Onsite Events

Onsite events provide a great way to build interaction and disseminate key security awareness messages, while obtaining feedback from end-users. A creative way to reduce your cost associated with these types of events is to collaborate with well-established programs that are already set up and running within your organization.

Many workplaces host diversity and inclusion and wellness programs. By teaming up with them, you avoid incurring cost while gaining an opportunity to spread your message. For instance, if your wellness program hosts an onsite event that encourages everyone to walk a mile or perform some other physical activity, partner with them to include a security booth that provides water or snacks along with a security handout and other materials. Take advantage of collaboration opportunities to promote your SAP wherever possible, and If your organization doesn’t already host company-wide events, float the idea with management.

Digital Content

Digital content represents a great way to spread your message without much financial commitment. For example, you can easily spread monthly articles or newsletters via email. There are plenty of free online platforms or programs that help you design posters with awareness messages that you can hang around the office or set as screensavers. And be sure to check out The Security Awareness Company’s Freebie section for bundles of free awareness materials!

security awareness programs-security cat-nine lives-9 lives-cost-budget

Guest Speaking

Bringing in an external guest speaker can be extremely expensive. But instead of paying thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, you can simply set up a guest speaking event with an internal guest speaker. Work with legal, corporate compliance, internal audit, IT, and governance risk teams to locate someone interested in speaking about security topics that relate to their area.

If you have agreements with third-party security vendors, approach them. See if they have an interest in giving a presentation to members of your organization. You will be surprised by how many of them are willing to speak for free.

Phishing Assessment Tools

Phishing continues to rule as cybercriminals’ favorite attack method. Building a phishing simulation that tests your employees’ phishing identification skills represents the best way to assess the strength and weaknesses of your organization. It also gives your employees real-world experience without real-world consequences.

One way to build a phishing campaign is to utilize free phishing assessment tools that several reputable companies provide. A simple Google search can provide a plethora of free phishing assessment tools for organizations of all sizes.

The Security Awareness Company works with you 1-on-1 to implement cyber awareness & compliance programs. With a greater than 95% client retention rate, we’re experts at creating human firewalls out of end-users! Get started here.

Andrew Egan

Andrew has held various roles within cyber security for the past decade — including compliance analyst at a major West Coast organization — and has an extensive background in implementing security awareness and phishing programs. He is best known for increasing adoption rates by using creative tactics to personalize security for his target audience.