Resource Library for Security Awareness Campaigns
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Planning a Cyber Security Awareness Training Program
Planning is the most important stage of any successful information security awareness program, and unfortunately the most overlooked.
You must assess your needs, examine management and culture, set realistic goals for the program, determine a budget, and create a game plan. You can’t do it all at once!
Create a content calendar, release schedule, and an assessment plan. Predetermine how you will host the training, what types of training you’ll use, how much of it will be mandatory, what you’ll give your users in exchange for completing it, etc. Without a plan, your program is destined to fail.
Steps to Planning a Security Awareness Program (SAP)
One of the most crucial steps to developing a successful program is assessing the distinctive needs of your organization. What specifically do your employees need to be trained on?
Keep in mind that this is not a one-and-done process! We recommend routinely assessing your needs, since they will change over time.
In order to measure the success of your awareness program, you’ll need to track its progress. To do this effectively, it’s important to set goals.
By setting goals and developing a game plan, you not only put your program in motion, you also give it direction that effectively prioritizes your needs.
SEEK MANAGEMENT SUPPORT
A program cannot succeed if it doesn’t have buy-in from everyone within your organization, especially executives and upper management.
Seeking support from “the boss” or convincing the C-suite to become “security awareness champions” is a great way to bolster your program and demonstrate to your employees that no one is above the organization’s security efforts.
Launching a Cyber Security Awareness Training Program
Your security awareness campaign ideas have become reality, you’ve created or purchased security training materials, and you’re ready to launch!
Make it fun, shout it from the rooftops, use email and the company intranet and posters around the office. Hang art in the “facilities” and public areas. Send out branded internal email blasts. Get creative! Make a big deal about it in order to engage users from the beginning and drive participation.
Steps to Launching a Security Awareness Program (SAP)
With planning complete, it’s time to build the hype! Your program needs to be advertised in a manner that will grab your users’ attention.
Create a tagline and promote your program as a brand. Put yourself in your users’ shoes: what can you do to make them care and retain their attention? What’s in it for them?
Market your program in a way that will get them interested before launching.
It’s time to give your program the red-carpet treatment! You know what they say about first impressions, right? Kick your SAP off with a bang!
Think of it like a movie premier and officially introduce it with a launch video or a letter from an executive. Make it a company event that celebrates your communal efforts to prevent security incidents within your organization. Think outside the box!
ENCOURAGE USER BUY-IN
There’s a good chance you’re going to experience some resistance from your users when it comes to mandatory training. They’re likely going to view it as extra work.
To circumvent this, make your program fun and competitive. Keep it upbeat, modern, and relatable to their experience. Your users will buy-in if they can personally apply the information you are providing to every aspect of their lives.
Managing a Cyber Security Awareness Training Program
Information security is not a one-and-done kind of thing. In fact, there is no time in any of our lives when we can sit back, hands behind our heads and say, “Ahh, yes. I’m finally secure.”
Information security is a state of mind created through consistent, engaging, and interactive messaging that makes it relevant to our personal, professional, and mobile lives. Your goal should be to transform your company staff into human firewalls, not just to check off a compliance training box.
You need to employ metrics to find where you’re hitting the mark and where you can make improvements. Then using the metrics you’ve collected, see where you’re improving and where your users still need help. Get feedback, tweak the system, reassess your needs. When you find a strategy that works, don’t do it once. Do it again, and again, and again…. And again.
Steps to Managing a Security Awareness Program (SAP)
We’ve pointed out how important it is to pre-market a program before launch, but it shouldn’t end there.
Think about the major brands you hear and see in commercials. They routinely update their ads and reformat how they sell their brand to drive new interest. A successful SAP will take that same approach.
METRICS & FEEDBACK
If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
With metrics, you will learn what works and what doesn’t, what issues need added reinforcement, and how to update your strategies as the threat landscape evolves. And employee feedback is an invaluable resource that should be encouraged across your entire organization.
REVIEW & RE-EVALUATE
As your organization grows and your needs change, so too will the needs of your security awareness program.
It’s vital that you routinely review and re-evaluate the progress you’ve made to determine if your process is working. There is no better way to stay ahead of the security curve than by looking back and assessing your accomplishments (and failures).
Client Case Studies: What Does Success Look Like?
We’ve helped a lot of organizations create cyber security awareness programs that actually work. Curious how they fostered that success? Check out these interviews with some of our clients to find out!
Company Size: 5,000-10,000
Number of Countries: 1
Company Size: 30,000+
Number of Countries: 3+
Industry: Consulting & Certification
Company Size: 12,000+
Number of Countries: 44+