Q

Security awareness program

I'm a project manager for implementing information security in my company. I would like to put together an awareness program. Do you have any examples in the form of a framework or approach, with specific steps and areas to cover that I can follow?


There's no short answer to building an effective awareness program, but when I build them I start by addressing the following ten challenges:

Reasons
A genuine belief in the importance of employee awareness.
  • To keep management happy
  • To avoid legal risks
  • To meet regulatory requirements

    Goals
  • To strengthen security defenses
  • To reinforce policy awareness
  • To target and change specific behavior

    Commitment
  • Needs the complete support of management
  • Needs the necessary budget
  • Must include management-backed consequences for failure

    Audience
  • You must understand how much they know and how well they can learn.
  • They must be convinced and committed.
  • How will the audience access the program: how many countries/languages; access to PC, high speed connection, video.
  • What is their attention span/time availability?
  • Will there be any follow up?

    Delivery System
  • Paper -- manuals, newsletters
  • E-mail -- daily, weekly or monthly reminders
  • Web is best, but do they have easy access?
  • Frequency

    Content
  • Focus on changing attitudes and behavior before demanding compliance.
  • Choose the most important messages.
  • Divide them into short lessons, typically 10-16 in total.
  • Deliver the lessons in short bursts.
  • 20 minutes max for effective retention.
  • Use a variety of formats: text, Flash, video, audio, PowerPoint.

    Measurement
  • Use testing to measure retention and effectiveness.
  • Use testing to measure compliance and participation.
  • Use testing to identify knowledge gaps and security weaknesses.
  • Using testing to sell to management.

    Consequences
  • There must be some...
  • For failing to participate.
  • For failing to complete.
  • For failing to comply.
  • That?s why management support is essential.

    Participation
  • All employees and managers must participate.
  • Participation should be rewarded ? certification and prizes.

    Response
  • Response must be encouraged and measured.
  • Feedback must be encouraged and simple.
  • Feedback must be fed back, to fix gaps and improve the impact.


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  • This was first published in January 2002

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