Quarterly preferred; annually at a minimum.
Education is the foundation where basic skills and knowledge are developed. Applicable laws or concepts should be introduced.
Assess the security education, training and awareness program for your organization. Are people practicing what you preach? Are you setting an example? The best opportunity for education is during training/orientation for new employees. Take this opportunity to make all the important security points, and emphasize key policies and important procedures. Designate a time when you know most employees are around so you can have a relatively painless one-shot session, and be sure to keep records -- even a simple sign-in sheet will suffice, but a one-page, signed acknowledgement is even better. During the year, nothing drives security awareness home more than using security incidents that occurred in the company. If you don't want to air your dirty laundry, there are plenty of security incidents in the news that could happen to anyone in your organization.
Present the information through different venues to keep it fresh -- some ideas: computer-based training; videotapes; distance learning; electronic/physical bulletin board; start-up messages on local system; e-mail subscriptions; newsletters; security incidents (lessons learned, how to recognize/avoid next time, preventive measures); previous experience and manuals are just some ideas.
Life, the daily newspaper, professional groups like Federal Information Systems Security Educators' Association. Humor helps, too. Visit the WhatIs.com Fast Guide to IT Humor to get security anecdotes that teach lessons no amount of lecturing can, ranging from sarcastic to outright funny.
About the author
Shelley Bard, CISSP, is a senior security network engineer with Verizon Federal Network Systems (FNS). An information security professional for 17 years, Bard has briefed and written information security assessments and technical reports for the White House and Department of Defense, special interest groups, industry and academia. Please e-mail any comments to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Opinions expressed in this column are those of Shelley Bard and don't necessarily reflect those of Verizon FNS.
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This was first published in January 2004