Industry view: Security training with style

Perimeter eSecurity VP Jason Miceli offers some tips on how to give employees a true understanding of security

As an example, rather than requiring your employees to become certified in a course called "Introduction to Information Security," why not say, "You're going to learn how to protect yourself from SPAM, viruses, and hackers - great information you'll be able to use here and at home." This approach helps to bring significant meaning and value to your training. Carry this concept through to all aspects of the LMS. In addition to ensuring technical accuracy on the tests, structure the information in a way that will resonate with your employees' daily workflows and lifestyles.

Humor: The use of humor is essentially an extension of the previous topic, although it may be the most challenging yet beneficial factor to implement in a training program. As industry professionals you may find the world of Information Security really exciting, but it is likely your employees may not - the use of humor can be invaluable in addressing this issue. Even if employees can relate to the material and understand its relevance, they may still have a difficult time maintaining their focus as they proceed through page after page of content. Humor is a great way to help people stay engaged.

To what extent should humor be used? Since every environment has different tolerance levels for new and potentially radical ideas, there's no universal answer to this question. However, few would disagree that every organization can benefit from additional laughter. Imagine if the landing pages for your various training courses showed a picture of a well-known character with a funny saying. For example, a course containing information on anti-virus concepts could feature Neo from the film'The Matrix' saying, "What are you trying to tell me? That I can dodge viruses?" Another course could show television character Mr. T saying, "I pity the fool who doesn't use complex passwords!" These examples may seem trivial, but what you're starting to do is "market" this information to your employees. After applying the same level of creativity throughout the coursework you may find that your employees actually enjoy taking the courses, earning you a front-row seat at "memory stadium!"

There are many ways to employ humor throughout your program. Use wacky analogies and provide crazy test questions and answers. Add well known one-liners related to your industry or quotes from around the office. Include funny photos or cartoons, rather than using standard clipart. Find some YouTube clips that poke fun at the material and add those links where appropriate. Here's a great tip - if you're having lots of fun creating the courses, then your employees will have fun taking them!

The Water Cooler Test

According to the Bersin & Associates study, companies are considering the use of more sophisticated techniques to increase the quality of their learning programs. If you use these strategies and tools, you should be able to accomplish three important goals while establishing a security awareness training program: implement an LMS framework that will provide ongoing reinforcement of the learning process, help employees understand the relevance of the program and its content and keep people interested as they dive into the detailed coursework. Your objective is to get employees to a point where they look forward to the next course and test. What better way to help boost office morale than to turn a corporate requirement on a potentially dry topic into an engaging system that will result in competent, security-conscious employees - chatting around the water cooler about how they work for a really cool company!

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