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Contributor Columns on Information Technology and Security

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Bridge To Employee Cyber Security Awareness

A wise man once said – “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and
I learn.” Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote has since been proven by science; educators now
call it “experiential learning."

This article presents new ideas for involving remote site workers in the cyber security war. We’ll start with observations acquired from surveys of remote site workers and their apparent lack of buy-in to cybersecurity. While I’m not a fan of surveys it appears the verdict is in. Roughly 50% of remote site workers perceive cyber security policies as “slowing down their productivity”. This same 50% of
workers admit to using “workarounds” to reduce these perceived impediments and we know from
Marketing 101, that perception is reality. Since most cybersecurity initiatives are designed with
employees being the first line of defense against cyber criminals, often titled the Human Layer, it is
critical that this perception be changed.

Up until now, most cyber security initiatives designed for employees have been repetitive and “cookie
cutter” versions of one another. Unfortunately, we know from the surveys that these initiatives have
proven to be ineffective. Therefore, we have fallen into the witticism of “Albert Einstein Insanity”
that is often quoted as, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. To try to break this trend let’s review a novel approach to involve employees as front line cybersecurity defenders. Unconditional Gifts can build bridges to cybersecurity awareness.

Internet 24/7 Cyber Gifts Campaign

Gifting is a marketing tool used to create customer loyalty. Behavioral research states that
unconditional gifts create obligations. We propose using unconditional gifts as a way to create
employee commitment with an obligation to performing better at cyber security.
There are several ways to introduce 24/7 Cyber Gifts Campaigns and the culture of each organization
should be addressed when establishing such campaigns. Here is one practical idea to start a Cyber
Gifts Campaign. Select one online security feature installed on company provided computers
and GIVE that same capability to employees as a gift for their personal computer use.

Furthermore, HELP the employees install the security feature on their personal device thereby providing
IT with an opportunity to explain its importance to cyber security. The financial value of the gift is
not important to employees in these campaigns. With a 24/7 Gifts Campaign, where employees are
engaged with personal and business cyber security, perceptions regarding cyber security policies
impeding their productivity can be changed. This is one way to do something different and to be
proactive.

In conclusion, I am not discouraging data analysis on why remote workers believe they are impeded.
This campaign simply accepts these perceptions as reality. At least three organizational benefits should occur with this 24/7 Gift Campaign:

  • Employees will be more involved with online security
  • Campaigns such as this one provides a path leading to a 24/7 cyber security mindset
  • This is an actionable campaign meaning the organization and employees benefit quickly

I encourage you to look for our next article discussing the benefits of providing remote employees

with new Help Desk tools to more efficiently resolve computer performance and connection
problems.

Charles Wood is Founder and Managing Partner of My-SecureID LLC. His company developed the
FaultLine SM ICM tool that can be bundled with other cyber security training platforms to strengthen
employee cyber security awareness. Email info@my-secureid.com for additional information about
the company and ICM. https://www.linkedin.com/in/charles-wood-6399008

 

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