There isn’t a week that goes by without a significant data security breach making the headlines. The vulnerabilities of the computer systems that serve as the backbone of our economy have received so much attention that one would expect information Security Awareness to be at an all-time high.
Despite this, study after study identifies lack of Security Awareness as a significant barrier to companies improving information and data security. As a result, basic security blunders, such as using weak passwords, occur.
Security Awareness programs must start focusing on good communication to boost their outcomes.
What Is a Security Awareness Communication Plan?
A Security Awareness communication plan is a structured approach to help you proactively prioritize the projects and topics you want to highlight in the program to help you reach specific goals. Furthermore, it allows the Security Awareness leaders to identify when to loop in the cross-functional leaders and other critical stakeholders for engagement or reporting purposes.
A communication plan serves many purposes. It ensures proper employee participation and keeps executives and cross-functional leaders in touch with the Security Awareness leaders. Additionally, a communication plan ensures integrity, confidentiality, and accessibility of all the data in motion. Setting up a Security Awareness communication plan helps security leaders in the following ways:
- Outlining communication goals: make sure everyone sees the progress of the Security Awareness programs, for example. Or improving user engagement. Or kickstarting the program itself.
- Determining your target audience: who are you going to talk to? Who needs to receive this message, and what is the expected response?
- Planning and developing your message: knowing the goal and the audience, what message should be more effective?
- Considering resources, budget, and time.
- Identifying medium of communication: from internal billboards to knowledgebases to team meetings, how to amplify the message?
- Preparing for adversity and emergencies: internal personnel changes or the organization is part of the communication plan.
- Planning for how you will spread your message
- Identifying how often you will communicate your message
- Determining how you will evaluate and adjust your plan based on the results of carrying it out
Security Awareness Communication Roadmap
Successful Security Awareness programs are always strategic in the way they communicate. Therefore, these plans are always driven by policies and allow the Security Awareness programs to build trust among the key audiences. In addition, they help keep the training and awareness content relevant to the business, allowing users to learn how to respond to different security incidents.
We often hear about cyberSecurity Awareness seminars, courses, and programs that include boring and irrelevant content. However, a Security Awareness communication plan allows the security leaders to craft and develop their message according to their target audience. It is essential for security leaders to understand that there are three types of awareness:
- General Security Awareness
- Intermediate Security Awareness
- In-depth Security Awareness
Security Awareness communication plans do not have much to do with general awareness programs. However, organizations and Security Awareness leaders might struggle to rise because they involve an audience for the other two types. Therefore, using a one-size-fits-all approach for intermediate and in-depth Security Awareness programs might lead to disengaged audiences and low participation of users. A Security Awareness communication roadmap would therefore provide answers to the following questions:
- Are you correctly defining the objectives of the program?
- Are you correctly segmenting your audience and tailoring your message?
- Have you covered the basics before jumping into security breach incidents?
- Do you correctly demonstrate the benefits of cyber awareness and its impact on employees and organizations?
- Does your audience have access to the right tools to learn good cyber behaviors?
- And finally, are you establishing effective security feedback and help mechanisms?
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How Can You Implement A Security Awareness Communication Plan?
Depending on your staff-to-employee ratio and available channels, you can use a Security Awareness communication plan as a starting point for your organization’s cyberculture. However, to use it properly, you must have the following prerequisites in place:
- Laying out your current situation
- Map your current situation, gaps, and obstacles
- Define your goals for the coming quarter
- Measure and communicate results for each employee, department, branch, and organization.
Keep Your Communication Plan Flexible
As you create a roadmap, be prepared to make a few changes; if your plan is too aggressive, you may miss a few deadlines. Always ensure that the frequency of your Security Awareness programs is set to overcome the forgetting curve. Tasks may also be repeatable, which is necessary for employees to change their behavior.
Give Visibility To The Right Audience
Giving your Security Awareness plan visibility to the right staff members captivates them, resulting in behavioral and cultural change for your organization. Therefore, it eventually helps you build cyber-defense by turning your people into your biggest strength.
Keep Content Relevant And Engaging
Finally, keeping your Security Awareness programs unique and engaging for each user is essential while conducting your communication plan to engage them. It is of utmost importance that your audience understands the content and relates to it. If done right, you will also see your employees adopting good cyber habits in their personal lives. Some other things that you can take care of include:
- Remember that you are venturing into uncharted territory, so be prepared for the unexpected.
- Share your plan with others and gain ambassadors within the organization.
- Allow for adequate timelines and always be considerate of other company priorities.
- A plan/roadmap demonstrates that you have thought through your program and vision.
- Use humor and have fun; your audience will be receptive if you keep your message light.
- Fear and a punitive culture do not sell Security Awareness. Use the learning and development approach.
A Security Awareness communication plan is a policy-driven approach to adding vision to a specified audience’s training and awareness programs. It helps in building your content while considering your audience. The support of a well-planned communication campaign keeps users willing to invest their time in the initiative.
Having a modern, automated Security Awareness training solution compliments these campaigns. For example, with Ally, you do not have to create lengthy spreadsheets and set reminders for each piece of training. Instead, you can proactively plan everything, and Ally will take care of the rest.
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