May 27, 2014

Creating Real Security Awareness: Step 7 Evaluate

The Design Process * Evaluation
The Design Process * Evaluation
(Photo credit: Jordanhill School D&T Dept)
Welcome to our Creating Real Security Awareness series' eighth installment; step seven, evaluate. Once people get past the execution phase of an awareness campaign, they assume they're done. Unfortunately this means they miss out on a beneficial step: the evaluation step. The evaluation results help to improve programs and justify future awareness program ventures. Since this step can be tricky for some to wrap their head around, many simply overlook it. 

To evaluate, you need to have meaningful metrics, and that will vary upon your objective. Converting an awareness campaign into measurable metrics is where many get stuck, because they failed to properly set themselves up for success.

How do you measure awareness?

Measurements are broken down into two types: measurement of performance (M.O.P.) and measurement of effectiveness (M.O.E.). Of the two different types, M.O.P. is the easier one and fortunately the first one we look at. You cannot measure effect if the awareness campaign was not performed properly. Basically, did you (or your supporting team) execute the campaign like you intended? Did the digital sign display when it was supposed to? Did the article get published on schedule? Did you do what you intended to do? What would you do differently? Basically, this is looking at how the campaign was performed.

Measurements of effectiveness is trickier and all depends on your primary campaign objectives. During this part of the evaluation, you're trying to determine the campaign's effectiveness in communicating the intended message. Back in step four, you listed in your communication plan the campaign's primary objective. If your primary objective was something vague as "raise awareness," you will run into difficulties in trying to measure it.  Your earlier work will help or hinder you during this phase.

As I asked earlier, how do you measure awareness? A reason people skip the evaluation part is largely due to selecting generalized objectives instead of something rather specific. For instance, an objective for an awareness campaign from a previous job was to educate the workforce about the existence of a new internal security site that contained various job aids, frequently asked questions, updated threat information and other resources. The objective is specific. Prior to the campaign, the site received little traffic; however, traffic dramatically increased during and after the campaign. The site's traffic was a M.O.E. that helped me to determine the campaign was a success.

What about M.O.E.s for objectives that don't naturally have built in statistics?
Let's take a look at a couple of the objective examples from the Create Communication Plan part of this series.

- Increase awareness of reporting requirements
- Increase workforce compliance

These don't have my easy website traffic measurement, but there are ways to measure effectiveness. Have security infractions/violation reporting decreased or increased since starting the campaign? Reporting records could be your measurement. Random spot checks conducted before, immediately after, and 60 days after the campaign could provide supportive evaluation measurements. Do you have to provide less security reminders?

A simple survey gathering feedback from your targeted audience could give you data to determine effectiveness by gauging how much of the information members from the workforce remember. When developing surveys, be respectful of the responder's time by keeping the survey short 3-5 questions (no more than 10 max). When possible try using a rating scale (on a scale of 1 to 5) or multiple choice. Questions requiring lengthy write-in answers are less likely to be answered. Free online survey services like SurveyMonkey and FluidSurvey can help facilitate anonymous survey results and easily sort the information for you.

After completing the evaluation, you capture lessons learned and repeat the cycle over again. If you kept your previous notes, the next cycle iteration should go smoother.

May 21, 2014

7 Home Security Tips for Summer Vacation

Home security is about not appearing as a lucrative target
The Better Business Bureau reports an estimated 136 million Americans travel last summer on vacation and this summer is heating up to be a heavy vacation period as well. With all these travelers, that means there will be a lot of vacant homes with precious valuables insides. Burglars delight in this.

The FBI reports there were over 600,000 victims of burglary/breaking and entering in 2012. While you place great planning into the travel details, don't forget to take care of what you're leaving behind. Simple security precautions could prevent you from becoming another statistic.

Here are seven simple but effective security tips you can use to keep your home safe while you're away.

Don't post plans on social media
Limit social media posts with vacation details. Burglars could use social media posts to determine when you're away. In fact four out of five burglars use social media to select their targets. A vacant home is a very lucrative target and you could be advertising it online. Don't announce your vacation plan details on any social media. Wait to make your vacation posts about the great beach and beautiful scenery picture uploads for when you return. Don't worry, your friends and family can go a while without knowing about your every move and what you ate.

Keep hedges and bushes trimmed. While overgrown hedges and low hanging tree branches create privacy for you, they also provide great hiding places for burglars to work in peace. Burglars like to work in areas where it is hard for others to see them. Minimize hiding spots by trimming back shrubbery so they're less than three feet tall and away from points of entrance (i.e. doors, windows). Additionally, trim branches of large trees at least seven feet off the ground, and away from points of entrance. The idea is to create a clear zone to easily identify intruders.

Outside lighting. As with the trimmed hedges and bushes, lighting diminishes hiding spots for potential burglars by making him easier to spot. Have lights on motion sensors over points of entrance, such as doorways and windows at ground level. Solar garden lights around the perimeter help as well.
A house with outside lighting
Interior lighting. Set different lights in your house on timers to go on and off at different times throughout the evening. The idea is to make the house have a lived in appearance. You don't turn on every single light in the house on at the same time when you're home, so why set them to go on and off at the same time?

Lock up! Be a hard target.
Lock up. It is a simple tip, but one worth repeating. One out of three burglars enter a home through an unlocked door or window. Before leaving, go through the house to ensure you lock all doors and windows, to include the back door, garage door, and entrance into the house from the garage. If possible, disable the overhead garage door to prevent easy break-ins. Lock up your tools and ladders, especially if they're in an easily accessible area. Thieves could use your own tools to help them break-in. Don't give robbers a helping hand!

Reinforce doors and windows. Follow the tips in our Home Security post such as make sure exterior doors and their frames are made from sturdy material; use dead-bolts; and replace strike plates. Placing bars in ground floor windows and sliding glass doors is another simple, but effective, tip.

Arrange for care taker. While you're away, arrange for somebody to stop by to remove flyers placed on your door while you were gone, to care for the yard, place trash/recycling out on pick up day, and check the general well being of the house. An unkept yard, garbage can out for long periods of time, and flyers left out over days can be an indicator to potential thieves. Ask that they check at different times so as not to create a pattern.

Better Business Bureau (2013 June 5). Summer smarts: Keep your home safe while you are away. Retrieved from

Chaplan, B. (2013 September 2). Cautious care: How to protect your home against burglars. Dumb Little Man: Tips for life. Retrieved from

Federal Bureau of Investigation (2013). National incident-based reporting system 2012. Uniform Crime Reports. Retrieved from
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May 19, 2014

Security posters of a bygone era

This year is the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the day that marks the entrance of the US into World War II. In memory of this bygone era, Security Checks Matter presents our poster collection from that era. As a reminder, you can find these along with over 400 security posters in our Security Poster Library. When looking through them please remember that these poster were made during a different time period, but some of their messages do not fade with time. There are a couple of modernized versions thrown in for fun. As a reminder all of these posters, plus more are located in our Security Poster Library.

Your talk may kill your comrades.

Ours to fight for the freedom from want.

You talk of sacrifice. He knew the meaning of sacrifice!

Loose talk can cost lives.

Don't be a dope and spread inside dope. Loose talk can cost lives.

Loose talk can cost lives.

Loose lips can cause this...

Button your lip. Loose talk can cost lives.

Silence means security!

Watch yourself pal! Be careful what you say or write!

Award for careless talk.

Free speech doesn't mean careless talk!


Loose tweets sink fleets is an updated version of loose lips sink ships.

Keep mum. Loose talk costs lives.

Don't discuss secrets on the telephone.

An updated version of the World War I security poster "Loose lips might sink ships." Loose chips sink ships, disable tanks, grounds planes, etc.
Wanted for murder. Her careless talk costs lives.

Loose talk can cost lives! Keep it under your stetson.

The sound that kills. Don't murder men with idle words.

The only secret is the one never told! Silence means security.

Keep it under your hat! Careless talk costs lives.

Keep mum. The world has ears.

Careless words can liquidate ships -- Better button up those blabber-lips

Careless talk did this! Keep it under your stetson.

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