Security Awareness Education is Not Enough

In August 2004 I talked about the effectiveness of security awareness education (in Report Suspicious Activity). I referred to the highway signs that say “REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY – CALL 800 492 TIPS”.

This morning as I drove by that same sign, I realized something. Unless something suspicious happens right before I see that sign, I will remember I should report something. I just won’t remember the phone number to call.

An assessment of your security awareness education should include an analysis of what you are expecting of your people and how likely they are to be able to execute that which you expect with the tools available. Maybe you need to provide different tools. For example, you could issue laminated cards with reminders. Or you could make it easier to comply. (Could the highway phone number be more memorable, like “800-CALL-DHS?” Could we make sure local law enforcement can handle “suspicious activity” reports? Maryland State Police reminds us on signs what 3 digit number reaches them from mobile phones.

I now remember to report suspicious activity. But, will I remember how?

Hey, I just (4Feb05) learned the “TIPS” number here in Maryland gets you the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC). (No, I wasn’t calling in suspicious activity.) I still think they need an easier phone number to remember. (Go ahead… click on the URL above. See what it translates to. I get an uglu URL with all sorts of tracking in it. Still, probably their webmaster isn’t the person answering calls about suspicious activity.)

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