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Apr 29, 2017

NBlog April 29 - awareness posters

Yesterday we almost completed the general employee materials aimed at workers in general. 

Six fantastic new awareness posters are in from the art department. Despite having come up with the brief so we had more than just an inkling of what to expect, I laughed out load at the artists' creative interpretations of the concepts. Once again they have brought a spark of life, humor and visual impact to our dull words. Having developed a strong working relationship with our graphics people over several years, it's still getting better month-by-month. It's a pleasure to collaborate, each of us contributing our respective expertise and complementary skills to generate high quality products. Thanks to effective teamwork, the total is greater than the sum of the parts. 

That said, I've mentioned before that posters and the dreaded infographics are only part of the awareness collateral. About 20+ years ago, to a lot of organizations, awareness programs were posters and vice versa - not just on IT and information security, but also health and safety and other topics. 

In World War II, the Ministry of Information used posters effectively to spread the word, using simple, direct, vaguely amusing language ("Loose lips sink ships") and striking poster-art images reminiscent of Andy Warhol. That was literally the state of the art, 6 decades ago. These days, we rarely use posters in isolation for awareness purposes: we have progressed to 'campaigns', communicating messages through multiple media and mechanisms in parallel.

Advertising and public safety can teach us a lot in security awareness. A neat example that springs to mind is the New Zealand government-backed "Get ready, get through" national safety awareness campaign concerning earthquakes, eruptions and tsunamis, real and present dangers for Kiwis. 

The campaign makes use of TV, newspapers, radio, posters, leaflets, social media, face-to-face instruction (e.g. training for Civil Defense staff and volunteers plus lessons for schoolkids) and broader experiential learning in the form of public exercises - an integrated approach involving coordination between public services, local councils, broadcasters, Civil Defense and more. 

Posters alone won't cut it, but they are integral parts. This is true multimedia - not just video+sound. Our resilience and readiness to cope with natural disasters is so important that we, the people of New Zealand, invest (heavily!) in a comprehensive and ongoing educational approach.

Is information security important enough for your organization to invest (lightly, very lightly!) in a comprehensive and onoing multimedia educational approach, or do you still think the odd dog-eared and tacky poster or infographic will suffice?

Regards,