How to Educate Your Staff about Security: Page 2

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A further advantage of video is that it lets us not just explain how to lock your screen from a XP box, or a Mac, but we can actually show how it's done. I've had tons of thanks from my Windows users thanking us for the .AuWindows Key-L trick, even though it's dead simple. Just because you, as an IT person know a trick, don't assume that everyone else does too. Video also helped us be platform neutral. We didn't have to worry about the OS or the hardware shown, because it was immaterial to the task at hand.

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This leads me to the next tip: Stay out of religious wars. While this can be seemingly impossible, if you keep your content platform – neutral, it's really easy. For example, with the laptop theft issue, we simply ignored what kind of laptop it was. Smartphones, hacking attacks, all of it. We avoided OS security and the like, not because it isn't a valid security issue, but it wasn't part of the message we wanted to send. That's an important thing to remember: Don't let other people's issues muddle your message. Mac/Windows/Linux partisans all have their agendas, but don't let them become your agendas.

Since we're talking about messages, make sure the message you’re sending is what people are hearing/seeing. It does you no good to talk about email security if you do so in a way that creates noise. It is better to present less information and a clearer message than vice versa. For example, with phishing, while you can go into details about URL spoofing, email client differences in phishing prevention, server-level issues, that's not going to help people deal with phishing attempts better.

In some ways, you have to crawl inside the heads of those you're talking to. If you're sending a sysadmin message to a non-technical audience, they're not going to get much out of it. Better to 'dumb down' the details so you give them more useful information that will help them be more secure, which will make your life easier by extension.

I know that this isn't a terribly technical, nor "Apple - focused" column, but sometimes, being a sysadmin, even on a Mac network isn't all Terminal and Cocoa. Everyone running a network will need to deal with user security education at some point, and hopefully, my experiences this time around will help you when it's your turn in the barrel.

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