How to create a compliant security awareness program

It is crucial that you ensure your end users are trained in security awareness and follow best practices. Hackers have become more sophisticated and more dangerous. It’s more than keeping your networks secure. It’s about protecting your company’s viability and bottom line. A data breach or downtime can cause irreparable damage to an organization, their clients, customers, employees, and their reputation.
Implementing a security awareness program is one of the best ways to make sure your end users are aware of security threats. This is a formal process to educate them about computer security. But don’t stop there! A comprehensive program that conforms to common security standards is even better — your ability to conduct business could be dependent on it.
Let’s now look at how to create a compliant security alert program that is also embraced by the entire organization, from the CEO down to the sales floor.

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Get started training1. Be aware of the Common Security Training Requirements
First, the CTO and IT managers need to keep up-to-date with security requirements. Did you know that the new PCI DSS version 3.2 (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards), training requirements went from best practices to mandatory on February 1, 2018?
One, PCI DSS version 3.2 now has a requirement (12.4.1), that requires service providers’ executives to establish responsibilities and create a PCI DSS compliance plan. Remember this: “The process for adhering to PCI requirements is what it means to be ‘PCI compliant’.” (Troy Leach Chief Technology Officer at PCI Security Standards Council.)
Here are some examples of these requirements:
PCI DSS 12.6: Implement a formal security awareness program for all employees to raise awareness about the importance of protecting cardholder data.
PCI DSS 12.6.1 – Educate personnel upon hiring and at least annually
PCI DSS 12.6.1.a – Verify that the security alert program offers multiple methods of communicating awareness to employees (for example, posters and memos, web-based training and meetings, and promotions).

Almost every business accepts payment cards/data these days. Does your organization need to comply with these training requirements as well? We’ll be there to thank you later.
To help your organization develop and guide its security awareness programs, you can use laws, regulations, or standards. You can’t go wrong if standards and best practices overlap from training to training.
Depending on the location of your organization, compliance with security standards may be required. It is important to stay current with security standards. Some states have their own training requirements. For example, the Texas Health Privacy Law (or Massachusetts Data Security Law) are two examples. Training is also required by different industries, such as HIPAA for healthcare and FERPA for education.
A good rule of thumb is to have a security awareness program in place if your organization stores, transfers, or handles personal information. Don’t forget the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which went into effect on May 25, 2018. Your organization must be prepared to implement a security awareness program if you or your data subjects are located in the EU/EEA.

2. Make it easy for you and your users
There are many things you can do outside the box to make your users more compliant and make their lives easier, while also keeping your network safer.
We all know passwords (*cough*, or lack thereof *cough*) can be a security threat to any organization. Despite your best efforts, many users continue to use the same password across multiple sites. It’s understandable,

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