How to
Tracy Z. Maleeff
Oct 2016

How to Educate Employees Without Really Trying: The Lazy IT Pro's National Cyber Security Awareness Month Cheat Sheet

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It's National Cyber Security Awareness Month. And I get it. I can hear your eyes rolling from here.

Every month is National Cyber Security Awareness Month for you. Why should you care this year, when every year the past 13 years of this campaign has been around have been the same?

Well, for one thing because “the Cyber” is so hot right now.


From clickbait headlines to listicles to mainstream media, for the rest of this month the general public is going to hear all about the perils of being online in 2016.

Great, you’re thinking, that leaves me out of it. Someone else is educating all the Muggles for me.

Not so fast. Who do you think the non-security people at your company are going to contact when they have questions or concerns about all this scary and confusing cyber security awareness information they keep seeing on the news? You, that’s who. Your friends and family may already be getting in on the act, too. Even if they don’t understand what it is you do, they know you can help them. You have already been outed as their potential personal IT support contact.

So, what do you do? On one hand, you don’t want to lose the opportunity to pass along some helpful security advice that could potentially save you time and headaches in the long run. On the other hand, you’re busy enough as it is.

The Curious User's National Cyber Security Awareness Month Cheat Sheet


Click here to download a printable version

Keep users at arm’s length, literally, by handing out this handy dandy quick reference sheet of consumer-centric tips for cybersecurity awareness. Just let them know everything they need to know is right there, then bask in the glow of satisfaction that you did something to promote security with little effort. Gold star for you!

About These Resources

A lot of people worked really hard to make this information available in language that is clear and easy to understand. There's no translation from infosec into English needed.

The second great thing about these resources is that they cover cybersecurity questions that pertain to users’ personal lives, not just their work lives. That’s something that they might pay more attention to, and they could bring those good habits into work with them…making your life easier!

That’s why you should care about National Cyber Security Awareness Month and doing your part. Just direct people to the great resources available:

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is a 13-year old joint initiative from the National Cyber Security Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In conjunction with some corporate industry partners, together they created an awareness campaign that speaks directly to users on how to be safe online and have more targeted resources for educators, parents, and community advocates.

They have information on Facebook, Twitter (see also #NCSAM and #CyberAware), YouTube, and their website is filled with tip sheets and infographics.

The Department of Homeland Security has their own social media outlets as well. While not as robust as the “Stay Safe Online” site, they do have consumer-friendly information on Facebook and Twitter.

The U.S. agency responsible for protecting America’s consumer, the Federal Trade Commission, has a lot of useful information that is often overlooked. Hat tip to Jessy Irwin for pointing this out!

The FTC’s Privacy and Security page has a lot of resources ranging from privacy to credit reporting. Perhaps the most important page to direct people to for online awareness is the FTC’s site. Here, they have a checklist plan of action for people whose personal information was exposed in a data breach.

Now you don’t have to actively avoid security discussions and hide from people for the rest of this month. You can confidently talk to friends and family and coworkers, and when asked for online safety advice, you can simply hand over this sheet and consider it a job well done. ;-)

More about Tracy

As owner of Sherpa Intelligence LLC, Tracy provides competitive intelligence, strategic research, and social media consulting with a focus on tech and information security. Tracy was most recently the Library Resources Manager at Duane Morris LLP in Philadelphia. She earned a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She was the recipient of the Dow Jones Innovate Award and the Wolters Kluwer Law & Business Innovations in Law Librarianship Award. Tracy Tweets about security as @InfoSecSherpa

Tracy Z. Maleeff

Tracy Z. Maleeff

Tracy Z. Maleeff is the owner of Sherpa Intelligence LLC. She provides competitive intelligence, strategic research, and social media consulting with a focus on tech and information security.


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