Information Security Awareness (January 2024)

State policy mandates that every state employee receive annual cybersecurity awareness training. To aid that effort, OCS this year is rolling out a new, enhanced awareness program that will include required and optional video modules by InfoSec IQ and a monthly newsletter, just to list a few components.

An information security awareness program plays a crucial role in the overall security posture of the state. Here are some key advantages and reasons for implementing such a program:
  1. Building a security culture: When employees know the importance of information security, they are more likely to take it seriously and adhere to policies and procedures. Training provides employees with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves and the state from digital threats. This can also enhance personal security practices outside of work. Employees are also more likely to recognize and report security incidents promptly, which is crucial for rapid incident response and mitigation.
  2. Reduction in security breaches: Educating employees about security best practices reduces the likelihood of security incidents. Awareness programs train individuals to recognize phishing attempts, suspicious activities and other threats, mitigating the risk of data breaches and cyberattacks.
  3. Compliance with regulations: Some agencies are governed by regulations that mandate a certain level of security awareness training (the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services Division, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, etc.). An awareness program helps ensure the state complies with these legal requirements, avoiding fines and legal repercussions.
  4. Cost Savings: Security incidents can be expensive, not just in terms of potential fines and legal costs but also in damage control. An effective awareness program can be a cost-effective strategy to prevent such expenses.
  5. Adaptability to emerging threats: Regularly updated awareness programs keep employees informed about the latest security threats and trends. This enables them to adapt to the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape, such as the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI).

In summary, an information security awareness program is a key element of a broader risk management strategy, helping to identify, assess, and mitigate potential security risks before they escalate into serious issues.

Ralph Johnson

State Chief Information Security Officer