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CREST launches good practice guide on delivering cyber security awareness

4 May 2023

CREST, a global community of cyber security businesses and professionals working to keep information safe in a digital world, has launched a practice guide that aims to improve how governments around the world deliver cyber security awareness programs. The guide provides practical advice to on how to effectively engage all communities through digital-first sustainable campaigns.

The new guide sets out a 5-step data driven planning process to target specific audiences based on aspects such as their region, language, the digital platforms and devices that they use.

“In today’s complex marketplace with the rise of digital platforms and an increasingly diverse and remote workforce, it is more difficult than ever before to create cyber security awareness,” said Rowland Johnson, president of CREST. “Research shows that cyber security awareness is far more successful when the message is targeted at the right people, in the right way. Our new guide provides advice on how to do this.”

Created by Engage Digital Partners, the aim of the guide is to help organisations around the world to better target the digital platforms used for creating awareness and engaging communities.  This will ensure that the message resonates and is relevant to the audience. For example, the report’s research revealed that areas such as Pakistan are more likely to use TikTok, whereas Facebook is most popular in Ethiopia.

CREST’s work highlights the urgent need for cyber security awareness to be more widely taught and more accessible. This is true of all countries but there is a particular urgency for some countries, for example, where people are getting access to online backing for the first time or those experience higher rates of cyber-attack.

The research found that traditional media for creating cyber security awareness does not meet today’s needs. It is essential governments inform and continually educate the online community to take action and remain safe.

The guide encourages this through four main pillars: inform, educate, entertain and convert and is a call to action.

“Community engagement needs to be an authentic and trusted ongoing dialogue with the community itself”, says Gregg Oldfield, CEO of Engage Digital Partners.

“Key here is the value of trust. Trusting the message is one of the most important things to achieve because it leads to a sense of belonging. The more campaigns can be localized, the better. If people hear things from their own community and influencers and creators within it, they are far more likely to believe it.

“Pretty much everything has moved to digital platforms in these emerging markets and social media has huge influence over the younger generation. Getting it right is all about making sure the messages are delivered to the right audience at the right time. It has to be compelling and concise to ensure they want to engage with it.” CREST received a US$1.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2020 to help increase cyber security capacity and resilience in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tanzania and Uganda. The free guide, along with the good practice guides produced as part of this work, is now available to download via CREST’s website.