Security Awareness Blog

Guest Post - Awareness Through Gamification - #SecAwareSummit

Editor's Note: This is a guest Blog Post from Jonathan Homer, a member of Idaho National Laboratory Cyber Security Division and runs their SecAware team. Below is a description of his upcoming talk on "Awareness Through Gamification" at the Security Awareness Summit 10 Sep in Dallas.

When developing training materials we strive to create clear, concise communications based on logic and simplicity. We put tremendous effort into creating training which is understood and retained. And yet time and time again, attendees sleep through training classes and violate principles taught the same day.

In contrast, Hollywood focuses on entertainment, a model where we pay money to sit in uncomfortable seats in a dark room eating stale, overpriced popcorn. And yet we memorize famous lines, talk about the experience for weeks to come, and, most important for this conversation, we imitate the behaviors of our favorite heroes, villains, and heroines. While sometimes today's movies introduce bad behaviors, more often the principles taught do more to define our actions than the classrooms of our educators.

Leveraging the power of entertainment and audience engagement has developed into a technique known as gamification. This method of learning is both highly effective and retentive, yet has been slow in adoption due to a perception of high cost. During the time we have together, we'll take a look at several inexpensive implementations of gamification which we have deployed at INL and seen excellent results. Escaping the bounds of static presentation slides and computer-based tutorials, gamification offers invigoration to stalled employee engagement and renewed excitement about security within the workplace.

Bio: Jonathan Homer is a member of the Cyber Security division of Information Management (IM) at Idaho National Laboratory. He specializes in organizational change management, disparate data reconciliation and analysis, and incident response. Jon is well known for his communication skills and is the author of the nationally renowned "Who's In Your PC?" security awareness campaign, the comedic "Murder at INL" educational activity, and the "Neutron Works" end-user utilization initiative. He currently runs the SecAware team, a cross-cutting organization responsible for the awareness activities from five different security-related departments at INL. He also leads the Organizational Change Management team within INL's Information Management directorate. Previous to working in the government sector, Jon spent nearly 10 years as a consultant and IT business owner, focusing on communications and networking convergence as well as internet and digital telecommunications architecture.