Category Archives: Internet Safety

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Tree Roots

Security Awareness and the Wind in the Trees

Category:EDUCAUSE,Higher Education,Information Security,Internet Safety,Security Awareness

Tree Roots

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Security Awareness and the Wind in the Trees

Winds and Stress Wood

In the 1990s, Space Biosphere Ventures constructed Biosphere 2. The biosphere was occupied by a crew of researchers for a two-year period, investigating whether they could be sustained only by food grown within the dome. The researchers grew many types of plants in their quest to develop a self-sustaining environment. One of the surprising results from their efforts was that as many of the trees grew they suffered from a lack of “stress wood.” A tree grows stress wood to strengthen its roots and structure in response to winds. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2)

Strong Roots

Many writers have drawn analogies between the importance of trees having strong roots (roots which are a form of stress wood), and the need for people to have strong roots to overcome adversity. I thought it would be interesting to look at this stress wood phenomena in the context of security awareness. I’m a security awareness practitioner in higher education. I take the complexities of good cybersecurity practices and recast them for my audience, doing the work of a technical communicator by explaining complex concepts and making them relevant and actionable to my audience.

Application

In many ways, effective security awareness has the same effect on the development of strong roots in people that winds have on trees. Without steady winds, trees don’t develop roots and will topple from strong gusts. Without a steady light wind of security awareness education, our communities won’t withstand the gusts of cyberattacks. Security awareness programs must communicate steadily to their communities what members need to know–not only how to recognize and respond to specific cyberthreats, but good daily security practices.

Effective security awareness has the same effect on the development of strong roots in people that winds have on trees. Without steady winds, trees don't develop roots and will topple from strong gusts. Without a steady light wind of… Click To Tweet

To help our community members develop strong roots we need a programmatic approach to security awareness. It’s not enough to just communicate about specific cyberattacks (gusts) as they occur. We must embed good security practices into our culture. Good security practice must become habitual. Our end users must develop strong roots to face the adversity of cyberattacks.

To help our end users develop strong roots we need a programmatic approach to security awareness. It’s not enough to just communicate about specific cyberattacks (gusts) as they occur. Click To Tweet

We must strive to embed good security practices into our culture. Good security practice must become habitual. Our people must develop strong roots to face the adversity of cyberattacks. Click To Tweet

For several years, I’ve led a preconference workshop to my peers on developing a security awareness plan at the EDUCAUSE Security Professionals Conference, sometimes by myself, other times with a skilled co-presenter. This year, Tara Schaufler, Information Security Awareness and Training Program Manager at Princeton University, and I will be presenting Know Which Way the Wind Blows: Security Awareness that Soars. We’ll help attendees build a strategic plan and determine how to implement that plan so that their communities have that steady wind of security awareness communications.

Wind in the Trees

I think the analogy of wind in the trees works for security awareness education. Growing roots is a good way to articulate the results and culture change we should expect from a good security awareness program. Decorating the tree through a specific security awareness campaign may be eye-catching. It’s great to leverage the damage from gusts of cyberattacks to teach key concepts. However, it’s the steady breeze that will make the biggest difference for our communities.

It's great to leverage the gusts of cyberattacks to teach key concepts. However, it's the steady breeze that will make the biggest difference for our communities. Click To Tweet


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Ben Woelk Speaking Schedule–Spring 2019

Category:EDUCAUSE,Information Security,Internet Safety,Introverted Leadership,Leadership,Lessons Learned,Schedule,Uncategorized

Spring 2019 Speaking Schedule

Here’s my virtual and in-person schedule. I hope to see many of you.

Don’t forget to listen to the Hope for the Introvert podcast!

 

Schedule

Date Event Topic Format More information
30 January Southwestern Ontario Webinar The Introvert in the Workplace: Becoming an Influencer and Leader Webinar
31 January Content Wrangler A Tale of Two Podcasts Webinar With Allie Proff. Register today!
6 February STC NYC Metro Lessons Learned on an Introvert’s Journey to Leadership Webinar
23-24 March CPTC Training Class at RIT CPTC Training Training Class Rochester Institute of Technology
25 March STC Rochester Spectrum Conference Leadership Opportunities May be Closer Than They Appear Presentation Rochester. With Sara Feldman
25 March STC Rochester Spectrum Conference Closing Keynote: Building the Next Gen Technical Communicator Presentation Rochester. Spectrum website
9 April TNConX webinar series TBD Presentation Webinar
5 May STC Summit Conference Leadership Opportunities May be Closer Than They Appear Presentation Denver. With Sara Feldman
7 May STC Summit Conference A Tale of Two Podcasts Presentation Denver. With Allie Proff
13 May EDUCAUSE Security Professionals Conference Know Which Way the Wind Blows: Security Awareness that Soars Preconference Seminar Chicago. With Tara Schaufler
15 May EDUCAUSE Security Professionals Conference Considerations for Security Awareness and Inclusive Design Presentation Chicago. With Tara Schaufler
22 May Genesee Valley Chapter SHRM monthly meeting Cybersecurity and HR Presentation Rochester

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I’m a keynote speaker at the TCUK 2018 Conference!

Category:Internet Safety,Introverted Leadership,Leadership,techcomm Tags : 

TCUK BannerI’m thrilled and honored to be one of the keynote speakers at TCUK 2018 in September. Technical Communication UK is the annual conference of the  ISTC (Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators). The conference venue is the De Vere Hotel at the Staverton Estate in Daventry, Northamptonshire, England. I’ve been interested in attending the conference for several years–being asked to keynote was an unexpected blessing.

Theme and Programme

The 2018 conference theme is “The Pursuits of the Polymath” (programme). Polymath isn’t a word we use often in the United States. A polymath is a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning. Quoting from the TCUK website:

The theme concentrates on the many different skills that technical communicators bring to the profession, so as to support the needs of a diverse and growing clientele.

My role as a technical communicator includes skills in leadership, technical communication, and cybersecurity.

I’ll be speaking three times at the conference, providing the opening keynote about my  Journey to Leadership as an Introvert, facilitating a workshop on Temperament-based Strategies for the Workplace, and wrapping up with a discussion of Digital Self Defence: Staying Safe Online. Yes, I’ll be busy, but I’m excited to share my passions with my European colleagues.

European Perspectives

I’m looking forward to hearing a non-North American perspective on the work we do as technical communicators. Although there are shared challenges, there are also differences! Many of our European colleagues are doing exciting cutting-edge work around Information 4.0, AI, and molecular content, aspects of which are becoming more and more a part of our everyday lives. I’m also expecting some interesting discussions with the ISTC folk about the challenges they and STC face as non profit organizations.

I’m eagerly anticipating meeting a number of friends face-to-face, whom I’ve followed and chatted with over the course of my career. We’ve often rued the fact that we haven’t had that opportunity. Now we will!

Do you have plans the last week of September? If not, join us at TCUK! I look forward to sharing my TCUK experiences in the Hope for the Introvert podcast series.


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What’s in a Name (and a Price)

Category:Information Security,Infosec Communicator,Internet Safety,mobile device,password,Privacy,Social Networking

Shockproofing CISSPI’ve changed the subtitle of my Kindle eBook on using social media safely to better communicate the subject matter. I’ve also lowered the price point to $0.99. The book sold reasonably well during the week-long reduce price promotion as a Kindle Countdown book, so I’ve reduced the price.

Thank you to my reviewers for providing their impressions of the book. Authoring and self publishing has been an interesting experience. I found my conversations with Guy Kawasaki and his APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur to be especially helpful.

Nick Francesco is doing well with his Your Guru Guide submissions. I recommend checking them out if you’re interested in Chromebooks or how to best leverage Google Docs.

What would you like to see for my next eBook?


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