Martine van de Merwe and Chris Karelse

Editor's Note: Martine van de Merwe and Chris Karelse are speakers for the upcoming Security Awareness Summit 6/7 December in London. Below they give an overview of their talk on Building Your Own Awareness Community. We all have that experience where it was better if we connected more and earlier with other security awareness professionals. It is easy said that a community of awareness professionals can help with new ideas and practical feedback, to name a few. But how do you start your own local community, what is the value of this community and how do you activate involvement? It is our strong belief that the security awareness profession in the Netherlands can improve a lot by sharing knowledge and experience, online and offline. So we started the community  "Security Awareness NL" in autumn 2015. The community has reached over 440 members and is still growing. A lot of lessons can be learned that can help by building your own awareness community:

Where to Start:

  • We started by inviting our online (LinkedIn) network. We’re working without money: meeting rooms and catering for our events were all sponsored.

Successes and Mistakes:

  • Our successes: around fifty members visiting multiple events, debate evening, award, manifesto, online exposure and business opportunities.
  • Mistakes and problems: At cyber security awareness month in 2016 we 'spammed' the community with daily messages. The community is depending on few driving forces. Online engagement is quite low.

Future Challenges.

  • Activate new volunteers
  • Increase engagement further
  • Balance between holding on and letting go

We are very much inspired by working with the community and we look forward to transfer this inspiration to the international community. We are full of plans when we look at the future of the community. At the European Security Awareness Summit we will elaborate on our mistakes, successes, future challenges and the always direct feedback from our Dutch colleagues. We will work towards a practical and easy to use roadmap, including a guide to proven successful events you can copy in your own network. Be aware, after our talk you might want to start your own local Awareness community, hope to see you there!  

BIOsMartine van de Merwe believes privacy is essential to freedom. People are key to ensure privacy. In 2014 Martine has decided to focus on information security culture in healthcare and has started PrivacyLab: “Care for privacy. Privacy for healthcare.” With years of experience in IT advisory and IT auditing Martine knows what she is talking about. She developed the PrivacyLab framework for privacy culture and awareness with six phases to help healthcare organizations to work effectively on an information security culture. Martine is a co-founder of the Dutch security awareness community Security Awareness NL (over 400 members and counting). Martine has been named a security awareness leader by SANS and received the award Security Culture Person of the Year 2017.

Chris Karelse is passionate about the human,  soft tech part in security. This passion brought Chris to develop multiple courses on security awareness and the human factor in security for various academies and organizations. Chris has been evaluated multiple times as best teacher.  Chris previously worked as a senior training consultant and change manager. Since 2014 Chris is working in the Security & Intelligence department of ABN AMRO Bank. Chris is founder of the Dutch security awareness community Security Awareness NL (over 400 members and counting). Chris received the award Security Culture Person of the Year 2017.