Meeting Global Security and Compliance Needs the Fun (and Effective!) Way at PwC

by | Jul 11, 2016 | Case Studies, Evidence for Change | 0 comments

This case study concentrates on one particular form of information security, one born from a lack of awareness of the consequences emerging from a lack of judgement of email attachments sent outside the organisation, leaving laptops without password access or even talking shop outside office hours in a public place. 

In recent years, there have been many examples where security breaches, either through computer hacking or accidental leaks that have led to a damaging loss of reputation and great financial loss. For a global organisation with many tens of thousands of employees the potential for security disaster within PwC was not an issue that its Exec Board was going to ignore.

The Challenge

50% of the worst security breaches in UK business last year were caused by inadvertent human error.

Take this scenario for example: imagine you are in a bar with a colleague after work. You both talk about the day job, but nothing too revealing. After a couple of drinks, you mentioned a client name when discussing the general subject of mergers.

A breach of confidence in a public place could lead to a significant reputational damage law suit, especially if the client in question was listed and the person informed used this information to make a profit on the stock market.

Managing risk is a key strategic priority for PwC’s Executive Board and senior management, and information security is central to the organisation’s ISO 27001 certification. Finding a safeguard that guaranteed compliance to this particular certification drove the organisation to come face-to-face with a mountain facing most compliance issues: how to engage staff in what is normally a dull tick box experience?

However, as we have already reported in our Reinvigorating Compliance Training in 2013, the question on many organisations’ ‘chapped lips’ is how to transform compliance and information security training that often resembles a cold, grey winter’s day into something that would be received with full engagement and interest? The challenge faced by PwC was to get everyone to review their way of doing things, not out of a sense of judgement and resentment but out of a sense of inspiration and genuine interest.

  • Challenge 1: To make the training truly engaging and memorable
  • Challenge 2: In order to achieve 100% compliance with over 17,000 partners and staff meant engaging a learner population with a wide variety of needs
  • Challenge 3: To overcome the barrier to learning centered on addressing awareness and understanding for those with time constraints were met with:

The Solution

PwC commissioned Brightwave to meet the challenge of ensuring everyone in the organisation knew the role they personally played in protecting information. It would be vital that the training would be enjoyable and memorable. To ensure that a sense of ‘Tigger’ and not ‘Eeyore’ (Winnie the Pooh) characterised the training, a measure of success was set regarding course feedback – an internal Global e-learning benchmark of 3.8 out of 5.0 was set.

The solution was a suite of immersive learning called Be Smart, Be Secure, which was created by bringing together innovative technology, storytelling and game mechanics. This innovative solution encompassed a truly interactive video simulation – five interwoven, video dramas following a week in the lives of three fictional PwC staff through a series of every-day scenarios at work, at home and in different social situations.

The Results

Objective 1 met: it was enjoyable!
Be smart. Be secure achieved the highest ever rating for a compliance course with 85% of respondents “felt the training was effective”.
Objective 2 met: it changed behaviour
Importantly, 86% of respondents agreed they “will be able to apply the skills and knowledge learnt in this training”.
Objective 3 met: 100% compliance
True testament to the success of the e-learning to ensure compliance, is the fact that all those required to complete the learning did so, inside the required time frame.
Business impact
It’s early days yet – you can’t change behaviours overnight. However, the early signs are encouraging and people are clearly reflecting on “moments that matter”.

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