An Overview of International Cyber-Security Awareness Raising and Educational Initiatives (2011)

1.3. Key Findings – Component 2 – Campaign evaluations

This component examined the only 2 initiatives (out of 68) where an evaluation had been conducted – plus 5 evaluations of similar campaigns in other fields (such as cyber-safety). This study is reporting on evaluations that are available and not evaluating campaigns per se.

This component of the research displayed that the number of public evaluations of campaigns, as a proportion of the number of campaigns conducted, appears to be low. As many Cyber-Security education and training initiatives are relatively new, a consensus as to the most effective initiatives has not yet emerged.

Many good practices, however, are being formed with some encouraging (although limited) evaluation results. Some useful lessons can be gained from an examination of the limited evaluations that are available.

Key findings concerning campaign evaluations include:

  • The evaluations highlight problems in developing Cyber-Security education and training campaigns that are both appropriate and cost-effective;
  • Host organisations find it challenging to evaluate the effectiveness of education and training initiatives – qualitative and quantitative metrics are difficult to put into place for such initiatives;
  • The most reliable evaluations of projects have involved a multi-process method whereby key performance indicators and metrics are in place before, during and after the project;
  • Many projects falsely assume that if a user acquires more information on Cyber-Security that this will automatically translate to more secure conduct online. The research demonstrates that this is not necessarily so. Websites, leaflets and other information-only style projects will have a limited impact if not followed with hands-on skills acquisition;
  • Where a project is information-only, television advertisements have been proven most effective in message dissemination;
  • The most successful projects are ones that integrate information with training and skill acquisition. Skill acquisition may take place through formal training programs, online quizzes, video games, and formal curriculum assessment; and
  • Many organisations have found the most cost-effective way to produce positive results is to keep a project simple and focused on a target group.