Alterity Named Certified Cybersecurity Training Program by Texas Department of Information Resources

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In accordance with House Bill (HB) 3834 (86R), the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) reviewed the Alterity Cybersecurity Awareness Program and certified it for use by state and local government employees. Statewide training requirements mandate that annual cybersecurity awareness training must be completed by June 14, 2020. The Alterity Cybersecurity Awareness Program is a suite of topics that focus on raising awareness, communicating the reasons for change, and helping people alter the behaviors that put agencies and organizations at risk.

Alterity Cybersecurity Awareness Program

“This is a monumental step taken by the state of Texas. Organizations can have technologies in place to prevent and detect hacking attempts, but people are the weakest link in the security chain, so they must be educated on what different threats look like and how to respond.”

In accordance with House Bill (HB) 3834 (86R), the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) reviewed the Alterity Cybersecurity Awareness Program and determined that it meets the required criteria and is therefore certified for use by state and local government employees. The Alterity Cybersecurity Awareness Program is a suite of topics that focus on raising awareness, communicating the reasons for change, and helping people alter the behaviors that put agencies and organizations at risk.

The DIR consulted with the Texas Cybersecurity Council to certify cybersecurity training programs that, in accordance with the Texas Government Code Section 2054.519(b), “focus on forming information security habits and procedures that protect information resources; and teach best practices for detecting, assessing, reporting, and addressing information security threats.”

Statewide training requirements mandate that annual training must be completed by June 14, 2020 by employees of state agencies who use a computer for at least 25% of their required duties, as well as elected or appointed officers of the agency, and any employees of the local government who have access to a local government computer system or database, including elected officials. Contractors of state agencies who have access to a state computer system or database must also complete training during the term of the contract and during any renewal period.

“This is a monumental step taken by the state of Texas. Organizations can have technologies in place to prevent and detect hacking attempts, but people are the weakest link in the security chain,” said Gina Buser, CEO of Alterity. “People must be educated on what different threats look like and how to respond. Truly safeguarding data requires changes in peoples’ behaviors, and, for that, they need to understand why the change is important and how it affects them. That’s where Alterity comes in; that’s how we’re different.”

The Alterity Cybersecurity Awareness Program is based on proven change management and adult learning theories and focuses on creating and sustaining a culture of security within an organization. One-and-done security compliance training does little to change the behaviors of employees; you must provide a continuous stream of relevant, engaging security awareness education to keep the topic top of mind.

With Alterity, organizations get a full action plan and calendar of events for 12 months. Each topic covered includes eLearning videos, quickreads, podcasts and handouts so learners can choose to learn the way they prefer. Each module also contains a brief knowledge check to allow an organization to validate learning and track compliance. Using prebuilt learning paths, organizations can require completion within the first month or at specific times throughout the year.

With cyberattacks on the rise and hackers becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attempts, required training comes as no surprise. In fact, according to an August 2019 Newsweek report, 20 Texas government agencies were breached in a ransomware cyberattack. But this isn’t just a focus in Texas, the Budget of the US Government continues to place a high priority on cybersecurity and cyber operations and has requested more than $9.6 billion in 2020. The threats posed by those trying to gain access to the sensitive and private information stored and shared by government entities is real, and the training requirements imposed by the Texas DIR are a proactive approach to protecting this valuable data.

Learn more about the state’s legislation at https://dir.texas.gov/View-About-DIR/Information-Security/Pages/Content.aspx?id=154.

About Alterity
Alterity is a 100% women-owned company. We are a certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE) by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) and a certified Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) by the State of Texas. Our team of award-winning consultants, instructional designers and change managers are dedicated to bringing about lifelong behavioral changes that impact bottom lines. The Alterity Cybersecurity Awareness Program is based on Traveling Coaches OnGuard®, the award-winning security awareness program used by over 100,000 lawyers in the world’s largest law firms. Learn more about Alterity at https://alteritysolutions.com.

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Gina Buser
Alterity
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