Case study


The high-tech company Thales, which is known for its public transport gates at stations, called in Awareways to carry out a baseline measurement and to map out the existing level of information awareness. The company then deployed our communication campaign in a very creative way.

Awareways Baseline Measurement

At Thales, they know better than anyone how important information security is, and they are working on it a lot as an organization. “We sat down with Awareways at the beginning of last year because we wanted to know what the level of awareness around security and privacy was across the organization,” says Debby Hogeweg, Senior Internal Communications Officer at Thales. “The logical starting point, of course, was the baseline measurement.”

The results of the Awareways baseline measurement were generally positive, because security and privacy were certainly not new topics at Thales. “But it also provided some starting points for being able to dot the i’s and cross the t’s left and right.” A working group was immediately launched with representation from three departments: Communications, IT (ISD) and Country Security Management (CSM).

House style: Turn the final switch

Awareways then developed an internal awareness communication house style to draw attention to the most important subjects based on the Golden Rules throughout the organization. This campaign has the slogan ‘Turn the final switch’, in line with the results of the baseline measurement; the importance of information security is clearly already alive within the company, but on some points a final step can be taken. Information awareness and the right behavior on the work floor are after all two different things.

“There were explicitly no posters put up, because Thales maintains a ‘no-posters-policy’, so actions were deployed on the intranet and the company’s own digital news service, the Thales Connect app.” This is an app developed within Thales Netherlands, for communication about events and internal developments. You can also download this app as a consumer, for those who want to keep up to date with the latest news.

Test your strength

After we introduced the Awareness program and the internal house style, Thales took over the baton to further flesh out the communication process. For example, the working group kept coming up with new ways to continue working with the Golden Rules from one of the three departments. “For example, we have a lot of programs and accounts with passwords, and they have to be renewed every so often. So one of our rules is: use strong passwords, and store them in our preferred password manager.” The default password manager is available to everyone in the workplace.

I always use a password manager to store my strong passwords safely

> Even when I’m in a hurry

In many organizations – and also privately – coming up with a new, strong password all the time is a real hurdle (‘hassle!’), but at Thales we’ve taken a creative approach. “Colleague Roel from ISD deployed software himself to be able to test the strength. He used it to visit our locations to have employees check their own passwords, where he could then show which (super) computer needed a few days or perhaps even just a few seconds to crack the account. That proved to be a serious eye-opener for some, especially for colleagues who thought they already had a very secure password.”

Clean-desk policy

An even more inventive feat within this campaign came from the CSM department. Two desks with a red ribbon appeared in the atrium, as if it were a crime scene as known from television. Not announced, but simply placed like that. “Then, later in the day, colleagues stood by them to ask passers-by, ‘What do you think about this? What do you notice? What could be better?’ And, of course, this focused on our clean desk policy: never leave your information lying around.”

I never leave sensitive Thales information lying around

> Even when it’s only for a few minutes

“All the reactions then made it special. We have a lot of technicians, who are naturally very curious, so there was a lot of response. CSM itself received several notifications those days; ‘do you know that all kinds of sensitive information can be found in the atrium!'”

Awareways follow-up measurement

We have many more great examples, including an Escape Room Challenge around cybersecurity and a complete corporate video with do’s & don’ts for the workplace. “Awareways really gave us the tools to do this, we are very happy with our partnership. I can’t imagine that this effort won’t stick, because we’ve done so much with it and have been able to hang everything on the same recognizable hat rack.”

In December, Thales will start the Awareways follow-up measurement, so we’ll soon know what the effect of all this creativity has been – we’ll definitely come back to that!

Want to know more?

Want to know what AWAREWAYS can do for your organization? Then get in touch with Arthur Timmerman.


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