Salesforce, a leading cloud computing company decided to address security problems thanks to gamification. This method was adopted as a way of addressing employees not taking security seriously. The purpose was to increase awareness regarding security issues and change some behaviors.
According to Patrick Heim, chief trust officer at Salesforce, the number of employees likely to click on a phishing link in an email was reduced by half after 18 months. The number of employees likely to report a phishing email went up by 82%. It is estimated that anywhere between 30 to 60% of employees typically fall victims to these emails prior to receiving training. The progresses reported by Salesforce are non-negligible.
Salesforce established some clear goals for their gamification training:
- Increasing awareness regarding phishing emails
- Getting employees to be more careful regarding intrusions, tailgaiting and badge surfing (people entering a protected area by following someone with a badge)
- Encouraging developers to patch and update software when needed and to report bugs and security flaws in the code
- Getting everyone to use stronger passwords
- Increasing awareness regarding lost or unattended USB sticks with potentially sensitive data on them
- Encouraging employees to attend security seminars
A lot of businesses do not consider gamification as serious and do not feel that this approach can yield good results. However, Salesforce adopted an approach based on active feedback and rewarded employees with points, badges, prizes and with recognition. The program used by Salesforce included some clearly defined goals:
- Providing optional security training
- Getting everyone to report phishing emails
- Preventing tailgaiting and badge surfing
Participation in this program was not mandatory. Gamification allowed Salesforce employees to learn in a safe environment. Employees became more likely to report security issues because they were rewarded for this behavior instead of feeling that they might get in trouble or have to take responsibility for the problem.
The right gamification program can help you achieve your goals. You should get help from professionals who have some experience with this approach to clearly define your goals and implement some strategies that are relevant for your business.