Security analogies: the key to educating laymen

SecurityFocus columnist Scott Granneman has recently published a fantastic article explaining how IT professionals should use analogies to explain computer security concepts to non-IT people.

The answer boils down to language. We have to learn to speak to quote-unquote normal people about computers and security in a manner that they can understand and that will inspire them to act in a responsible manner. This really hit home for me when I was reviewing a podcast to see if it would be suitable for my students.

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I’d also like to point our readers to a new website that Mr. Granneman has launched: Securityanalogies.com. Securityanalogies.com has been built as a Wiki and has the main goal of helping security and IT pros. explain complicated security concepts to the masses. The Wiki can be edited by anybody, so if you can help enrich its content, you are welcome to do so.

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5 Responses to Security analogies: the key to educating laymen

  1. Sometimes, the analogies are a lot simpler than they might seem. For example, when explaining the difference between hard disk space and memory, I use the analogy of physical desk space (how much can you work on at one time) vs desk drawers (how much stuff can you store).

    Even though my comment doesn't relate to security per se, it is important nonetheless. The key to being a good communicator is to do speak the language of your audience…otherwise, the person you are teaching will just get frustrated and will most likely not learn anything.

    Good article!

    • If you think this article was good, try to read some of his other stuff on SecurityFocus.. they're all extremely well written and very informative…

  2. Sometimes, the analogies are a lot simpler than they might seem. For example, when explaining the difference between hard disk space and memory, I use the analogy of physical desk space (how much can you work on at one time) vs desk drawers (how much stuff can you store).

    Even though my comment doesn’t relate to security per se, it is important nonetheless. The key to being a good communicator is to do speak the language of your audience…otherwise, the person you are teaching will just get frustrated and will most likely not learn anything.

    Good article!

    • If you think this article was good, try to read some of his other stuff on SecurityFocus.. they’re all extremely well written and very informative…

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