Brandon Green
Senior Solutions Architect
March 15, 2024

Build a Cybersecurity Powerhouse: How to Launch a Successful Security Champion Program


  • Security Champions are like your cybersecurity sidekicks embedded in every department, making security a shared responsibility.
  • A well-structured Security Champion Program can help reduce cyber risks, improve security habits, and build a positive security culture.
  • This blog is your blueprint for building a successful Security Champion Program – get essential tips and practical tactics.

Why Bother with Security Champions?

Picture this: you're swamped, your cybersecurity team is stretched thin, and that nagging feeling about another potential phishing attack just won't go away. Security Champions are your reinforcements. They help you build a cybersecurity-conscious culture from within. 

Let's explore why that matters:

They extend your reach: Your security team has superpowers, but they can't clone themselves. Champions multiply your security presence and act as on-the-ground advocates for good security practices. 

  • How?: Start by embedding one champion per department, focusing on high-risk areas first. 

Security becomes a habit: Champions make security a part of daily conversations and workflows, not just another checkbox on a task list.

  • How? Encourage them to include quick security reminders in regular team meetings.

They understand the frontlines: Champions offer insights into their team's habits and risks, tailoring security solutions to fit their department's specific needs.  

  • How? Have them hold informal "security pulse checks" to identify weak spots in team workflows. 

They create positive vibes: Champions help change attitudes towards security from being a nuisance to a shared collective responsibility. 

  • How? Have them run mini quizzes and reward those who get security concepts right.

Ingredients of a Winning Security Champion Program

There's no one-size-fits-all solution, but here are the essentials:

Leadership Buy-In: Explain the benefits in terms of risk reduction and company culture. A top-down endorsement is critical for long-term success.  

  • How? Provide leadership with a quick metrics dashboard that showcases measurable benefits (e.g., drop in phishing victims after a focused campaign).

Define Your Goals: Be specific. Do you want to reduce successful phishing attacks? Improve incident response within departments? Secure sensitive data? Your program needs a clear focus.

  • How? Use recent security incidents relevant to your company as examples to drive the point home.

Finding the Right People: Look for individuals who are naturally curious about security, great communicators, and influential within their teams.  

  • How? Tap into team managers to identify those who are enthusiastic about tech and problem-solving. 

Incentives Matter: Consider training opportunities, certifications, special recognition, or even fun "security swag"  as rewards.  

  • How? Partner with HR to include Champion contributions in performance reviews.

Knowledge is Power: Partner with your security team for tailored training, provide readily available resources (think cheat sheets, best practices guides), and encourage knowledge sharing.  

  • How? Turn key security tips into posters or infographics that can be displayed around the workplace.

Implementation Action Plan

Let's move from planning to action:

Your Mission Statement: Write a short, actionable statement summarizing your program's focus and desired outcomes. Keep it visible to keep everyone aligned.

  • How? Display the mission statement on company intranet or in break rooms.

Recruiting Champions: Decide on volunteer-based, manager-nominated, or a combination approach. Transparency about expectations is key.

  • How? Include a section on the security champion role during new employee onboarding.

Create a Training Roadmap: Start with security essentials, and build from there. Partner with your security team for hands-on sessions if resources allow.

  • How? Hold mock phishing exercises with champions to make the risks tangible.

Communication Channels: Whether a dedicated chat platform or regular meetings, communication allows champions to share insights and collaborate.

  • How? Create a "security kudos" channel to highlight everyday security wins.

Measure Impact: Determine how you'll track success. Reduced phishing clicks, incident reports from employees, or  improved department-level security scores are possible indicators.

  • How? Use simple surveys to get a feel for how security awareness is changing across the organization.

Keep the Momentum Going

Review and Refine: Gather regular feedback from champions and stakeholders.

Highlight Success Stories: Acknowledge champion successes! 

Add Flair with Gamification: Make security awareness engaging with quizzes, friendly competitions, and badges. 

Adapt and Adjust: The threat landscape is always changing. Keep your program nimble and adapt your champion training to match.

Download the Security Champions Guide for even further advice on how to execute your initiative successfully.