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Who Let the Dogs Out? Cyber Security Challenge UK Unveils BYOD Dogs as the Winning Idea for Promoting Good Security Practices in the Workplace

Published: 06/11/12

Challenge unveils winners of BT and Get Safe Online competition to find creative ways of keeping small businesses informed on cyber security issues


The cyber security profession has a new four-legged furry foe to deal with in the fight against bad office security habits. The ‘Bring Your Own Device Dogs’ are the centre piece of a new public awareness campaign that could soon be appearing on posters and in educational material across UK offices following their creator’s success in the Cyber Security Challenge UK’s Can You Talk Security? Competition – devised by BT and Get Safe Online. As the competition’s first ever winner, Leo Pickford, an IT manager at a design company, won the opportunity to work with creative digital professionals and marketing experts to turn his idea into a nationwide campaign to be used in the new Get Safe Online for Business offering. The announcement will be made at a special awards ceremony at the BT Tower today.

The Cyber Security Challenge UK is a series of national competitions aiming to find talented people for, and raise awareness of, increasing job opportunities in cyber security. Currently in its third programme of competitions, Can you talk security? is the Challenge’s first to test competitors ability to communicate good security practise to others, rather than whether they can secure networks themselves.

The competition was launched in April this year to identify people with the creative communication skills currently in high demand by the cyber security profession. Competitors were asked to design a nationwide awareness campaign to help keep small businesses in the UK safe from cybercrime. Ideas were judged by a panel consisting of BT, Get Safe Online and the Cyber Security Challenge UK.

Before working in IT, Leo studied for a degree in design, communications and advertising. His idea took the form of a print campaign that used mischievous dogs as a metaphor for the security implications surrounding the growing culture of employees ignoring the security issues of using their own, unauthorised and often unsecure mobile devices at work – often referred to as ‘Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

“The dogs have good intentions but there is an element of unruliness to them and they are neither completely controllable nor uncontrollable. This makes them a good metaphor for the challenges surrounding BYOD,” says Leo.

In Leo’s campaign’ users are encouraged to manage the dangers of BYOD, represented by the dogs, through a series of tips and good security practise advice.

“I focused on BYOD because it is a really important staff education issue for my company where there is increasing demand from our design teams for more flexibility in their use of IT. When I first saw the competition I thought I should be good at this with my background, and then the pressure dawned that I had better come up with something good. I almost fell of my chair when I found out I had won.”

Dr Bob Nowill, Director Cyber & Information Assurance, BT Security, said: “We must educate the wider population on the role they need to play in securing our future. It is here that creative skills shown by people such as Leo in this competition will prove so invaluable. It only needs one brilliant idea to resonate with people across the country to make a huge difference to their own security and the UK’s as a whole.”

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online said: “Whilst general awareness is high about the need to prevent cybercrime and the billions of pounds it costs the UK economy, low public understanding of good security practices, especially in the office, is a major challenge. What we liked about Leo’s approach is that he took one of the key security issues that affects him in his working environment and tackled it in a way that he believed would speak best to his colleagues. We immediately saw the potential in his idea and I look forward to seeing the BYOD Dogs appearing in adverts of posters across a variety of formats.”

Stephen Sharpe, Head of Communications at Get Safe Online who worked with Leo to turn his idea into a professional campaign said: “We were delighted with Leo’s winning entry. As we look to launch the new improved Get safe Online for Business offering, ‘Bring Your Own Device’ is a great place to start. With Leo’s ideas working alongside our communications team we will be using the concept in our future campaigns.” 

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