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State of Missouri Heightens Security Position with Security Awareness Training from Security Mentor

View the State of Missouri Case Study

Highly Positive Feedback on Security Mentor Security Awareness Training Across All State Agencies

"Since instituting the program, we have seen and felt a major shift in culture around security. We had a general sense of it before Security Mentor, but they took it to another level. Security Mentor not only trains our employees, they educate people."

Michael Roling, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for the State of Missouri

The Challenge

The State of Missouri recognized early on that employees play an important role in securing its most sensitive information. Its focus on helping government workers become more well-informed with security began in 2013, when the State of Missouri initiated a program to teach its employees how to recognize vulnerabilities and protect against both internal and external threats. But there were issues from the start.

“Although the program content was fine, we soon learned that there were some serious issues with how it was presented,” said Michael Roling, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), State of Missouri. “Once the program was instituted, we didn’t like that the user just sits there and only needed to take a quiz at the end. This was a major issue for us. Employees weren’t paying attention or changing their actions. As far as we know they were bored and not actually learning anything. For these reasons, we needed engagement. We needed training that was more interactive. We needed to make an immediate change.”

“Additionally, our previous training was done only once a year and this was not effective at all. The content that our employees were looking at was not provided often enough. If the content isn’t fresh, it doesn’t remain front and center in the employee’s minds,” he said.

With techniques such as spear phishing and social engineering on the rise, the State of Missouri decided to take its awareness training to the next level. To do this, they needed the industry’s most effective security awareness training and education program.

“Our employees can have a major impact in fighting cyber-attacks. But, in order for them to really change their behaviors, we needed to make security awareness education part of our corporate culture. We needed to find a comprehensive, collaborative, ongoing program that was engaging, fun and always up-to-date,” said Roling.

The Solution

In the July of 2015, the State of Missouri selected Security Mentor as its security awareness training and education program provider of choice.

The State reviewed a number of vendors, according to Roling. With some he found that their training was text-based and boring. Others relied on video, which raised a number of concerns. “Employees can start a video, leave the room, do other work, or simply do nothing at all. There was no way for us as an organization to guarantee they’re watching or actually learning anything,” he said. “We also felt that with those training programs, our employees would view security training as a burden and this was the last thing that we wanted. Training should be beneficial, not a burden or just a requirement.”

Security Mentor’s training was different and exactly what the State was looking for. “Security Mentor addresses cybersecurity awareness in a very innovative, graphical and interactive way. The training sessions tell an engaging story and use gamification features to make the user an active participant,” Roling noted.

“Since instituting the program, we have seen and felt a major shift in culture around security. We had a general sense of it before Security Mentor, but they took it to another level. Security Mentor not only trains our employees about security, they educate people to be more proactively aware of potential security risks. It’s the interactivity and delivery method that is the secret sauce that Security Mentor has that separates them from the competition,” he said.

Utilizing Security Mentor’s award-winning approach, selected as a best practice by the National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) and the National Governor’s Association (NGA) in their Michigan implementation, the State of Missouri benefits from brief, focused and enjoyable training that will help make employee learning more interactive and engaging.

After successfully piloting Security Mentor’s program with a small group of employees, the State of Missouri began rolling out lessons to more than 40,000 employees and contractors state-wide in July 2015. Today, Security Mentor’s training is a vital part of the State’s security risk management program. “Our end users have become our greatest asset when it comes to proactive security, raising potential threats to us,” said Roling.

“We are excited to continue our partnership in the future. In the coming year, we will certainly be adding new lessons and we are excited to see where Security Mentor will be taking its training program moving forward. Security Mentor clearly understands education and how it can be delivered. This is one of their most significant selling points. Anyone who compares Security Mentor to the competition should take a firsthand look at Security Mentor’s training in action and they’ll understand why, simply put, there is no better offering available today,” he said.


Security Mentor’s awareness training has been extremely well-received and is helping Roling’s team reach its goal of making the State of Missouri a model and national leader in cybersecurity.

Lowered Risk

According to Roling, Security Mentor has lowered the State of Missouri’s end user risk across the board. “Our end users have become the best detection system that we have in our security stack. As we have been making them more aware, they are uncovering more,” he said. “Our end users are not afraid to let us know about concerns they are finding. Security Mentor has really brought down any communication barrier there may have been in the past.”

Improved Security Posture

By focusing the training on security threats that people experience in their everyday lives, and creating insightful and engaging lessons that promote interactive learning, Security Mentor is helping State of Missouri employees become much more security savvy. “I’m ecstatic with the progress I’ve seen thanks to this program. Security Mentor is clearly helping enhance the overall security posture of the State of Missouri,” Roling said.

Passionate Employees

Eight months after its rollout, more than 85% of employees have participated in Security Mentor training. That’s a huge achievement, according to Roling. “Security Mentor is different than anything I’ve seen before. Once we switched to Security Mentor, we received compliments for the first time ever from our employees on our security awareness training.”

Simple, Powerful Administration

“With our previous training program, the set up process was painful. We lost hours of time on the phone with the support team, just getting the program in place. It has been a completely different experience with Security Mentor. No longer do I have to repurpose staff hours to focus in on whether or not our security training program is working. I can devote precious time to other things. Establishing a partnership with a company like Security Mentor to lighten our burden has been amazing. The entire Security Mentor support staff has been absolutely outstanding,” he said.

In fact, Roling says “One of the biggest benefits of Security Mentor’s training is that employees can take what they’ve learned and apply it to both their personal and professional life. A number of our employees have asked how they can use Security Mentor’s security awareness training outside the organization.”

The State of Missouri has also had many inquiries from other government organizations that want to benefit from Security Mentor’s program. “We have let other state organizations know how easy and beneficial Security Mentor has been for us. Moving forward, we plan to expand the program to other organizations within the State of Missouri. Hopefully they will jump on board as quickly as we did,” noted Roling.

To learn more about how Security Mentor's security awareness training can help your business, contact 831.656.0133 or , or visit

About Security Mentor

Security Mentor’s groundbreaking and award-winning security awareness training elevates security and compliance by transforming your workforce into security savvy employees. With only 10 minutes/month, our interactive, highly engaging lessons teach critical security skills in an easy-to-understand, fun format that drives real behavior change. The result: an engaged staff that values security. Security Mentor’s training is available as a cloud-based service from Security Mentor with username/password authentication or Federated Single Sign-on (SSO), or as SCORM 1.2 compliant modules for use on an organization’s own Learning Management System (LMS). Incorporated in 2008, Security Mentor has customers ranging from Fortune 500 enterprises to local and state governments.