Case Study – Restricted Intelligence Series 1 Project Overview & Recommendations RETS Communications

Arnold Felberbaum

Project Overview

Goal:  Raise employee awareness on how to safeguard company information
Audience:  28,500 Reed Elsevier employees
Sponsor:  Reed Elsevier IT Security & Compliance (Arnie Felberbaum, CSO)
Communication Lead:  RETS Communications
Content:  Series 1:  Restricted Intelligence, a six-part video series developed by Twist and Shout Ltd. UK

Campaign Goal

As the world-leading publisher and information provider to scientists, legal, government, business and medical professionals, Reed Elsevier’s continued success and positive brand image depends on highly secure systems, policies and practices.  The goal of our campaign was to raise employee awareness about the importance of IT security practices in the workplace and to reaffirm RE’s commitment to providing secure systems for our customers and our stakeholders.


As traditional awareness programs can get old quickly and consume a significant amount of time to create, we were looking for a creative and efficient way to meet our goal.    In today’s digital world it is apparent that short messages (e.g., delivered within three minutes) covering at most three concepts are effective, while with longer and more complex concepts people can lose the message. For example, YouTube is successful because they use short segments. And we know that historically, humour works well.  Computer-based training can sometimes be boring and since we did not have the resources to create a training module, we found that Twist & Shout met our criteria.

Campaign Development

Twist & Shout Communications, Ltd., who had created over 50 IT security films, came up with the idea of an off-the-shelf sitcom-like video series about general security awareness practices that departmental budgets (and smaller companies) could afford. They spent a year approaching a number of corporate firms with the idea, building a consortium to facilitate its creation.  Their end product was a campaign in a box that included the Restricted Intelligence video series which they wrote and edited, a rollout plan, campaign logo and printed materials that could be branded and used for any type of business.

Internal Communications Role

The RETS Internal Communications team took the lead for the campaign.  Because email and the intranet are the preferred communication channels for RE employees, we decided to use these channels to distribute campaign teasers and links to the videos.  We created a campaign plan and timeline.

We then enlisted the communication teams across the business to roll out the campaign over a six-month period.  Twist & Shout had recommended that each episode be released two weeks apart; however, we agreed with our communications colleagues to space them a month apart due to the volume of communications already planned for our time period.    We tailored the “campaign in a box” to reflect the RE brand, which included ready to print posters, and created additional email messages, intranet teasers, and digital signage.

We also created a Restricted Intelligence (RI) home page on the corporate intranet, which housed links to the videos and negated the necessity for each business unit to store the content.  Each communication team was responsible for their respective rollouts; they managed their own email promotions and linked employees to their home page.  Some business units shared the videos in town halls and other events.  We monitored the campaign and provided occasional updates to keep the momentum going.

Business Results

The overwhelmingly positive results of our campaign survey indicate this program was an effective approach for raising employee awareness of digital security.  The campaign was not designed to quantify employee knowledge of security best practices; however, we can presume the business will benefit from broader use of the security practices promoted by the campaign.  Due to the effectiveness of the series and the positive survey results, INFOSEC has asked RETS Communications to participate in a  case study of the campaign to be promoted at their INFOSEC exhibition in the Spring of 2014.


  • Proceed with Series 2 beginning 2Q 2014
  • Partner with RE communication teams to review survey results and improve program rollout for 2014; expand promotional channels if feasible

Challenges and Lessons Learned

Our biggest challenge was to communicate to a decentralized audience with multiple channels of communication—four businesses and a corporate entity. We achieved this by customizing the campaign-in-a-box as described above and collaborating with our communications counterparts in each of our businesses.  We held a kick-off meeting to present the campaign plan, share some of the video content, invite feedback and gain commitment to our approach and timeline.  The communications teams were extremely interested in participating, always looking for fresh content to bring employees to their respective intranets.  This challenge was not as formidable as feared due to the immediate buy-in and collaboration by these teams.

Our number one lesson learned was that we needed to better coordinate the campaign promotions.  Visibility of the campaign logo and episode teasers was inconsistent across our intranets, and we needed to provide clearer instructions to facilities managers about the placement of the printed posters at our company sites around the globe.

The post-campaign survey provided  several suggestions:

  • Many employees said the episodes (which were released every 4-5 weeks) were too far apart and thus lost momentum.  The average suggestion was to release a new episode every 2 weeks.
  • Load the video series into Yammer so users would not have to click so many times on the intranet to view.
  • Provide an alert option to let employees know when a new episode was released.

Measurement to Determine Success and Effectiveness

Our goal was to have 14,250 visits views of the video series over the course of the campaign, or 50% of our workforce visit at least once.  We exceeded this goal in that his page had 24,600 views.  In addition, The Restricted Intelligence homepage was one of the top 10 news pages on our corporate intranet in 2013.

For the post-campaign survey, our goal was a 3% participation rate and we achieved 3.4%.

Survey November 6-20, 2013 | Results


976  Entries (3.4% return)| 963 names submitted for Kindle| 412 written comments (98% positive)| 24,625 intranet views


Arnold Felberbaum Statement on Campaign Success

“I have received significant feedback from people regarding this awareness campaign.  Overwhelming feedback tells me that this is an excellent way to deliver security awareness.  The best compliment was “when is Season 2 going to be available?”

Arnold Felberbaum joined Reed Elsevier in 2007 as the Chief IT Security and Compliance Officer. His is responsible for the IT security and compliance program across the entire company. The security program includes: IT security policies and standards, IT security governance risk and compliance, standard security controls, data protection and the corporate security awareness program. Arnold is also an Adjunct Professor at New York University where he teaches Information Security Management. Over his career he has held managerial positions in security, computer operations, network operations and software development for Citibank, Goldman Saks and AIG. Arnold has been responsible for global data centers and networks that provided connectivity, business applications and support to over 130,000 employees and millions of customers. He also served as the CIO for corporate functions such as Treasury, Financial Services and Human Resources.

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