Holistic Security - Demonstrating the interconnectedness

From Gender and Tech Resources

Title of the tutorial Introduction to Holistic Security
Kind of learning session Holistic
Tutorial category Discussion
Duration (hours) 1
Learning objectives Be able to identify various elements (digital, physical, psychosocial) and their interconnectedness in a practical scenario on security management.

Active recognition of the subjectivity and emotional dimensions of security; awareness and inclination to act on security and taking it seriously.

Prerequisites The session plan constitutes a scene setter/grounding exercise at the beginning of a training (possibly followed by collecting expectations, making agreements etc.)
Methodology [[Methodology::Methodology:

Activity & Discussion Demonstrating the interconnectedness (20 minutes)

Step 1. Participants are given the following scenario either on paper or projected via a screen.

Olga Alekseevna [can change name] is a human rights defender travelling to attend a conference abroad. She is going to present a report on the situation of human rights in her country. She is travelling with some equipment including her telephone, computer and her USB flash drive, which contains some drafts of her report. She hopes to finish the draft once she arrives. She is travelling alone, and when she goes to the airport and arrives at customs, she is approached by officials who do not identify themselves. They ask her directly whether she has any "digital devices" with her. She is surprised and nervous and since she does not understand what "digital devices" means, she answers "no". They then ask her to put her bag through an X-ray scanner, and discover a USB flash drive in her bag. She is then asked to take the flash drive from her bag and hand it over to them. Olga thinks about challenging them and telling them they had no right to take her device, however she is not sure in this case what her rights are, and she is also afraid that if she argues with them, she may miss her flight and not have the chance to present her report. They ask her to wait where she is, and they disappear into an office for fifteen minutes with her flash drive. When the officials return, they hand back her the flash drive, and wish her a pleasant flight. She is nervous throughout the flight, worrying about what has happened to her flash drive and the data which was on it. When she arrives at her destination, she turns to her colleagues for advice.

Step 2. Invite participants to reflect on the scenario. Capture key elements of the brainstorming discussion on flipchart during the discussion. The following questions may be used to initiate deeper reflection on certain aspects:

• What did you observe in this scenario? • What do you think - how did Olga feel when she was approached by the security agents? • Would she have felt differently if somebody had been with her? • What values/assets did she have to protect (e.g. information would be the valuable on the USB stick) • What devices/media did she have? (e.g. device is the USB stick) • What is the legal background of this story? How could she have reacted had she known her rights in this situation? Did she have rights to claim her USB stick back or not to give it away at all? You could ask participants if they are aware of the legal regulations in their own country. • Who could be her allies? Whom could she have contacted in this situation? • What could have happened to the USB drive while it was in the hands of the security officials? • What could be the consequences for Olga or others of security officials having been in possession of the USB stick? • What was the role of Olga´s organization in this situation? Did they analyze the risks of the journey? Were they supportive? • Would she be as nervous, would she have behaved differently had they discussed and rehearsed that situation at her organization (mental rehearsal, role play), etc.?

Input: introducing holistic security (15 minutes)

To summarise the discussion, draw out the importance of the need for HRD to be aware of the security dimensions of their day-to-day activities to be able to identify threats relating to all domains of security.

Using concrete contributions from the brainstorming exercise, draw out the interconnectedness of the different aspects e.g.: • Better digital awareness enables better planning for information security which can reinforce one's perception of risk and security • Greater psychological awareness e.g. around one's need for security, work related risks and reactions in situations of stress provides opportunity for more in-depth risk analysis and informed decision making, e.g. on risk mitigation measures • Regular analysis of situations and context encourage individual and joint decisions on tactics and practices including digital security and wellbeing.

Where useful visualise the interrelation of all dimensions e.g. by reinforcing circles, spiral etc.

Deepening (20 minutes)

Step 1. Group work (10 min) - pair up people to give advice to Olga and her organisation in preparation for her next trip. You may want to give the following prompts such as: What does she need to think of regarding their devices? What does she need to consider to feel more secure? What does she need to consider regarding the information she is carrying? Step 2. Capture the outcomes of the group work on flipchart or a screen and highlight once more how different security aspects interlink. Step 3. Stress already existing coping strategies and resilience that you may have observed in the trainees too, be positive (not admonishing) in your approach.


Relate the outcomes of the discussion to the focus of your training, i.e. digital, security management or well-being. Re-emphasise again the interrelation of the 3 dimensions by referring to examples from the Olga story and the visualisation where useful - e.g. circles, spiral etc.]]

Number of facilitators involved 1
Technical needs Sheets of paper with printed scenario, or projector, flipchart/whiteboard, markers
Theoretical and on line resources Holistic Security Guide