Cyber Defense

The Secrets of Successful Cybersecurity Writing: Hack the Reader

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My new writing course for cybersecurity professionals, SEC402, teaches how you can write better reports, emails, and other content you regularly create. This is an unusual opportunity to improve your writing skills without sitting through tedious lectures or writing irrelevant essays. Instead, as you learn how to avoid common pitfalls, you'll make your writing remarkable. This is Lenny Zeltser writing, by the way, the author of SEC402.

SEC402 isn't your normal writing course. It captures my experience of writing in the field for over two decades and incorporates insights from other community members. It's a course I wish I could've attended when I needed to improve my own security writing skills.

Here are several examples the practical techniques the course covers, which focus on the structure and look of successful security writing:

  • Headings: Use them to sneak in the gist of your message, so your can persuade your readers even if they don't read the rest of your text.
  • Lists: Rely on them to capture your readers' attention when they skim your message for key ideas.
  • Figure Captions: Include them to influence the conclusion your readers reach even if they only glance at the graphic.

For instance, this slide opens the discussion about expressing ideas clearly, concisely, and correctly:

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SEC402 is grounded in the idea that you can become a better writer by learning how to spot common problems in others' writing. This is why the many examples are filled with delightful errors that are as much fun to find as they are to correct.

One of the practical takeaways from the course is a set of checklists you can use to eliminate issues related to your structure, look, words, tone, and information. For example:

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SEC402 will help you stand out from other cybersecurity professionals with similar technical skills. It will help you get your executives, clients, and colleagues to notice your contribution, accept your advice, and appreciate your input. You'll benefit whether you are:

  • A manager or an individual team member
  • A consultant or an internally-focused employee
  • A defender or an attacker
  • An earthling or an alien

You have a limited opportunity to attend a beta version of SEC402. You will not only get an early adopter discount and bragging rights, but also shape the course for future participants.

I'll present the 2nd beta in New York City in June 2019 - registration is now open. Starting around September 2019 you'll be able to take the course almost exclusively through the SANS OnDemand platform.

Reach out to me if you have any questions about the course. I'm easy to find online.

Lenny Zeltser
@lennyzeltser

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