Slack for Security - Using Slack as a Security and Privacy LMS

Travis Good
July 26, 2022

Slack is more than a chat or messaging tool. It’s a workflow platform that acts as an operating system for many companies that use it. In Slack’s own words, it’s a digital HQ.

It’s hard to imagine without seeing it but Slack functions very well as a learning management system (LMS). As a starting point, an LMS built on top of Slack instantly has apps for all platforms - web, Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.

What is a Slack LMS?

In its simplest form, a Slack LMS enables you to do the following;

  1. Create training.
  2. Assign training.
  3. Deliver and have users consume training in Slack.
  4. Track training.

Slack doesn’t provide all of the above LMS functionality out of the box. This is why we built Haekka - to make it super simple to create, assign, take, and track training all in Slack. We have deep integration into Slack, meaning Haekka is not simply leveraging Slack for notifications.

Haekka is a security HQ in Slack that includes all of the functionality of a Slack LMS. Below we show how easy it is to bring your security awareness training, security training, and privacy training to Slack with Haekka. We also highlight why Slack works so well as an LMS.

Creating Training for Slack

Creating training to be consumed in Slack is not as straightforward as it sounds. There are a few reasons. First, a training, or a lesson for a training, is not a typical Slack message. There is a ton of metadata associated with training.

With Haekka, you can set the following parameters on all trainings;

  • Day until due.
  • Tags
  • Renewal
  • Grading

All of the above are in addition to the ability to customer all of the content in the training itself.

Haekka comes with an extensive content catalog. All content is made for Slack and all content is 100% customizable. You can also create custom content from scratch.

Formatting Training for Slack

Slack uses its own version of markdown to format content in messages. If you are going to deliver training in Slack, you need to format that training for Slack. You can read more about formatting options with Slack markdown here.

At Haekka, we created a simple to use editor to create training and ensure it is formatted correctly in Slack. Below is what the training editor looks like.

With Haekka, it’s simple to create lists, use emojis, embed files and images, and even embed videos into your training. One of the most consistent positive points of feedback we get from users is that they love the use of emojis in training. It’s a small thing but emojis in security training is something people enjoy.

Length of training in Slack

Something that often comes up when considering training in Slack or from our current admins and users is the appropriate length of training. Slack messages should only be so long. Once you get over a certain amount of content, users get lost and stop engaging. Additionally, too much content pushes previous content up and makes it harder to navigate between messages and trainings.

There are a few techniques you can use and we offer them as a part of Haekka.

  1. Use a variety of content. Think about using videos or images or even audio in your training. It breaks up the text and gives users variety in training mediums.
  2. Use questions for engagement. Questions are a great way to make training 2-way.
  3. Use modals to break up message streams. With Haekka, we use modals for questions so we don’t clutter up the message stream.

Even with all of the above, we find that 150-200 words is the most people want to see in a Slack messages, even a Slack message that is a lesson or training.

Assigning Training in Slack

Slack works exceptionally well if you anchor it as the hub of communications. These communications can and should include messages and notifications from apps, not just communication with other co-workers.

Chat, or messaging with co-workers, is the most common way people think of using Slack. But there are other powerful ways to leverage Slack as a platform:

Slack does an awesome job of organizing, in real time, a company’s workforce by functional, and often very sub-functional, roles.

At Haekka, we’ve taken advantage of Slack for user management and assignment of training. When we started building our security and privacy LMS on Slack, we didn’t realize just how effective Slack would be at user enrollment and management.

Assignment Options in Slack

There are four primary ways you can assign users to a training in Slack with Haekka. You can see them on the screenshot and we detail them below.

  1. Assign to a user. You can assign training by simply looking up a user by name.
  2. Assign to all users in a channel. Assign to all users currently in a channel. This is often used for specific functional training like SOC 2 for Sales Teams.
  3. Assign to all users in a workspace. This is most frequently used for org-wide required training like HIPAA or Security Awareness.
  4. Assign to groups. Assign training to a group of Slack users.

Syncing Training to Slack

One very cool thing you can do with Haekka in Slack is to sync trainings to channels or your entire Slack workspace. Conceptually, you are assigning training to a channel or to your entire workspace.

Every time a new user is added to your workspace, like as a part of onboarding, or to a channel when they join a team, that new user is automatically enrolled in the training synced to that channel or workspace. They get notified that they have been assigned the training and all of the training options, including the amount of time to complete the training and due date, are done. Due dates on Haekka are dynamic based on a customizable variable on each training called Days until Due.

Frequency of training in Slack

The frequency with which you conduct security awareness and privacy training matters. There is good data showing the minimum frequency of training is monthly if you want the training to be effective. With slack, there are additional considerations.

As we highlighted above, training in Slack is usually shorter than traditional LMS training. That means we usually deliver shorter messages more frequently. Or, if our training is assigned all at once, we typically have more lessons but each lesson takes less time than traditional training.

Additionally, we see many Haekka customers leverage the ease and guaranteed deliverability of training in Slack to deliver messages ad-hoc, often at least once per week. Haekka Streams and Engagements open up completely new types of training.

Taking Training in Slack

Taking training in Slack is unlike training in any other LMS. The best way to describe it is that it feels like all the other work you do in Slack, and we believe that is a good thing. There are no new accounts and no new apps you need to access and learn how to use.

Training in the context of work improves retention. It also makes completion rates sky high. Haekka training is consistently completed before due dates (99.3% of the time). We also see very high engagement with Streams and Engagements.

Below is what a lesson looks like in Slack. This lesson is from our Modern Security Awareness Training.


And below is what a question looks like in Haekka. As we wrote above, we use modals for lessons to break up the content in the messages tab.

Training reminders and notifications

One cool feature of a Slack LMS is the ability to leverage Slack for reminders and notifications. Because both the reminders and the training are delivered in Slack, the reminders themselves are actionable in that they can launch the training content itself.

We consistently, across different sizes and types of companies (remote, in-office, hybrid), have completion rates over 99% when training is done in Slack. A big part of this is due to the fact that reminders are integrated into where people work and those reminders can instantly open training to be completed.

Engagement in Slack

In addition to more traditional, lesson-based training, which is the type of training content you see with most LMS products, with Haekka in Slack you can quickly and easily send ad-hoc or recurring messages (they are just Slack messages, right?

The most common use cases for Engagements in Slack are below:

Metrics and Reporting in Slack

The final aspect of a complete LMS platform in Slack is metrics and reporting. With Haekka, we provide weekly summary reports in Slack as shown below.

We also provide more metrics and analytics in our admin dashboard. Some of the summary metrics are shown below.

Haekka also collects engagement metrics for each security message sent. Below is what those metrics look like for a Haekka Engagement.

Evidence for Audits

In addition to metrics and reporting, there are specific pieces of evidence that are needed for required training and for audits. Haekka provides that evidence in two forms

  1. Training completion certificates delivered to each employee in Slack.
  2. Spreadsheet evidence for each training showing all enrolled employees, enrollment date, completion date, and score (assuming it is a graded training). The evidence is sent to the requesting admin in Slack.

Conclusion

As you can see from all of the above, building an LMS is no small feat. Building an LMS on top of Slack is even harder.

But, a Slack-based LMS offers certain advantages over a traditional LMS.

  1. Assignment by function. Channels offer unique grouping of users. These groupings are sometimes more aligned with training needs that groups defined in HRIS or auth platforms.
  2. Syncing. Syncing a training to a channel or Slack workspace is a powerful way to ensure a baseline of training for all current and future members.
  3. Training in context. Training in Slack is training in context. Training in context increasing both completion rates and retention rates.
  4. Notifications. Leveraging Slack notifications for training notifications ensures 100% deliverability.

Give Haekka a try as a Slack Security LMS

Are you a company that loves Slack? Haekka security HQ in Slack expands Slack as a digital HQ by adding LMS functionality. Schedule a demo or sign up for a trial today.