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Your colleagues

Your colleagues

The security of your colleagues is part of your own security.

Learn about

Team configurations

Weakest link

As the old adage goes, "A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link." Your security is dependent on the security of your colleagues.

Security for all

When developing a security plan with your colleagues, be sure to include people in all roles of your organisation.

Positions to include

For journalists, this means developing information and operational security strategies for everyone from a stringer to a driver, from a journalist to an editor.

Information compartmentalisation

Information security

Think about what kinds of information you share with your colleagues and what information to keep private.

Work continuity

Sharing information with your colleagues about your sources and research means that they will be able to continue your important investigations should something unexpected arise.

'Need to know' basis

On the other hand, sharing information only on a 'need to know' basis means you might be better able to protect people and prevent infiltration by adversaries.

Sharing security

Whether you share much or little information with your colleagues, it is important that all information shared is done so securely.

See also

Refer to the Secure Communications and Operational Security lessons to learn how to do do so.

Importance of trust

"Be careful with each other..."

The old activist motto "Be careful with each other, so that we can be dangerous together” has a lot to do with trust.

Productivity and security

Trusting your team is important both your organisations productivity and overall security. Building trust within a team is not a trivial task - it involves investment and taking risks.

Trying new tactics

Trust allows for trying new organisational security tactics, especially if you could not be, or were not involved in making decisions about it before.

Sharing mistakes

It also creates an atmosphere of openness where you feel more comfortable sharing your security incidents, information you feel is important, and also your mistakes.

Increased confidence

Trust gives team members confidence to know whom to talk to about which aspects of security.

Building trust within a team

Increasing trust in a team

There are several ways we can work on increasing trust within a team:

Getting to knew each other

  • Getting to know each other outside the professional or activist context, e.g. through out-of-work activities, socialising and having fun.

    Checking on well-being of others

  • Check in regularly (e.g. before a meeting) on your team's stress levels, general mood, and what they are bringing to their activism from their personal lives.

    Organisational Transparency

  • Transparency about hierarchies and decision-making structures.

    Clear security strategies

  • Clear strategies for how to deal with personal or sensitive issues that may arise including (but not limited to) security incidents, threats and so on.

    Access to a counsellor

  • Having access to a counsellor or trusted psychologist.

    Trust in managing information

    Aside from trust in one another, we can also build trust in our strategies for managing sensitive information, clear channels and create means for communication about it.

Talking about security with your colleagues

Security is courageous

Talking about security is courageous. Failing to talk about security, or or pretending risks do not exist, promotes a culture of carelessness.

Sometimes hard

Sometimes, though, it can be hard to talk about security with your colleagues.

Possible opposition

You might face opposition from those who feel talking about security takes away valuable time you could spend doing your jobs.

Putting on a brave face

Your colleagues might even put on a brave face and pretending these risks do not exist. It's also possible you might feel this way yourself.

Tips to bringing up security with your colleagues

  • incorporating into meetings
  • find pragmatic path to bringing it up. converting a culture of good risk planning - this is good for everyone.
  • tips are start with colleagues that would be mmore receptive, see if they can also talk to others they have good contact with about these issues. share the app.
  • if the time arrises to bring this up in a team setting, bring up with manager in terms of what it will bring to the organisation -


    When you or other people bring it up, it is important not to take this as a weakness or a worry, but as an opportunity to develop and make sure everyone is on the same page.

    See also

    To learn how to develop security with your colleagues, refer to the Operational Security and the Planning and Preparing lessons.


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  • (en/topics/understand-3-opsec/0-getting-started/1-1-intro.md): Operational Security
  • (en/topics/practice-2-planning/0-getting-started/1-1-intro.md): Planning and Preparing
  • (en/topics/understand-4-digisec/4-secure-communications/1-1-intro.md): Secure Communications

See also: