Security Awareness Training Certification (HB 3834)

Overview

House Bill (HB) 3834 (86R) requires DIR in consultation with the Texas Cybersecurity Council to certify at least five cybersecurity training programs for state and local government employees. The list of certified programs is posted below. In addition, the sections that follow demonstrate the certification requirements for cybersecurity training programs, and the training requirements for state agencies, local governments, and contractors.

Texas Cybersecurity Training Certification Requirements

The initial list of cybersecurity training programs (a minimum of five) will be published to the DIR website.  Additional training programs will be added to the list as they are certified. During the initial year, there will be a rolling certification period.  In subsequent years, there will be designated time frames for submitting training programs for certification.

Certified Training Programs

The list of initial certified training programs is below. Additional programs will be certified on a continuing basis. Please note that these programs are certified for the content, not other regulatory or statutory obligations.

Last Updated 12/3/2019

Certified Training Programs (.docx)

The next steps for state and local government entities are:

  • If your organization is currently using a cybersecurity training program:
    • Check the list of certified programs to see if it has been certified.
    • If it has, continue using that program to meet the requirements of HB 3834 (86R).  Make note of the modules listed with the certified program and make sure you are including these in your program.
    • If it has not, first make sure your program has been submitted for certification (if it's a 3rd-party program, check with the training provider).  Second, continue to monitor the list of certified programs as additional programs will be added as they are certified.
  • If your organization is not currently using a cybersecurity training program:
    • Review the list of certified programs to find one that meets your needs.
    • Contact the point of contact for instructions on:
      • how to access the training program (if you selected an in-house program that the organization is willing to share, or
      • how to procure the training program (if you selected a 3rd-party program). 

Course Content Requirements

The application for submitting cybersecurity training programs for certification is available below.  Texas Government Code Section 2054.519(b) states that a cybersecurity training program must:

    1. Focus on forming information security habits and procedures that protect information resources; and
    2. Teach best practices for detecting, assessing, reporting, and addressing information security threats.

Application for Security Awareness Training Program Certification

The application to submit training programs for certification is now available. Programs will be assessed on an ongoing basis throughout the first year. Prepare your training program submission in advance by reviewing the application guide which includes a glossary of relevant terminology.

Download the Application Guide (.pdf, 457KB)

Submit a security awareness training program for certification

Course Certification Checklist

The purpose of this checklist is to assess and determine whether a state agency's, local government's, or vendor's cybersecurity awareness training program meets the minimum requirements for certification under Section 2054.519(b), Texas Government Code.  This detailed certification criteria are based on the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Framework.

Download the Course Certification Checklist (.pdf, 171KB)

Certification Exception

A local government that employs a ‘dedicated information resources cybersecurity officer’ may use a cybersecurity training program that satisfies the statutory content requirements.  In this scenario, training program certification is not required.

Submit a Local Government Cybersecurity Training & Awareness Program Exception Form

Statewide Training Requirements

Annual training must be completed by June 14, 2020 by the following employees:

    • State Agencies: Employees who use a computer to complete at least 25 percent of the employee’s required duties, and elected or appointed officers of the agency.
    • Local Government Entities: Employees who have access to a local government computer system or database, and elected officials.

Contractors of state agencies who have access to a state computer system or database must complete training during the term of the contract and during any renewal period.

HB 3834 FAQs

Assistance

For questions about HB 3834 and the certification process, please contact TXTrainingCert@dir.texas.gov.

Program Certification

How many training programs will be certified?

HB 3834 requires DIR to certify at least five cybersecurity training programs. Refer to the list of certified programs for current numbers. 

What criteria will be used to certify the programs?

HB3834 requires training programs to: (1) focus on forming information security habits and procedures that protect information resources; and (2) teach best practices for detecting, assessing, reporting, and addressing information security threats.  Refer to the link above for detailed certification criteria, based on the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) framework.

When can programs be submitted for certification?

You can submit a security awareness training program for certification using the online application form.

What are the standards for maintenance of certification?

Training programs will have to be re-submitted for certification annually.

Will there be any low and/or no cost certified training programs available?

Options for low and no cost training programs are being explored and details will be published as they are finalized.  The list of certified programs includes in-house programs that the provider is willing to share.

Can a state agency or local government organization submit a vendor's program for certification?

No, the training provider organization must apply to have their training program certified.  Agencies and other consumers of third-party training programs can use the certification application link to notify DIR of the third-party program currently used by their organization.

How is access defined?

Access is defined as "any person who has been given an account to access any state (or local) information system."

In the training program application, is providing a free trial an acceptable method for providing access to training course materials for review?

A free trial may be acceptable if it doesn't have the possibility of leading to any kind of obligation, financial or otherwise, to the State or any other user.

When certifying vendors who provide security awareness courses and/or packages, is it the vendor who is being certified or individual components of that vendor's solution?  In the case that it is individual components, how will those components be identified?

The training program is what will be certified.  A training program is a course or curriculum of courses that meets the specifications of HB 3834.  If the training program is part of a larger set of training materials, state and local government organizations in Texas will need to include in their training program the modules/courses that are submitted for certification as a minimum to ensure compliance with state law (although they could add modules/content as desired).

Our training partner has a license agreement for end users.  May we submit their license agreement as part of the proposal?

Submitting a license agreement is not a specific requirement of the application, however training providers can submit any documentation that provides evidence of how the program meets requirements.

Can we submit a description of the intended audience with our training program?

There is no field on the application for intended audience and therefore this type of information would not be included on the list of certified programs.  However, training providers can submit any documentation that provides evidence of how the program meets the requirements. If a vendor-provided training program is only available to a specific audience, and therefore not available for general use, please specify this information in the application.

Are training programs being assessed for accessibility?

No, training programs are only being assessed for meeting the requirements stated in the Course Certification Checklist.

Will training programs be offered in languages other than English?

The list of certified programs will include the available languages for each program.

State Agency and Contractor Training Requirements

What constitutes a state agency?

As defined in Chapter 2054 of Government Code, a state agency includes a department, commission, board, office, council, authority, or other agency in the executive or judicial branch of state government that is created by the constitution or a statute of this state, including a university system or institution of higher education as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code.

Which state agencies and institutions of higher education employees are required to have annual cybersecurity awareness training? 

Employees who use a computer to complete at least 25% of their required duties are required to complete annual awareness training through a certified program.

What contracts are affected by the training requirement?

The training requirement for contractors affects contracts entered into on, or after, June 14, 2019, and contract renewals executed on, or after, June 14, 2019. 

Who is responsible for ensuring the service providers in the Shared Technology Services (STS) program meet the contractor training requirements?

DIR contracts directly with each of the service providers within the STS program, including the Multi-sourcing Services Integrator (MSI) and all Service Component Providers (SCPs); therefore, DIR is responsible for ensuring they meet the training requirements.

If a contractor works with multiple state agencies, do they have to complete the training program selected by each of the state agencies?

A contractor that has access to state computer systems or databases at multiple state agencies must complete the training program specified by each state agency. 

What is the difference between HB 3834 and the security awareness training requirements included in Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 202 (TAC 202)?

HB3834 provides specifics to the security awareness requirements in TAC 202.  TAC states that state agencies are responsible for:  administering an ongoing information security awareness education program for all users; and introducing information security awareness and inform new employees of information security policies and procedures during the onboarding process. HB 3834 adds requirements around the training that must be provided.

Which training requirements apply to community colleges?

Under SB 64 (86R), community colleges must comply with Texas Administrative Code Chapter 202 (TAC 202) and therefore must follow the training requirements for state agencies.

If elected or appointed officials of a state agency do not use a computer to perform at least 25 percent of their duties, are they required to complete cybersecurity training?

Yes, elected and appointed officials are required to complete cybersecurity training regardless of whether they use a computer to perform at least 25 percent of their duties.

What is the minimum number of hours contractors have to work to be required to take cybersecurity training?

There is no stipulation for hours worked.  Any contractor who has access (see definition of access above) must complete the training.

Will DIR's CISO training program for security awareness, SANS Securing the Human, be certified?

The SANS training program, TX-3834 SANS Security Awareness Program, has been certified. State agencies need to ensure they are including the specific modules in their employee training.  Refer to the list of certified programs for additional details. In addition, since the SANS contract ends in December 2019, the subsequent security awareness training solicitation will include requirements that the selected program also be certified.

Can state agencies select any training program from the list of certified programs?

State agencies are bound by state procurement regulations and therefore must select a program that is offered through DIR's cooperative contracts.  If a state agency wants to procure an item available from DIR's contracts and services program through an avenue other than a DIR contract, the agency must request an exemption.

Local Government Training Requirements

What constitutes a local government?

As defined in Chapter 2054 of Texas Government Code, local government includes a county, municipality, special district, school district, or other political subdivision of the state.

Do local governments have to use a certified training program?

Yes, local governments must use a certified training program, unless the local government employs a ‘dedicated information resources cybersecurity officer’ and has a cybersecurity training program that satisfies the requirements. 

Which local government employees are required to complete annual cybersecurity awareness training?

Local government employees who have access to a local government computer system or database, and elected officials are required to complete annual cybersecurity awareness training.

Do contractors of local governments have to complete cybersecurity awareness training? 

No, the contractor training requirement only applies to state agencies.  However, ensuring that contractors have appropriate awareness of cybersecurity best practices can be beneficial to any organization.

What is the definition of a "dedicated information resources cybersecurity officer"?

An employee who: 1.) has responsibility for information security for their represented organization; 2.) possesses the training and experience required to administer cybersecurity functions; and 3.) has information security duties as their primary duty (primary is defined as greater than 50% of the employee's workload).

What steps are required to request a dedicated cybersecurity officer exception?

The cybersecurity officer will need to submit a form confirming they meet the exception requirements.  Use the online Local Government Cybersecurity Training & Awareness Program Exception Form to submit an exception request.

If elected officials of the local government organization do not have access to a local government computer system or database, are they required to complete cybersecurity training?

Yes, elected officials are required to complete cybersecurity training regardless of whether they have access to a local government computer system or database.

How is governing body defined?

As defined in Section 332 of Local Government Code, governing body means a governing body of a municipality or commissioners court of a county, or another body acting in place of the municipal governing body or commissioners court.

Do part-time employees of local governments have to complete cybersecurity training?

If part-time employees have access to a local government computer system or database, then yes, they are required to complete training.

Do appointed officials of local governments have to complete cybersecurity awareness training?

No, the local government training requirements apply to employees and elected officials.  However, ensuring that everyone has appropriate awareness of cybersecurity best practices can be beneficial to any organization.

Training Completion Requirements

When does the annual training need to be completed?

The effective date of HB3834 is June 14, 2019, therefore the annual training must be completed by June 14, 2020.

How will agencies report training compliance?

Agencies will certify their employee and contractor training compliance biennially in the Agency Security Plan.  This will be done using the Executive Sign Off Acknowledgment Form, which can be downloaded from the Agency Security Plan Page of the DIR Website. The next due date for this plan is June 1, 2020.

How will local governments report training compliance?

Local government employees will self-report their training compliance using Texas by Texas (TxT).  The expected launch date for this application is February 2020.  In June, DIR will send a detailed report from the TxT application to each local government entity to verify training compliance.  Although the self-reporting capability will not be available until early February, employees can take their certified cybersecurity training at any time prior to June 14, 2020.