Difference between talking about cybersecurity awareness vs. the CULTURE of cyber security.
It’s one thing to discuss cybersecurity with your employees, but it’s another entirely to make cybersecurity a part of your culture, ingrained into every act or daily task that’s accomplished. In order to take your team’s cybersecurity to the next level, you need to build a culture around it and make cybersecurity more of second-nature rather than an act of compliance.
What’s Important to Culture?
When we talk about culture, it’s not just about adhering to rules in order to keep your business compliant. We’re talking about working with your employees to establish a sense of pride in being secure. This is what culture is all about–being proud of a longstanding tradition or an attitude toward certain variables. We’ve listed six steps for implementing a cybersecurity culture that your enterprise would be willing to write home about.
Leadership, Preparation, and Cooperation
When building any type of culture or behavior, the one on the receiving end looks to a leadership figure to show them the ropes and understand how it’s done. These leaders must be exuberant and ready to pass on their knowledge in a way which isn’t forceful, yet just as stern. As the CIO, it’s your entire department’s responsibility to foster this type of culture amongst the rest of the enterprise. It’s especially important that you lead by example, as unless they see that the leadership is just as invested in the cybersecurity culture, they will see little value in it. Cooperation is absolutely necessary when achieving a cybersecurity culture.
Education and Training
Having a zealous leader is one thing, but actually having the education and training to protect themselves is another major challenge for enterprises. This is where your IT staff comes in–use their comprehensive knowledge and expertise to educate your staff on IT best practices, and reinforce what they already know with hands-on training. Training should be started immediately upon onboarding, and should continue throughout the duration of the employee’s tenure at your workplace. Security practices should be brushed on at least once annually, and there should be regular security notices and updates in regard to your organization’s policies so that your employees always know what the best practices are. In particular, these updates should be issued immediately after a login to ensure that your employees see and acknowledge them.
Once your team has been trained and educated on how to avoid threats, you need to address threats that they may very well encounter, even with the best intentions. Not all threats will be as obvious as a spam message filled with spelling errors. Be sure that the second any device starts acting abnormally, your employees know who to contact for assistance. Some threats–particularly ransomware–can cause so much damage in such a short time that it’s almost impossible to recover from without losing time and resources. Furthermore, your enterprise’s employees need to know who they should contact in the event of a security-related emergency. This means developing an awareness of who’s responsible for what within your organization.
Similarly, communication should be stressed when developing a culture of cybersecurity. Who should your team report to if they need to ask questions concerning your organization’s IT policies? All employees should be able to engage in conversation and communicate properly with your security team, whether it’s your in-house IT department or outsourced security professionals like IronEdge Group.
Finally, while the promise of more secure practices sounds enticing, it’s often not enough to reinforce habitual cybersecurity. This is why incentivizing the culture can jumpstart the process. While it might make no sense to use incentives to foster a culture, you might be amazed by the results. Offer employees the promise of rewards or credits based on how well they adhere to security protocol; or, you could offer security classes or webinars that your employees could benefit from (perhaps extra paid time off or overtime). Either way, the end result is to make a culture of cybersecurity worth their time, as it will certainly pay off for your organization in the long run.
While Out of the Office…
The ultimate goal is to build a cybersecurity culture that persists beyond the borders of your business. With mobile technology and cloud solutions making it possible to work from anywhere at any time, you need to consider how this will affect your organization’s infrastructure. Workers using home PCs and other wireless technology like smartphones or laptops could complicate your organization’s security endeavors. Thus, it’s your responsibility to express the best practices concerning mobile devices, such as how to identify a secure Internet connection. You can take this one step further by reinforcing a well-understood Bring Your Own Device policy, which includes a mobile device management solution.
While all of this might sound intimidating and appear to be a time sink, don’t worry. The best part of implementing a cybersecurity culture within your organization is that you’ll only have to do it once. When you’ve laid the groundwork for it, your employees and workplace leadership roles will handle the rest.