The recent increase in potent cyberattacks has been incredibly harmful to corporations, having exposed valuable data and even compromised operations. The average cyberattack costs companies $200,000, which is why more are planning to up their cybersecurity spend, with a 15% rise in those employing mobile threat defense solutions during 2019 to factor in the growing footprint of mobile device usage by companies.
While more businesses are determined to protect themselves against cyber threats, an effective security strategy involves a lot more than introducing a few new measures. With corporate employees responsible for 90% of cyberattacks, the workforce must understand how they can prevent and deal with these concerns. This means that business owners like yourself must cultivate your own culture of security to help keep your organization safe.
What is a culture of security?
A culture of security is much larger than a single security awareness event, or even periodic meetings. Instead, relevant threats should be discussed as a matter of habit, and their importance regularly reinforced. This helps to ingrain cybersecurity as an inherent part of your company’s everyday operations.
You should encourage staff to take preventative security steps themselves, and promote awareness of any digital hazards to which your business could fall victim, exposing the motivations and intentions of those responsible. After all, employees always want to do the right thing, but often need guidance. A culture of security establishes best practices, and enables your team to follow them and perform their day-to-day duties in line with those policies.
Many companies fail to realize that employing a select few cybersecurity experts isn’t protective enough. Every employee needs to understand, and take responsibility for, the threats the company faces in order to successfully fend them off. As such, a security culture is for everyone, regardless of the role they’re in and the level they’re at.
Creating a culture of security is an ongoing process, and will only become embedded in your company with constant care and attention. There a few things you can do to start cultivating this culture:
Tip 1: Write your security policy down
Your first step should be to create an official security policy in conjunction with your IT department, which can be signed off by company stakeholders. Writing your security policy down will give employees a clear framework to follow, and provide the foundation of your overarching security culture.
The policy should outline the rules and procedures staff must follow when accessing the business’s online systems. You may also consider creating an informal file that examines the reasons behind the policy, outlining the company’s security vision, and its benefits for the business and its employees. This could also emphasize the potential ramifications if the company fails to adhere to it.
Tip 2: Train your staff
You can’t build a culture of security without actually training employees in cybersecurity. From presentations and educational videos, to more fun methods like cybersecurity-themed trivia or role-playing attack scenarios, there are many ways you can engage your workforce and increase their knowledge.
The content of these sessions will depend on an individual’s current understanding, though more advanced courses may be required for those who are most closely engaged with critical company data.
Tip 3: Encourage employees to report incidents
It is crucial that employees are encouraged to report security incidents — regardless of whether they are genuine problems or simply suspicions — to ensure that everyone is working together to help rectify issues as quickly as possible. Employees must know they won’t be punished for reporting cybersecurity incidents for which they may be responsible, as long as these errors weren’t made intentionally. If not, they may be reluctant to come forward, undermining the open culture of security you’re trying to create.
Motivate staff by providing a simple system for reporting problems, and recognize those who are transparent. This encourages everybody else to follow suit, reinforcing the importance of cybersecurity to your company at large.