Cybersecurity involves many technical and informational solutions that an organization must adopt and implement in order to stand a chance at protecting themselves from cyber threats. While technology plays a large role in addressing cyber attacks, it must be complimented by user awareness, policies and the sharing of information throughout the organization. In addition, the task of creating a cyber-secure organization is no longer left strictly on the IT department to figure out. A cyber-secure culture must be an organization-wide effort to ensure security throughout departments, systems and users.
Elements of a successful cyber secure culture
There are a few common elements that you will find within organizations that are successfully implementing security-focused, cyber-secure cultures.
1. They focus on the basics
People are the most willing to embrace security if the concepts, policies and technology are easy to understand and hassle-free. Companies who embrace the basics of organizational security—such as two-factor authentication, password safety and updated devices—will experience employees who are quick to embrace security. These basic security methods are cost-effective and simple, often preventing common attacks.
2. They invest in employee awareness training
Employees make decisions every day that can negatively affects their business’s security. In order to protect organizations, employees need to be trained to be aware of security issues. Employee awareness is not a one-time activity, it must be an ongoing event. Employee training is a big part of an IT professional’s job. These training sessions could be in the form of email memos, group meetings or one-on-one appointments. Whatever the setting, training needs to be well thought out and considerate of the fact that sometimes, you’re working with people outside your industry.
3. They encourage senior leadership to embrace security
Companies can put in substantial effort and use valuable resources in order to strengthen their security culture, but if a strong and consistent security tone is not delivered from the top, it will fail. Executive leadership is essential for companies that are looking to implement a secure culture. They set the example in choosing to follow these secure behaviors, and if they resist, employees do not have any clear model to comply by. While the increase of cybercriminal activity may be common knowledge, it still may be difficult to communicate the true implications of a breach to your senior leadership. When it comes to accurately communicating risk to your board, put the implications in terms they can understand and prove that by increasing your information and network security efforts, it will ultimately protect your organization’s data, ensuring your company’s future.
Culture, by definition, is “a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization.” IT departments can lead a cyber-secure culture, but it must be built, developed, and supported by the entire organization, from top to bottom, in order for it to be successful.