How to build a Cyber-Secure Culture in your workplace
The importance of organisational leadership in establishing a strong cyber secure culture in the workplace cannot be overstated
Whether you manage a small business, a global corporation, a government institution, not-for-profit or public organisation, it is constantly and frequently vulnerable to cyber attack. Your cyber security depends on developing secure behaviours among employees, and establishing these behaviours often requires a change in mindset towards a cyber security culture.
Your cyber security culture must be organised and embedded at the individual level, so that everyone feels a sense of responsibility for being vigilant and resilient.
What factors are necessary in bringing about this shift in mindset? Towards a culture where all employees across the organisation become ‘cyber security aware’ and, as a result, contribute to ensuring a security resilient workplace?
In this article, we discuss how the integration of cyber-awareness into workplace mindset, thinking and culture can be brought about.
The role of organisational leadership in creating a cyber secure culture
Cyber security culture starts with the organisation’s management, because leadership teams are ultimately responsible for engendering organisational culture.
Directors and managers have the power and influence to drive awareness and build a mindset across the organisation.
Only by showing how they embrace cyber security best practice, and by investing in programmes such as cyber security awareness training can business leaders begin to evolve the organisation into a cyber secure culture.
To achieve this, business leaders must understand cyber security basics, best practices and the full implications of a security breach, and must be seen to be 100% committed to cyber security.
Initiatives they could take in this regard could include:
- Leading on managing and reducing the reduction of cyber security risks
- Funding cyber security initiatives (such as cyber awareness training)
- Owning and championing the creation and maintenance of the organisation’s cyber secure culture.
Getting started: asking the right questions about your cyber security posture
The first steps in building your cyber security culture are to establish your current position on a range of cyber security related questions, including the following:
- What do cyber threats look like?
- How are cyber threats targeted at the organisation?
- In what media (or vectors) can cyber threats be carried or transmitted?
- What are the potential impacts on the organisation of a successful cyber breach?
- What reporting procedures do you have in place should a cyber breach occur?
- How do you implement current IT security procedures and recommendations?
- What measures to prevent security threats?
- What frameworks are in place to enable important decisions on cyber security?
- Do you regularly keep up to date with best practise frameworks from (for example) the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre)?
- Is cyber security seen as an IT, Management or cross-organisational issue?
- Do you have organisational security policies in place?
- How are employees kept aware of these organisational security policies?
The importance of Security Awareness Training
According to analysts, between 50% and 90% of cybersecurity breaches can be traced back to phishing attacks, which rely on human error to succeed.
Preventing these phishing attacks (the vast majority of which are targeted via email) from succeeding requires a concerted effort to educate employees on how to spot and avoid falling prey to them.
An important step in developing a cyber secure culture is to fund and implement ongoing security awareness training programmes for all employees.
These programmes increase risk awareness across the organisation by educating employees on how to spot the techniques used by criminal hackers posing as bona fide companies, customers or employees. They are a crucial component in embedding a cyber security awareness culture.
Although no security awareness programme can be 100% guaranteed to eliminate the risk of a targeted attack succeeding, it will significantly improve employee awareness of cyber security threats and reduce the risk of network infections and data breaches succeeding through a human-exploit-based attack.
Comprehensive security awareness programmes should provide effective training and education on:
- Protecting company data
- Understanding and avoiding malware
- Spotting ransomware attacks
- Identifying suspicious phishing attacks
- Safeguarding passwords
- Avoiding social engineering attempts
- Understanding how to use emails and software properly.
Maintaining cyber security awareness across the organisation
Internal security awareness campaigns can be run to great effect as a means of developing a culture of cyber security.
Initiatives such as internal cyber security bulletins, non-technical newsletters about recent exploits or data breach events, as well as useful hints and tips for beefing up personal cyber security measures are all useful in driving awareness.
Although these techniques ought to be used all year long, multi-country or regional campaigns such as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (the next one being October 2022) can be successful in raising awareness, particularly if the weight of organisational leadership is thrown behind them.
Human behaviour can be significantly shaped through the setting of targets and incentives.
When it comes to cyber security, individual performance objectives can be aligned with organisational objectives – for example around the completion of security awareness training courses by a certain deadline, and the achievement of minimum scores.
Improving responses to phishing simulation exercises, setting and adhering to compliance rules and avoiding harmful online behaviour are all areas in which objectives can be readily set.
Protect your business from cyber security threats with Alliance Solutions
Creating a cyber-secure culture can be achieved by raising awareness and encouraging a security aware mindset across your organisation.
Every member of your organisation can be trained and supported to make an individual contribution to enhancing your cyber security posture.
Start your journey with Alliance Solutions by putting security awareness training in place for all your staff. Contact our expert team today via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone on 0800 292 2100.