In today’s digital age, cybersecurity has become a significant concern for organizations of all sizes. As technology evolves, so do cyber threats, making it challenging for businesses to protect themselves against cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity threats are constantly evolving. As a result, organizations are finding it more challenging to protect themselves against them. While implementing the right technology and processes is important, building a cybersecurity culture is equally crucial in protecting an organization from cyberattacks. A cybersecurity culture is a set of behaviors, practices, and values that prioritize security across an organization, from the C-suite to individual employees.
Some basic things to do immediately are; creating a cybersecurity policy, providing training to employees on cybersecurity best practices, education about every layer of your businesses security measures, encouraging reporting of security incidents, conducting regular employee security audits, fostering a security-focused culture, reviewing your supplier’s cyber security practices, and developing a disaster recovery plan that employees are familiar with.
Why is creating a cybersecurity culture important?
In a phenomenal article by Netacea, they wrote, “Strong cybersecurity culture starts with building awareness and encouraging best practice cyber-hygiene, normalizing these behaviors so they become second nature to your team.
In a nutshell, it’s far better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to cybersecurity. Building a culture of awareness, trust, and knowledge in your organization means incidents are less likely to occur, and if they do, you will be much more prepared to deal with the fallout quickly and effectively to minimize any financial, technical, or reputational damage.
Traditionally, approaches to cybersecurity have been reactive, episodic, and short-term. We’ve all been there; you get a suspicious-looking email from C-level asking you for an urgent request and littered with spelling mistakes. The observant and diligent employee spots straight away that this is ‘phishy’ and reports it to the security team. They get a pat on the back, and the rest of the team is named and shamed – people move on.
But this isn’t going to stop cybercriminals from attacking and it isn’t going to instill a strong cybersecurity culture into the business. While hybrid working culture has created new opportunities for businesses and employees, it’s also created opportunities for cybercriminals. As many organizations transitioned to a work-from-home model, new security issues and concerns emerged, with communication and education becoming more challenging.
Moving toward a long-term, company-wide, strategic approach
For every employee that takes the time to report anything suspicious during episodic phishing exercises, there’ll be five employees who fail to even spot they’ve been sent the email. Or if they do, they won’t take the time to report it, and they’ll skim over the reprimanding email from the security team.
Creating a cybersecurity culture in a business involves implementing long-term strategy across the team, outlining your goals, starting at the top, and working down. With working from home and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) workplaces the norm, creating and sustaining a strong cybersecurity culture is about making security second nature, not a chore. You can start implementing your strategy with this four-step cybersecurity culture framework.
4 steps to a strong cybersecurity culture
1. Promote good cyber-hygiene from the top down
To really have an impact, good cybersecurity practice should come from C-level and filter through your organization. If your CEO is demonstrating positive cybersecurity practices and setting a good example for the rest of the business, the rest of the team is likely to follow suit. Make cybersecurity a priority and set the tone for the rest of the business.
- Encourage your executives to take part in cybersecurity training.
- Enforce security policies and processes across the board, regardless of seniority level.
- Work with policymakers to adapt procedures accordingly depending on how they work for board members – if policies don’t work for board members, they probably aren’t working for others further down the organization.
- Work on the basis that practices take time to cascade down through the business – culture takes time and effort to evolve.
2. Explain what’s at stake and put people at the hear
Why should cybersecurity matter to every employee? How does it directly affect both their personal privacy and customer data?
There are endless technical ramifications, financial implications, and PR and brand damage that could occur from a cyber-attack. But at many companies, employees still don’t have awareness of the value of what they’re being asked to protect: explain the importance of keeping customer data private; keeping marketing insight, product research, and competitive secrets classified; plus the legal obligation to safeguard certain information. There’s the personal aspect to this too – working from home means any cybercriminal targeting an employee’s business is also targeting their household.
Businesses could be held publicly accountable for any violations or breaches and it’s crucial that employees are aware of this. Employees don’t always realize that no technical safeguard is perfect, and it’s up to them to avoid unnecessary risk and therefore minimize threats.
3. Consistent communication is key
There is so much confusion around security measures and what is and isn’t best practice.
Take passwords; there is so much confusion over what is the most secure password configuration. Is it the longest? The one with lower-case and upper-case letters? The one with random objects listed in succession? And how often should we change our passwords? Every three months? Only if we’re breached?
Create enough confusion and people will go rogue. Creating a cybersecurity culture means being transparent, clear, and consistent in messaging.
Be constructive in your approach to training. Don’t reprimand employees for getting things wrong, treat it as a learning curve and use it to build a culture where no question is too basic.
Make training engaging and worth their time and, again, encourage people at the top of the business to engage and lead by example.
Be sure to communicate the reason for any changes to security you are making. Enforce a clear and easy system for reporting any suspicious activity to your security team.
4. Work on a strategy of zero trust
Security strategies such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) and Zero Trust are frequently discussed among cybersecurity circles as a method of increasing access controls, but Zero Trust has rapidly been gaining popularity and many organizations are now looking to adopt a Zero Trust mindset.
A Zero Trust strategy for corporate cybersecurity is a framework that requires all users to be authenticated, authorized, and continuously validated before being granted access to certain systems or company data. This includes users inside and outside the company’s network as we enter a permanent phase of hybrid working.
Enforcing this model across your business means everyone in your business faces the same security measures, leaving little room for mistakes that could cost your business.”
How to Create Cyber Strength in 3 Additional Steps
In an article by Forbes, they wrote, “When people think about cybersecurity, they often think of technical security measures to help protect their businesses. While these measures—including endpoint security software and firewalls—are important, they are insufficient to build a cyber-resilient organization. The behavior of employees is also critical for an organization’s cyber defense since 82% of data breaches in 2021 involved a “human element.”
Cyberthreats are part and parcel of the digital age, and cyberattacks will only continue to become more sophisticated. The best way for organizations to protect themselves is to foster a culture of cybersecurity awareness and establish clear strategies to ensure that employees can spot attacks.
With the right approach and IT infrastructure, employees can become one of the most effective security controls. The key to creating an influential cybersecurity culture is recognizing that people can represent a formidable first line of defense in safeguarding against cyberattacks.
1. Establishing culture starts from the top.
While cultivating a cybersecurity culture is challenging, one of the most critical points is that it has to start from the top. To encourage a security-first mindset among employees, C-suite executives need to lead by example and set the tone for awareness throughout the organization. Executives cannot expect their employees to heed cybersecurity concerns if it is not a key priority for the management team.
Executives must also actively promote key messages to employees at company events, both virtually and in person. For instance, you can start every all-staff meeting with a cybersecurity story to highlight to everyone in your organization that it is an intrinsic part of corporate values.
Cybersecurity information must be delivered clearly to ensure that employees across the company understand the importance of safe online behavior. If you want to foster change, it is important to communicate in terms that employees understand so that objectives are clearly understood. Messaging is critical to building engagement and fostering a cybersecurity culture.
2. Create security awareness programs tailored for different groups.
As cyber threats become more complex daily, organizations must ensure that teams are constantly educated on cybersecurity to remain protected. To keep employees up to date with the latest threats, chief information security officers (CISOs) can collaborate with the human resources (HR) team (which usually leads corporate training programs) to organize security awareness programs.
In planning for these programs, businesses should also remember that employee engagement is key to participation. This means that simply creating slideshows will not be enough. Instead, employees need to be directly involved in their learning. One way to encourage employee participation is to include incentives, set team goals, and reward them when objectives are met.
On the other hand, while security awareness programs usually focus heavily on employees, the rise in business email compromise and social engineering attacks reinforces that executives also need regular training. The C-suite and board members are specific groups that require tailored training to meet their unique needs. These programs should include the types of attacks that target executives in order to train them to defend against vulnerabilities in these areas.
3. Communication alone is not enough.
Even if you have a proper cybersecurity awareness program, consider simulating social engineering attacks that mimic real-life phishing attacks, as such drills can help employees remain vigilant.
Organizations should also encourage employees to be more proactive when encountering anything that could increase the risk of a data breach. For instance, employees should remind one another not to leave their company devices unattended—particularly if they are still logged on—in order to prevent unauthorized access.
Cybersecurity awareness should be vital for every business to protect against cyber risks. Organizations must remember that culture can also be used as a cybersecurity tactic and tool; it must be continually assessed, strengthened, and adapted. Ultimately, the goal of any organization should be to nurture a culture of cybersecurity to ensure organizational resilience and minimize loss when faced with a cyberattack.”
In the digital age, cybersecurity has become an increasingly significant concern for organizations due to the evolving nature of cyber threats. To protect against these threats, it is essential to create a cybersecurity culture, which involves a set of behaviors, practices, and values that prioritize security across an organization.
This culture involves implementing long-term security strategies, promoting cybersecurity hygiene from the top down, explaining the importance of cybersecurity to employees, consistent communication, and adopting the Zero Trust model.
By building a cybersecurity culture, organizations can reduce the likelihood of cyberattacks and minimize their impact. It is crucial to make cybersecurity a priority and invest in training employees on best practices to ensure a strong cybersecurity culture.
Leaders should promote positive cybersecurity practices, and employees should understand the value of protecting sensitive information. Consistent communication and transparency are key to creating a culture of awareness and trust around cybersecurity. The adoption of the Zero Trust model can further improve the organization’s cybersecurity posture by requiring continuous validation of user access to systems and data.
Creating a cybersecurity culture requires a comprehensive approach that involves everyone in the organization. By following these tips, organizations can build a culture that prioritizes security, making it easier to prevent cyberattacks and mitigate their impact when they occur.
At Adaptive Office Solutions, cybersecurity is our specialty. We keep cybercrimes at bay by using analysis, forensics, and reverse engineering to prevent malware attempts and patch vulnerability issues. By making an investment in multilayered cybersecurity, you can leverage our expertise to boost your defenses, mitigate risks, and protect your data with next-gen IT security solutions.
Every single device that connects to the internet poses a cyber security threat, including that innocent-looking smartwatch you’re wearing. Adaptive’s wide range of experience and certifications fills the gaps in your business’s IT infrastructure and dramatically increases the effectiveness of your cybersecurity posture.
Using our proactive cybersecurity management, cutting-edge network security tools, and comprehensive business IT solutions, you can lower your costs through systems that are running at their prime, creating greater efficiency and preventing data loss and costly downtime. With Adaptive Office Solutions by your side, we’ll help you navigate the complexities of cybersecurity so you can achieve business success without worrying about online threats.
To schedule a Cyber Security Risk Review, call the Adaptive Office Solutions’ hotline at 506-624-9480 or email us at email@example.com