We live in a world of growing sophistication of techniques such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence. However, nobody in the Washington DC Metro Area would dare make the statement that all these technologies are completely safe. With the advancement in technology, the number of cyber attacks has also gone up. On average, more than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred daily since January 1, 2016, a 300% increase over the approximately 1,000 attacks per day seen in 2015. In addition to technical risks. Businesses experience the threat of theft, vandalism and workplace violence.
In this era of information overload, the security culture is the ultimate determinant of the success or failure of protecting your business from malicious attacks. What is the point of installing door access control system if the people in your organization don’t follow security practices judiciously? What is the value of hiring a security guard company like ours if your internal employees habitually leave doors unlocked? Sustainable security culture requires the participation of all members of your organization. However, encouraging everyone to work towards same security goals and implement a robust security culture, both technically and operationally is easier said than done.
Here are 5 ways to get started.
- Create Highly Focused Awareness Campaigns
Most security awareness programs and campaigns comprise boring training sessions and dull PowerPoint presentations that will have your audience snoring in no time. So, the first thing you need to do is create high impact and appealing campaigns that will pique the interests of your employees.
Most organizations try to club several security-related issues and topics together in one campaign. You should avoid this mistake as far as possible. Clubbing cyber awareness with access security training can only lead to confusion and distraction. Instead, focus on a single security topic and cover each potential risk scenario. Nothing can put the topic front and center than treating it individually.
- Make It Fun
Your employees don’t want to read a thick manual on Cybersecurity or stare at the screen with thousands of words. The truth is they will forget this information as soon as they step out of the meeting room. That’s why you need to add an element of fun to the training sessions or monthly security meetings. On the other hand, when you share the information in a personal and relatable way, it gets fixated in your mind.
Think outside the box. For example, you can kick off your monthly security meeting with a game of security trivia. You can pick a different security category each month. Another way to bring fun to the process is to conduct competitions and use interactive gamification. For example, you can start a phishing email writing competition asking all your employees to write a fictitious fishing email and award prizes to the winners. You can also display the award-winning emails in the office to encourage others. Use real-life stories and facts when creating awareness programs and training sessions. Ask your employees to share such stories during the monthly meetings. Make sure to include everyone in the process such as c-suits and remote employees.
- Implement Security Related Reward Programs
One of the easiest ways to encourage a robust security culture is to recognize and reward employees who take security seriously. If you want people to take security seriously, you have to show it through your actions. Put your money where your mouth is. Award certificates or give gifts to employees who have completed the security training programs successfully. Alternatively, you can also praise winners of monthly security challenges, games, and trivia.
Providing monetary incentives or even cash prizes can also help implement a robust security culture. The implications of a data breach are far-reaching and outweigh these cash rewards and financial incentives. You can also incorporate security as a part of the performance review. It can not only reduce the risk of security breaches but also inspire your employees to take security seriously as a whole.
- Encourage Exchange of User Ideas and Feedback
Soliciting user ideas and encouraging feedback helps you build an active security community. The community also provides a common platform where different departments can keep everyone informed about the potential security risks and latest security-related developments.
However, the biggest advantage of building such a community is that it instigates people to take ownership of the security problems. A monthly security meeting may not cut ice with all the employees, but an informal group discussion or a one-on-one mentoring at a security community can. The bottom line is people should feel free to discuss the latest security issues with their peers as well as superiors.
- Measure the Effectiveness of Your Security Practices
What’s the point of having a security training program if you can’t measure how effective it was? It will provide you with useful insights such as how many people have completed the training, how many can spot the tell-tale signs of a potential security breach, and has their behavior changed. Measuring the effectiveness will not only provide answers to these questions but also make it easier to collect real-time data from your employees on ongoing security issues and developments.
The other advantage is that you can provide the accurate analysis of your security training program to your superiors and ask for more funding accordingly. It also allows you to spot the yet-to-comply staff and urge them to take up security-conscious behavior. You can assess their level of understanding to feel the knowledge gap by providing one-on-one consultation or the right technology such as firewalls, access control systems, secure logins, and anti-malware.
The ever-increasing reliance on technology has also exposed businesses to an increasing number of security threats and data breaches. However, installing latest security firewalls and access control systems isn’t enough to deal with these threats as people are an integral part of your security system. These five tips will help you build a strong security culture. What about you? Has your company developed a security culture? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
Ann Neal (twitter: @Ann_G_Neal) is a writer who covers technology and business. She is passionate about music and loves to play guitar in her free time with her cute pooch listening quietly 😉