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How To Build a Cybersecure Culture  

Protect your business by taking a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity.

Sometimes the cybersecurity landscape can feel a bit hopeless, especially when you look at recent data. News headlines are abuzz about breaches. Major companies across the economy are routinely victimized by hackers. Municipalities are open targets. Despite millions invested in security solutions, attacks seem to continue with unrelenting frequency. It all begs the question: Where do we go next? 

The answer is deceptively simple. Agencies seeking to keep their networks secure and data safe must build a cybersecure culture. How do you do it? Let’s look at a few ideas.

What is a cybersecure culture?

A workplace with a “cybersecure culture” is one with a broad understanding of cybersecurity’s importance. Additionally, these are workplaces that promote cybersecurity training and consider every employee an important contributor to their overall security posture. Cybersecurity is not an afterthought in these organizations but a key goal that directly informs the workplace’s strategic decision-making.

Start with some simple questions

The work of building a cybersecure culture begins with the recognition that a long-term commitment is required. Start by asking stakeholders for their buy-in and ensure you will be properly resourced for the long haul. Once assured of your organization’s support, you can develop strategies and tactics to achieve your cybersecurity goals.

Security awareness training  

Companies are increasingly realizing that technology solutions are not a magic bullet in the war against hackers and fraudsters, and many have begun supplementing their tools with security awareness training. The importance of such training really cannot be overstated, as the data shows that human error is one of the primary causes of major cyber incidents like data breaches. Just a few years ago, Stanford University partnered with a cybersecurity organization and found “that approximately 88% of all data breaches are caused by an employee mistake.”[i]

Security awareness training that provides tailored and comprehensive content can directly address this issue. More specifically, an effective program will also look at the most pressing threats facing your organization. It will then offer guidance on how employees can recognize suspicious activity and take action. Some additional tips for building a great program are:

  • Cover the latest and most important cyberthreats affecting your agency, including malware, ransomware, modern phishing and dark web activity.
  • Share actionable tips on how to create strong passwords, properly identify suspicious emails and assess which links are safe.
  • Consider consulting a provider that offers security awareness training programs with customized content.

Apply a critical policy eye

Another step for building a cybersecure organization is to review relevant policies and adjust where necessary. Oftentimes, organizations fail to specify core parts of their cybersecurity strategy, which results in inconsistencies in acceptable use, data protection and incident response procedures. Fleshing these out needs to be a business priority, as it will create the consistency essential to keeping attackers at bay.

Create a collaborative, responsible culture

One of the last pillars of a cybersecure culture is arguably the trickiest. You need to also establish a workplace where people speak up about suspicious or illegal cyberactivity. This requires multiple steps. Obviously, you need to establish clear reporting channels and processes, but you must also ensure that employees believe that your company’s response will be fair and non-punitive. Investing in team building activities throughout the year can be one of the best ways to create this type of culture. When employees feel committed to the well-being of their workplace and their co-workers, they are naturally incentivized to make positive contributions to their employer’s cybersecurity strategy.

Final thoughts

Technology is integral to any organization’s defense posture in a world full of ever evolving cyberthreats like ours. But that is only the first step. It is also critical to gain buy-in, provide education and training, and create a culture where people feel genuinely passionate about contributing to your defense posture. It is the best way to move toward a more resilient and cybersecure workplace.

[i] Stanford Research: 88% Of Data Breaches Are Caused By Human Error (knowbe4.com)

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This blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on this blog.

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