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Sheza Gary

Scotty's Builders Supply

Project Strategist

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Creating a Work Culture Focused on Cybersecurity


Cybersecurity at the office doesn’t begin and end with the IT department. In fact, it takes everyone to truly create a secure network. That means you need to foster a culture of cybersecurity from the CEO down to the clerks and assistants. Everyone needs to know how to protect the network from viruses and hackers. All it takes is one person with a weak password or who fails to follow the rules to compromise the network and create a security risk. Fortunately, there are a number of different ways you can foster this type of culture. Here are some tips for creating a strong culture of cybersecurity at your office.

Identify Risks

The first thing to do is to identify the risks to your network. These risks come from a number of different directions. They can include things such as employees using instant messaging and other types of communications that are not encrypted, employees bringing their own devices to the office, and employees storing company data on their personal devices. Other risks include using software that hasn’t been approved by the IT department, traveling to other states or countries and using open Wi-Fi, and configuring computers in a nonstandard way.

Educate Everyone and Provide Specialised Training

Before your team can follow all of your security procedures, they need to know and understand them. You have to do more than just email out various network security tips every month. Your team needs to be taught what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and why it’s important.

The why is often the one thing that’s left out of this information. If your employees don’t know why they’re being asked to do something, they may not understand how important it is. Talk to your employees about the cost of data breaches and network violations. If they understand how much money using a weak password could cost the company, they will be more likely to follow protocol and keep your network secure.

Be Available

Some employees only know their IT department and upper management as a name on an email. Having an open-door policy, however, makes your team much more likely to come to you with questions, comments, and ideas. It’s much easier to convince someone why IT security is important when you’re talking face to face with them than it is over an email. Visiting each department also gives you a chance to see how employees are implementing security protocols so you can provide suggestions and recommendations.

Answer Any and All Questions

Make sure your team understands that it’s not just okay for them to ask questions, it’s encouraged. The more questions that are asked, the more information is shared. Understanding why specific rules are in place goes a long way towards illustrating why they’re important. It also helps if you provide very clear answers that don’t contain confusing acronyms or jargon. Make your information as clear as possible.

You also want to question your own network and traffic on it. Never assume that someone who has logged in and attempting to access secure information is just an employee making a mistake. It may be a compromised account. By using a real time intrusion detection software like Snort, you can lock down these suspicious accounts until you can determine if they have been hacked or not. This type of tool is a necessity in today’s BYOD culture where employees may be bringing in compromised devices regularly.

Show the Value of Cybersecurity

Some employees don’t realize what a real threat hackers and malware can be. Make certain you include real world statistics and other information in your briefings, training, and follow-up emails. Remind employees that cybersecurity costs billions of dollars every year, and one small mistake can undo all of the work that goes into creating these systems. Also, point out that there are many more hackers out there than the news reports on. For every one of them who gets caught, there are a lot more successfully stealing data with no repercussions. While a BYOD culture may seem to make it easier on employees since they can use their own devices at work, it also opens up security risks. Stress how dangerous those risks are.

Integrate Security with Your Team’s Needs

Look at what your teams are doing and try to structure your security guidelines so that they don’t interfere or contradict what each team needs. Your IT department needs to understand the various business processes of each department and do their best to tailor security measures to work with their processes and needs. However, also remember to never compromise your security needs. In any case where security needs conflict with department needs, security should always have priority.

Be Transparent

Make it very clear what your security policies are and what their purpose is. If you’re transparent with your policies, your employees will understand why you’re collecting data. If you’re not, they may feel as if you’re spying on them.

Get Everyone Involved

Employee engagement is one of the most important part of cybersecurity. You need to make certain that everyone is involved and understands their part in protecting your network. This even includes your customers and partners. Everyone should understand that good security habits benefit everyone.

Make Cybersecurity Personal

Teaching good cybersecurity habits can do more than just protect your network. You can also teach employees how to apply these policies to their own computer habits. This will allow them to better protect their personal devices and data.

Keep it Easy to Understand

In order to create a strong workplace culture focused on cybersecurity, you need to make it easy to do so. Your employees should understand everything being asked of them and know why they’re doing it. If you keep it clear, plain, and simple, you’ll find that employees don’t have a problem following your security protocols.

Have an Error-Reporting System

Finally, be sure employees understand how to report any breaches in security, even if they made it themselves. They should know that they won’t be blamed or punished for doing so. Everyone makes mistakes, and rather than spend time attacking someone for doing so, your team needs to understand that they need to come together to handle the security violation.

Build Your Culture

Creating a culture of cybersecurity may take a little bit of work, but it’s very important in order to keep your network safe. Take the time to do so and you may be surprised at how serious your employees take cybersecurity.

Author Profile Picture
Sheza Gary

Project Strategist

Read more from Sheza Gary

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