Ponemon Institute, a research center that focuses on privacy, data protection, and information security, have found that one-third of data breaches are caused due to an employee or a negligent contractor. A simple act, as innocuous as a single click on a malicious link in an email, can trigger a severe security disaster. And this severity can uproot an entire business. According to the US National Cyber Security Alliance, about 60 percent of small businesses are unable to maintain their business more than six months after suffering a cyber attack.
Clearly, a small mistake from your greatest asset, staff members, can pave a way for the closure of your company. That’s precisely why educating and sensitizing them about cybersecurity becomes a task of wider importance. An initiative to have “Safety at Work” as third week’s theme of National Cyber Security Awareness Month can be seen in the same light.
Maintaining the safety of your personal laptop or desktop is an individual’s responsibility. But when it comes to maintaining security at an organizational level, it becomes a collective responsibility. Hence the need to do away with ad hoc measures and look at cybersecurity as a holistic ecosystem. This calls for carrying it out as a daily routine, which eventually becomes culture. As with every other culture, cybersecurity culture too first needs to be installed and then nurtured. A well chalked out methodology, as explained below, can nullify malicious hackers who may be targeting your employees.
Subscribe now for valuable insights!
A) Create Relevant and Relatable Guidelines:
The first thing that companies need to do is break the popular notion that cybersecurity is a responsibility of tech teams. As explained earlier, each and every employee can bring in a security breach. It, thus, becomes vitally important that companies issue cybersecurity guidelines in a way which can find resonance across all departments. In their crammed-up schedule, it’s indeed difficult to convince employees to prioritize strong security hygiene, like utilizing a password manager or two-factor authentication. But by telling your employees how activating two-factor authentication for social media accounts can reduce the risk of someone breaking into their account, you can make the instruction manual relatable and personal. The point is, if they understand why it is important for them, it will help them understand why it is important for the organization.
B) Let Them Understand Their Role:
Non-tech people may feel that cybersecurity doesn’t fall in their realm. Their inability to understand risks may make them believe that prevention lies outside of their role. That’s where companies need to step up and tell them how they fit into the cybersecurity culture and how their daily actions affect the organization’s security strategy. It should trickle down from the top. In this regard, managers of the non-tech teams can play a vital role here.
C) Perform “Live Fire” Training Exercises:
A theory is no match to actual experience. Live fire training works on this axiom. It puts employees through a simulated attack specific to their job. A security department or an outside vendor orchestrates actual attacks. After being at the center of those attacks, employees are then asked to understand the lessons they’ve learned from that attack, and the implications on the business, and what they have done to prevent them.
Companies can implement this quite easily. Their IT teams can send a fake phishing email to all employees across the organization and see how many people click on it. By breaking down data as per the departments and types of messages, companies can find out problem areas. It will enable companies to tailor their training programs.
D) Right Use of Wi-Fi:
With changing job natures and increasing footprints, work from home or work outside of your office has become a distinguishing feature of work culture. But with more exposure comes more vulnerability. That’s why Wi-Fi hotspot users need to be extra cautious.
If you are using a free Wi-Fi location, ensure that the network you are connecting to is the one provided. Don’t be fooled by name doppelgangers. Check out the spelling of the concerned network diligently. When you are connected to wi-fi, it’s always advisable to avoid doing sensitive work or making any financial transactions.
- Secure your network with a strong password
- Grant access only to people who need to be tied to the network
- Set up a guest network if you have a lot of visitors and limit its access to your critical infrastructure
E) Rather Than an Event, Treat It Like A Movement:
Building a culture around cybersecurity is never a one-off event. It needs persistent efforts in developing training material and resources. One way to keep it ongoing is to include tips in regular newsletters, put out posters around the office, allocate time for security at company meetings.