How to build a strong security culture

How to build a strong security culture

Good security workplace cultures are comprised of workers who have a well-rounded understanding of healthy cybersecurity practices, hold themselves accountable for their own data protection, and possess the confidence to mitigate and handle risks.

Companies must therefore take active measures to ensure all employees are aware of common threats, preventative methods, and incident management, rather than relying solely on an IT team or outsourced professionals.

Below, we discuss five major ways of creating a healthy security culture in your organization, strengthening both your cybersecurity and business reputation.

Lead by example

Your first step to establishing a healthy security culture is to be well-versed in cybersecurity yourself. Being in a position of authority, you should be the one to initiate change. Practice what you preach and adopt good security habits in your daily routine. This means setting strong and unique passwords, logging out of devices when not in use, and warning everyone about online scams making the rounds.

It’s also important to appear accessible and approachable to employees, encouraging them to ask about policies and procedures if necessary. Don’t silo your IT or security teams. Ensure they stay visible, actively communicating their initiatives to all levels of your business. Not only does this maintain employee awareness, but it also instills cybersecurity as an organization-wide priority.

Provide quality training

Once you’ve brushed up on healthy security practices yourself, the next stage is educating your employees. Build their awareness of common threats, along with ways of identifying and preventing them. Organizations typically provide brief tests every 3–6 months to refresh their workers’ knowledge, and tailor their training content depending on their department, level of responsibility, and data access.

Should a breach or security incident occur, it’s beneficial to also use this as a learning experience, discussing with your teams what went wrong and how to improve.

Avoid placing blame

Fostering a “blame culture” only further encourages poor security practices. All too often, businesses place extreme punishment on employees who fall victim to online scams, resulting in the worker getting fired or even sued.

A media company in Scotland, for example, carried out these exact measures with an employee who fell for an email scam. In doing this, workers are less likely to come forward in the case of security failures, putting sensitive data further at risk. To avoid this, create a supportive environment and encourage employees to approach managers and help desk teams when issues arise.

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Make security an engaging subject

It’s important to make training programs engaging and accessible. Businesses are encouraged to ditch the traditional “voice over a PowerPoint presentation” approach in favor of more creative forms of education.

These may include gamification, in which daily security practices are turned into mini “games” or competitions. Role-playing is another recommended form of training that allows you to walk employees through common security cases your company faces, teaching them fundamental concepts through hands-on exercises.

The less corporate and cold your teachings are, the more likely employees will retain the information. This also dispels the notion of cybersecurity being a high-level “science,” breaking down its concepts into more bite-sized, easy-to-understand content.

Clearly outline your policies

Last but not least, have a clear, established documentation of your policies. Such guidelines are the backbone of your security culture, creating a framework which employees can work off of.

Consider creating two documents: one prepared by your IT department and the other by human resources. The policies outlined by your IT team will indicate specific rules, systems, and procedures to be followed by all those with access to company data and digital infrastructure.

The other will be a more informal document, created by HR to explain the importance of following proper security practices and how it benefits both individual employees and the business as a whole. Such information should also outline the consequences of straying from company policies, including damaged company (and individual) reputation and stolen private information.

Keep both you and your employees on top of the latest security trends, tools, and software with Quicktech’s cybersecurity solutions, providing Vancouver-based businesses with all the resources they need to minimize risks, implement modern safeguards, and maintain best practices. Foster a confident, aware, and protected workplace culture, and consult with our experts today.

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