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How to create a healthy culture of security in your business

A healthy culture of security is an environment where every employee is aware of the importance of cybersecurity and actively participates in protecting the organization against attacks.

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Today, businesses have rapidly transformed how they work, as a lot more have embraced working remotely. The remote work trend did not start because of the pandemic, but it played a massive role in accelerating it, leaving businesses scrambling to figure out how to keep things running while their employees stay productive outside of the office. However, the growth of remote work means that every employee has a key to the castle, which has created new ways for criminals to attack businesses.

The fight against cybercrime should not only be approached from a technological perspective but a human one as well. Employees become vulnerable to attacks such as phishing or stolen passwords because cybercriminals feed off their behaviors in a war of psychology and trick them into performing actions that seem legitimate but aren’t. This is the aspect that technological defense against cyberattacks cannot resolve and need the human behavior aspect to be bolstered. This is where creating a healthy security culture comes into play. 

What is a security culture? 

A healthy culture of security is an environment where every employee is aware of the importance of cybersecurity and actively participates in protecting the organization against such attacks. It’s employees intuitively knowing the risks involved in their day-to-day activities and having the confidence to handle these risks. 

Creating a healthy culture of security

A healthy security culture incorporates everyone in an organization – from top to bottom, and may well extend to business associates and customers. A security culture can include the customers when the organization educates them about phishing emails and other risks. So in no particular order, below is a list of ways to create a strong security culture for your business. 

Assess your current situation

Start by surveying where you are currently. Are your employees already aware of the different means of attacks out there today, and are they actively engaged in the process? Do employees know how and where to report a suspicious phishing email? Do you alert everyone when there’s an attempted breach? If so, how?

Make security accessible and relatable

To encourage full participation, it is vital to ensure that guidelines, policy documents on processes and communication channels are easy to digest. Ditch the jargon, use plain and simple talk to tell employees what’s expected of them when different security threats or situations occur. Employees need to know where to ask questions, report concerns, and what tools are available to use. 

A healthy security culture is everyone being confident and comfortable with the security and not feeling it’s an overly complicated science. 

Education

Education on cyberattacks and typical cybercrime scenarios is an essential part of awareness training and the overall security culture. Security needs to be fed and carried out using a top-down approach, i.e., no exclusions. Managements should be advocates of security education and awareness extended to anyone that could be vulnerable for the organization – including all employees, contractors, freelancers and customers. 

Reward and encourage employees that do the right thing

Rewards and encouragement can help to inspire continued commitment to the culture of security. Employees, departments, or teams that complete a quarter without an incident can be recognized with bonuses. 

Another side of reward is to make security advancement a choice in your organization. If you have employees with a passion for security, provide them with opportunities to earn advanced degrees such as a master’s degree in cybersecurity. This sends a positive message and further helps to create a healthy security culture in your organization.

Final words

A healthy culture of security is not something that you can create overnight. It takes consistency, strategy, a top-down approach, and most importantly, it takes making security accessible and relatable for everyone across your organization. Also, continuous education and assessment are essential as you strive to change the way people think.

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