5 Steps to cultivate cybersecurity culture in the workplace

The most valuable asset of any company is, of course, your workforce. Unfortunately, your employees often fall prey to online criminals. 

While technology has certainly simplified and streamlined business operations it’s also given cybercriminals many ways to disrupt (and corrupt) your networks and systems. 

In fact, 2018 saw 43% of businesses, that’s 4 in every 10 companies, become victims of cybersecurity breaches, according to the Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2018. 

This same survey indicated that 74% of the respondents consider cybersecurity a top business priority. 

Let’s take a look at what the figures tell us.

According to the IBM and Ponemon Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach Study, the average cost of data breaches over the last 12 months, worldwide was $3.6 million.

Moreover, PricewaterhouseCoopers’s (PwC) 2018 Global State of Information Security Survey indicated that more than 90% of cyber-related attacks are caused by human error. 

It’s important to note that cybercriminals use multiple forms of social engineering to trick employees into providing them with sensitive information. 

What we found interesting is that as little as 30% of those respondents had a security awareness program in place. 

So why then should you cultivate a cybersecurity culture? 

Cybersecurity is the responsibility of your entire organisation, not just your IT department, so we have created a blueprint for developing a culture of cybersecurity to help you protect your business.

This will strengthen your capacity to overcome cyber threats by empowering your employees in a way that promotes safe and secure business operations. 

In this blog post, we’re going to highlight the 5 steps you need to follow in order to empower your employees and develop a strong culture of cybersecurity. Let’s get started. 

Step one. Cover the basics. 

It’s important not to skip over the basics. You can’t formulate a feasible blueprint on cybersecurity awareness unless everybody is on the same page. 

This means that your first step should be to tackle password protocol. 

It’s time to institute a strong password policy which will go a long way in boosting your line of defence, making it more difficult for intruders to gain access and penetrate your system. 

Your password policy can either be taught as a part of your security awareness training or you could choose to implement this through your existing security infrastructures such as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), or Single-Sign-On (SSO).

READ: 5 Steps to Successful Single Sign-On Implementation

It is still recommended that you spend some time educating your employees about the importance and relevance of this process. In fact, there’s a higher likelihood that a data breach will occur through a phishing attack than a much harder password cracking attempt. 

It’s advised to limit your employees’ access to data, systems, and software depending on their role in your company to avoid any unauthorised access. 

You can read more about Multi-Factor Authentication ? here.

Step two. Train your employees on cybersecurity. 

A cybersecurity training program is an effective way to provide employees in your organisation with the knowledge and tools they need to response to online threats. 

In fact, security-related risks are reduced by 70% after enterprises have invested in cybersecurity training and awareness, this is based on research from Aberdeen Group and Wombat Security Technologies. 

Use rewards and incentives to align employees with the course outcomes and improve employee engagement. Rewards have the ability to encourage and motivate your employees, which will help you to achieve a healthy security culture. 

Step three. Inspire your employees. 

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, from your executive management team to your employees, to consultants, contractors, and any other agents your company may employ. 

You should inspire your teams to take ownership of their digital security. 

You can do this by offering your explanation of your company’s vision and mission of optimised cybersecurity is. This provides a platform for conversation which may bring to light ideas and suggestions that would not have been aired.  

You should reward the employees who are actively participating in your cybersecurity activities. Remember though, you need to be leading the charge for your initiatives

Take a look at why your employees are your strongest cybersecurity asset ? here. 

Step four. Leave communication lines open.  

Open lines of communication are essential to preventing mistakes. Your employees need to feel empowered to get in touch with your IT department if they think they’ve made a mistake, without judgment or ridicule. 

You could set up channels where your employees can freely discuss any technical concerns or ask questions about cybersecurity. Tools like Slack with specific IT channels could be one way of doing this. 

Step five. Keep security top of mind. 

To effectively build a culture of security awareness, you need to be intentional and consistent about creating awareness and keeping it top of mind. This can be done through educational seminars, webinars and courses to inform your employees about the latest security trends and issues that they may need to be aware of. 

You can also create company-wide email announcements that highlight top security tips and best practices for your employees to follow through with. 

Final thoughts 

Building an organisation with a security-minded culture takes time. Start with effective communication and training and create clear channels for employees to provide feedback.

Be consistent with your communication to ensure cybersecurity remains top of mind and relevant in the life of your organisation.

Do you know how mature your IAM program is? Why not take our online audit for a free assessment

A cybersecurity expert dedicated to protecting organisations against the digital risks associated with digital transformation.

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