7 Tips for building a culture of cybersecurity

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As the cost of cyberattacks increases, cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important. While IT security tools and programs give you an advantage, they cannot replace human awareness and intelligence.

It has become essential to have employees with good cybersecurity practices. Creating and announcing new security rules does not have the desired longevity or power if they aren’t part of the company’s culture. Building a security-focused culture is far more effective over time.

Cybersecurity as a business culture creates an environment in which people want to be a part. Employees are more likely to engage when it’s a policy they can believe in.

WEBIT has helped clients reach cybersecurity goals for over 25 years. In that time, we’ve educated many clients and their workforce on effective cybersecurity practices. We’ve found a security-minded culture to be an influential asset in the fight against cybercrime.

By the end of this article, you will learn seven tips to help build a culture of cybersecurity to protect your business and clients.

7 Tips for building a culture of cybersecurity

Here are our top 7 tips for building a business culture that cares about cybersecurity and implements it effectively. Implementing these practices will help encourage participation and, in doing so, better safeguard your data and client’s data from cyberattacks.

1. Leadership participation

Business culture starts with the heads of the company and then permeates all levels of the organization. It begins with the people in charge.

Cybersecurity standards are more likely to be embraced and integrated into the culture with leadership endorsement and participation. By following security procedures, leadership shows how strongly it believes in them. This encourages employees to follow suit.

On the other hand, if leadership treats IT security guidelines as “Rules for thee but not for me,” employees are more likely to resist new regulations. In this case, both leadership and employees increase the risk of security breaches.

2. Establish IT rules and procedures

Human beings can be your company’s most significant weakness or greatest strength for data protection. While cybersecurity programs are assets, poor practices can undermine them.

To add additional protection, a culture of cybersecurity will have clear IT rules and procedures to help reduce risk. This way, everyone is on the same page with the same expectations and can work together to protect company data.

Examples of cybersecurity rules everyone can follow are:

  • Use multi-factor authentication for company logins.
  • Don’t use your personal computer to access the company network or handle company data.
  • Don’t use your personal email or devices to send business files.
  • Report suspicious emails or links (phishing).

Creating response plans in case of cyberattacks is also beneficial. This way, everyone knows the proper response in IT emergencies.

3. Communicate clearly

Create communications and speak in a relatable way that promotes a group cause.

The word “cybersecurity” might seem intimidating or remote for many employees. Instead, you can say, “policies to protect our company and clients.” Speak to your employees in a way that rallies them to your cause. Encourage them to join you and take ownership of cybersecurity.

4. Educate your organization

Speak honestly about the risks and costs of cybersecurity. This isn’t to promote fearmongering but to bring awareness. Humans often respond more strongly when they understand how close and relevant a threat is.

Cybercrime isn’t something that happens to “those people.” It can happen to anyone, even businesses that feel they’re too small to be targeted. Cybercriminals target anyone who unknowingly lets them in, whether they’re a major corporation or a mom-and-pop shop.

Sharing statistics can communicate the reality and value of cybersecurity practices.

Here’s how vital employee IT security participation is:

Cybercrime is a growing threat, and the statistics of its effects are staggering. Communicate this to your employees—be open about risks.

An educated workforce is a powerful asset.

5. Perform quarterly risk assessments

Risk assessments are a great way of taking your company’s cybersecurity temperature. They identify current weaknesses and improvements. Risk assessments also account how well cybersecurity protocols are being followed.

Risk assessments will tell you how many incidents have been reported or addressed. They also show your victories and improvements and create an element of accountability for all employees.

For example, an assessment may show several employees clicking phishing links. In response, you may focus on training employees that quarter to identify phishing emails and social engineering risks. In the following assessment, you should see improvement in that area.

If you don’t have regular assessments, there’s no way to know if your protocols, techniques, and security-focused culture are working.

6. Have regular cybersecurity training

Risk is not static. It’s constantly evolving. You want your employees to grow to meet this challenge head-on. Regular training will allow your organization to stay aware and prepared.

Training can occur as frequently as your organization needs, but quarterly sessions are a good place to start. This way, they appear in direct response to risk assessments.

Training sessions don’t have to be long, involved, or complicated. It can consist of brief videos, presentations, or activities addressing areas of concern.

Sometimes, security training is the most impactful when it’s short and direct. Which would you remember more: a thirty-minute seminar on identifying social engineering or a five-minute video on the same topic?

7. Make it fun!

Cybersecurity is important, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. You can increase employee engagement by making it enjoyable!

Find training videos or exercises that are engaging. IT Security education doesn’t have to be dull. There are many training resources available. Your IT provider can help you find a program that fits your organization and your needs.

You can also turn training tests into contests for enjoyable competition. For example, your IT Provider can send out fake phishing emails to see who can identify them. The employee who reports the most phishing wins a prize!

Celebrating small victories and cybersecurity successes make it a positive shared experience.

Culture and bonds are formed partially based on shared enjoyment. By reaching out to employees in a positive way, a culture of cybersecurity will be built more quickly.

Next steps for crafting cybersecurity culture

Building a company culture that values cybersecurity is more effective than writing new rules alone. Making it a part of your organization’s fabric helps reinforce its protection against cyberattacks.

We gave you seven steps to help build this security-minded culture:

  1. Leadership participation
  2. Establish IT rules and procedures
  3. Communicate clearly
  4. Educate your organization
  5. Perform quarterly risk assessments
  6. Have regular cybersecurity training
  7. Make it fun!

If your company’s culture loves cybersecurity, your employees will, too. In the long run, this mindset benefits your business by building greater protection against cyberattacks.

As an IT Provider, WEBIT Services has seen the effectiveness of security-minded culture. It’s part of the reason WEBIT is passionate about education on technology and cybersecurity.

To begin your journey into security culture, you should first analyze your latest risk assessment to spot weaknesses. If you haven’t had a risk assessment in the last three months, now might be a good time to have one.

Once the assessment is complete, talk to your IT provider about recommended security practices and educational resources. Find a plan that works for you, your leadership, and your business. Our seven steps can take you the rest of the way.

If you are looking for an IT provider, schedule a thirty-minute free consultation to see if WEBIT Services can help.

Another important aspect of creating a cybersecurity culture is to continue to educate yourself. Learn why two-factor authentication is vital to your protecting your organization and how determining your cybersecurity risk levels can help you create solid best practices.