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Cybersecurity is a key priority for small, medium, and large companies. If you are a keen internet user or a lover of news and trending topics, I am sure you already know the current threats surrounding the cybersecurity realm. Cybersecurity threats are now a nightmare that faces all levels of organizations. Malware attacks, DDoS threats, phishing, brute force, SQL injections, etc. are running riot in the internet streets.
Barely halfway into the year, 2022 has already seen the highest number of malware infections than any other year. As of May 2022, close to 135 Million malware samples were reported. 68% of business leaders are fully convinced that cybersecurity threats are increasing. What could be the remedy for this worrying trend?
Implementing A Cybersecurity Culture As Part of Cybersecurity Defense Strategy
SSL certificates, antimalware protection, firewalls, packet sniffers, and Intrusion detection systems are some of the tools that have been widely implemented to try and curb the cybersecurity menace. However, these tools do not guarantee full immunity against cybersecurity threats. If they did, why is it that large companies and organizations such as the Dallas Police Department and Marriot Data Leakhave suffered from cybersecurity threats?
The common factor between the two cases is that they were caused by an insider threat. Whereas having adequate tools, protocols, and measures to protect a system from attacks is necessary, there is also a need for a robust cybersecurity culture to boost the cybersecurity aspect and help safeguard against insider threats.
The Need For A Cybersecurity Culture
Insider threats caused by malicious employees or ignorance and employee mistakes can be difficult to stop and prevent. Most security protocols companies have aimed at dealing with external threats. Insider threats are double-edged swords that could cause significant harm to a company and expose the company to external threats. According to a recent report, insider threats are increasing and hitting all-time highs. I believe that building a cybersecurity culture could be an ideal solution to deal with this menace.
What is A Cybersecurity Culture?
There is no way you are going to build a cybersecurity culture before first understanding what it is or entails. The concept of a cybersecurity culture is where all employees or stakeholders in an organization have the mindset that security threats are real and could occur any day, any time, either as a result of intrinsic forces or external threats.
The cybersecurity culture should be part and parcel of the broader corporate culture. Also, it should be noted that a cybersecurity culture is more than cyber awareness. It requires that all stakeholders have enough knowledge of the various types of potential threats, the defensive mechanisms to protect oneself against the threats, and the skills and knowledge to apply the mechanisms in practicality.
Building A Cybersecurity Culture- A Guide for Small, Medium, and Large Companies
1. Have Clear Mission and Goals
The first step to building an excellent cybersecurity culture is outlining the mission and the goals you intend to achieve. From this, it will be easy to identify what constitutes the success and security of the technology. It also puts you in an excellent position to convert the goals into an elevator pitch and ensure the goals and missions can be easily verbalized. Any outcome that meets the set goals is worth being celebrated. Doing so will further establish the culture of cybersecurity.
2. Focus on the C-Suite and Make Security Relatable
The C-suite plays a fundamental role in establishing secure cyberculture, which is why they should be given top priority. It is easy for the management to enforce cybersecurity policies in the organization than it is for junior staff to do so. Additionally, the Junior staff tend to learn from the managers and will do as the managers do. Once the management understands what cybersecurity is, what it entails, the risks the company could face, and the best defense mechanisms to safeguard the organization from the threats, you are good to go.
3. Make It Human-Centric
A good cybersecurity program should start and end with the people. A human-centric approach is one that entails analyzing stakeholders to understand their behaviors, challenges, and figuring out what ought to be changed in favor of "the people" and how that change can be implemented. The people, in this perspective, refer to the employees and all other stakeholders that are the center of the cybersecurity culture. It should be noted that "the people" are the center of attention and remain the most important aspect of the cybersecurity culture. Based on the analysis of the human behaviors and challenges they faced, it would be easy to create a secure culture initiative that addresses all these needs and challenges.
4. Conduct a Lively and Enjoyable Security Awareness and Training
A lively and rewarding cybersecurity awareness training could be so encouraging. For instance, phishing awareness training could be more efficient if a reward is attached to it. The reward could be extended to the employee identifying and reporting a phishing attack. The training program should adopt the approach of "when you see something, say something." In so doing, employees will be made valuable assets to the company.
Most importantly, the training program should be created to help the user identify possible attacks. Employees should be enlightened on the essence of security protocols and tools such as SSL certificates. As a matter of fact, the topic of SSL certificates and HTTPS encryption should be stressed well enough. SSL certificates play a fundamental role in ensuring that users remain safe from potential threats. Employees who are lured to clicking on links from unknown sources should check the HTTP/HTTPS status of the website before proceeding to visit the website. If you have website with multiple sub domains then Wildcard SSL Certificate is best choice for you. This single certificate secures entire domain with sub domains in cheap prices.
The cybersecurity training and awareness program will also provide a perfect ground to warn employees of severe repercussions if they try a spiteful activity. Just ensure that the program remains as interactive and lively as possible.
5. Invest In the Right Security Tools, Protocols, and Talent
Security tools are very fundamental to the security of the company systems. We have already seen the role played by SSL certificates. Other tools such as antimalware software, firewalls, and other security information and event management strategies should be implemented to the core. But the game should not just stop at implementation. Employees should be taught how to use these tools to protect themselves from attacks. And this is where a reliable and well-informed IT talent force comes into play.
It should be understood that only a small portion of the staff has the technical know-how to configure, handle and use the many securities protocols the organization puts in place. It is the work of the IT team to pass the knowledge to the users. After all, what is the point of having expensive security protocols that cannot be applied by users in case of a cybersecurity breach?
6. Be Consistent
Providing cybersecurity information to employees is not enough. It is important to ensure that the information provided remains as consistent as possible. For instance, the cybersecurity realm's policies and guidelines should not be altered unnecessarily. Taking the case of password policies, it is important to spell out the type of passwords every employee should create, the password lengths, the complexity, and how frequently the passwords should be changed.
The logic here is very simple- When the guidelines of computational operations are changed frequently, even the most talented team members will find it hard to guide others into finding the correct answers. The more contradictions, the harder it will be to implement a consistent cybersecurity culture.
The Bottom Line
The value of a cybersecurity culture in an organization should never be overlooked. With the increasing insider and other external threats, it is important to develop a cybersecurity culture that makes all stakeholders aware of the security threats that could target their accounts and systems.
Whereas most companies know of the essence of such a culture, implementing it is often not a walk in the park.
This article has provided a few guidelines on how best to build a cybersecurity culture at your company. Contact StartingPoint to discuss implementing workflow management tools to help your company grow and be secure.