Blog

Tips for Creating An Effective Security Culture

Cyber Defence Team
July 12, 2023
Home

Let's Get STARTED

While investing in robust cybersecurity technologies is essential, they can’t protect against human error. And with so many attacks targeting unsuspecting employees of all levels, the chance of human error is higher than ever. To better protect your business, you need not only the right defences in place but also a culture of security. Creating an effective security culture goes beyond implementing policies and conducting occasional training sessions; it involves establishing a mindset that values security as a collective responsibility and encourages proactive engagement from every employee.

By ingraining security practices and awareness into the fabric of your company's daily operations, you can empower your employees to become the first line of defence against potential threats. Moreover, with a comprehensive security culture, you can bridge security gaps and make your security initiatives far more likely to succeed, irrespective of what technologies you use.

WHAT IS SECURITY CULTURE?

Security culture refers to the collective mindset, behaviours, and practices within an organisation that prioritise and promote cybersecurity and data protection. It encompasses the shared values, attitudes, and awareness of all individuals, from employees at every level to senior management, regarding the importance of safeguarding sensitive information and defending against potential threats. A strong security culture is not just about implementing technical measures but involves instilling a sense of responsibility and accountability in every member of the organisation.

At its core, security culture establishes a proactive and vigilant approach towards cybersecurity, where employees understand the potential risks and take active steps to mitigate them. It goes beyond mere compliance with policies and procedures, encouraging individuals to be actively engaged in identifying and reporting potential vulnerabilities or suspicious activities. A robust security culture promotes open communication, knowledge-sharing, and continuous learning, ensuring that everyone remains updated on the latest security best practices and emerging threats.

THE BENEFITS OF AN EFFECTIVE SECURITY CULTURE

An effective security culture offers numerous benefits, ranging from enhanced protection against cyber threats to improved overall operational resilience. Here are some key advantages of fostering a strong security culture in your organisation:

  • Fewer Security Incidents - by ingraining security practices into daily operations, you can minimise the likelihood of data breaches.
  • Increased Engagement - heightened awareness leads to increased vigilance, responsible behaviour, and a collective effort to maintain security standards.
  • Early Threat Detection and Response - by encouraging the reporting of suspicious activities, you can detect potential incidents and respond quickly.
  • Improved Compliance - employees are more likely to adhere to incident response protocols and collaborate to mitigate the risks of security breaches.
  • Reduced costs - security efforts are enhanced without the need for significant investments and new solutions.
  • Greater trust - employees feel a greater sense of security within the workplace and are, in turn, more invested in your security initiatives.

HOW TO BUILD A STRONG SECURITY CULTURE IN THE WORKPLACE

Building a strong security culture requires a comprehensive approach that involves leadership commitment, education and training, clear policies, and continuous reinforcement. To help you build a positive security culture in your workplace, consider the following:

  • Simplify Security Rules - while security guidelines need to be comprehensive, keep them concise, avoid jargon and make them relatable.
  • Make Training Engaging - training needs to be an ongoing process that’s engaging, fun and memorable; consider game-based learning and simulation tests. One pitfall many organisations make is assuming their workforce learns the same way. Always remember, everyone is unique and concepts that may be easier to grasp for some using traditional teaching methods, may need to be taught a different way to others.
  • Reward Good Behaviour - instead of criticising errors, focus on rewarding employees when they make security-minded choices. And for those that need more training, coach in private.
  • Track and Measure Progress - conduct surveys, monitor user behaviour, measure participation rates of security training and review the results of simulation tests.
  • Clearly Communicate Expectations - make it as easy as possible for employees to know what your security rules are and create regular reminders. You may also consider having different touchpoints to help reinforce the message such as posters, pull-up banners, newsletters delivering topical content on a quarterly basis, drink coasters, pens, etc.
  • Lead by Example - managers and team leaders should serve as positive role models and advocates of security to the rest of the business.

It's never too late to become a more security-minded organisation, but building a strong security culture takes time. Whatever you decide to do to raise security awareness, it needs to be ongoing. After all, continuity helps to keep security front of mind and reinforces a strong security culture.

WHY YOU NEED AN EFFECTIVE SECURITY CULTURE WITHIN YOUR ORGANISATION

A huge percentage of cybersecurity incidents are associated with human error, which makes a security culture vital in order to protect your business. This is even more important still with the rise in remote working and the related increased exposure to cybersecurity threats. By helping employees to feel accountable, responsible, and involved in the security of your business, they're much more likely to practise secure behaviours off their own backs. What's more, a strong security culture reduces confusion around what to do in any given situation and makes the technology, policies, and procedures you have in place much more likely to succeed.

It’s never too late to build a security culture; it takes time and is a continual process, of course, but every effort you make can go a long way. By creating an effective security culture, you can minimise the risk of breaches, mitigate the impact of cyber attacks and build a more reliant defence posture for your business. If you would like to learn more about building an effective security culture, watch our latest webinar where we discuss why security awareness programs fail and how to drive lasting cultural change.