How to Build a Cybersecurity Culture in Your Organization

Andrew Zola
Andrew Zola on Linkedin

Reports about cybersecurity breaches and the identification of new vulnerabilities have become (almost) a daily occurrence. This means that it’s critical to stay on top of it to ensure that your organization isn’t highly vulnerable to an attack.

According to research, there were 1,579 data breaches publicly disclosed in 2017. The number of data breaches was also 44.% higher than the 1,091 disclosed the year before.

The healthcare industry accounted for 23.7% of the breaches while other industries such as retail, hospitality, trade, and utilities accounted for 55%.

According to the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach last year was $3.62 million (a 10% decline). However, the number of compromised records per breach added up to a whopping 24,000.

Eliminating cybersecurity events is impossible, but there are steps organizations can take to better protect themselves from an attack. However, for it to work, enterprises need to strive to create a culture of cybersecurity.

But how do you achieve this? Let’s take a look at how you can build a strong business culture that continuously embraces the best security practices.

1. Conduct a Companywide Risk Assessment

Before you start developing a company culture that promotes strong defenses, you have to first understand your current security posture. Conducting a security audit will shed light on the true health of your cybersecurity defenses.

However, once the security audit/risk assessment is complete, you have to quickly take steps to address the findings. This approach will help you prioritize and strategize your next move.

2. Ongoing Training and Awareness Programs

After you complete your risk assessment, you will probably have to invest in business processes, more technology, and staff training. This is important because as taking a proactive approach to keeping your business secure can help you avoid the long-term costs associated with a data breach.

When it comes to training, you can’t just have a cybersecurity workshop and then forget about it. In fact, you shouldn’t even do it annually. Rather, keeping your business secure will require regular activities to keep everyone alert and performing the right behaviors.

It’s important to note that not everyone is going to be highly motivated to receive this information. As a result, you should invest in training programs that are highly engaging.

Ideally, you should conduct security training in small groups throughout the year. These should cover topics that are easy to understand.

You can also embrace gamification techniques to keep your employees motivated during training sessions. This will be a great way for them to have a lot of fun while reinforcing learning and desired behaviors.

3. Get Everyone Onboard

Creating a cybersecurity culture requires everyone to be onboard with the idea right from the beginning. This means that you need everyone from top to bottom to buy into the program.

Senior executives should also get involved in promoting key messages and lead by example. This will help encourage employees to integrate security best practices into their daily routine.

At the end of the day, a lack of participation will make all your effort futile. As a result, it’s important to address this right from the start.

4. Establish Security Policies, Standards, and Best Practices

From management to staff to contractors, everyone should be aware of the latest cybersecurity best practices. These should be clearly defined and easily accessible throughout the organization.

This information should be consistent and free of any potential confusion of what’s deemed acceptable and what’s not. These best practices should also incorporate technologies like the following:

  • Anti-phishing software
  • Anti-spam software
  • Antivirus software
  • Data loss prevention
  • Intrusion detection/prevention software

Furthermore, best practices and tools like encryption, multi-factor authentication, and network segmentation should also become the norm.

5. Implement Information Governance (IG) Best Practices

IG can be described as a hybrid super discipline that covers multiple functional boundaries like the following:

  • Big Data analytics
  • Legal and e-discovery issues
  • Information security
  • Information technology
  • Privacy
  • Records management
  • Risk management

IG is always evolving and tweaked on a continuous basis. As a result, it’s also important to revisit it regularly with everyone working for the organization.

Following IG best practices will also help shed light on the unknown. This means that this process will involve identifying the data, its location, users who have access to it, its value, and all applicable legal obligations. 

This approach will help ensure legal compliance whether you decide to store the data or delete it. It’ll also help you better protect the most sensitive information held by the organization.

Do you need to conduct a risk assessment? We can help! Reach out to one of our in-house experts!