Developing a Cybersecurity Mindfulness Culture

girl hiding from cybersecurity issues

Developing a cybersecurity mindfulness culture is not only important, it is necessary for businesses to survive with the threats that exist today. In our ever-connected world, cyberattacks are becoming more and more common. Businesses of all sizes are at risk, and it’s critical that organizations develop a cybersecurity mindfulness culture to protect their data. This means creating a mindset among employees that is always aware of the potential for cyber threats and takes proactive steps to safeguard information. Implementing simple measures such as employee training, setting strong passwords, and using antivirus software can make a big difference in overall cybersecurity posture. By establishing a cybersecurity mindfulness culture, businesses can better protect themselves against digital threats and ensure the safety of their data. We’ve provided a few ways to foster that culture.

Leadership First. As with any significant culture shift, the commitment starts at the top. Company leaders set the tone for how employees approach business problems and solutions. When it comes to cybersecurity, leaders of an organization must be willing to listen to the risks, illustrate humility in recognizing that there is an inherent cyber risk to their business and be willing to do whatever it takes to protect the company and its intellectual property. If leaders truly believe this is an issue worthy of concern, they will set the cyber stance for the company and they must walk the talk when it comes to taking these issues seriously. 

When leadership takes the stance that cybersecurity is a passing fad or that it isn’t something to be taken seriously, the mentality and followed actions from all other employees are with nonchalance and carelessness. This is an issue that the leaders must truly lead on and communicate their actions for all others to see how important it truly is for the business’ sustainability. 

But when leaders take heed to the warnings, learn how they can protect the organization, and communicate their actions, they have set the stage for how employees can protect the company as well. It is the first step and often the most important in developing a cybersecurity mindfulness culture.  

Cybersecurity Champion. In addition to the leadership participation, the organization needs a trusted advisor that will champion all things related to cybersecurity and company risk management. This should be a carefully selected individual or group of individuals that leadership can entrust with this responsibility and will respond to their guidance. A managed service provider (MSP) can serve in this role but even when an organization utilizes an MSP, it can be more effective to have someone within the company as a subject matter expert related to cybersecurity. 

Whereas an MSP’s role can serve as the entity responsible for educating the company on new risks or technology advancements, the employee is responsible for understanding the company processes that could have gaps or opportunities for hackers to take advantage of. The partnership between these groups is what can help mitigate risk but also can serve to build education and training programs for the employee base. This champion would also be tasked with increasing engagement with employees to ensure the adoption of cybersecurity practices.

Cybersecurity Education. This leads us to our next factor in developing a cybersecurity mindfulness culture. Along with having leadership on board and at least one person who is a cybersecurity subject matter expert, engaging the employee base is critical for long term success. With human error being the number one security threat to a business, a frequent and effective training program is necessary to ensure understanding and application. This can’t be just an annual training with a set-it-and-forget-it mentality. The education needs to be communicated in a multitude of ways to ensure adoption. Perhaps texting a tip of the month or sending out a voicemail weekly along with classroom training could help adoption. Some organizations are even implementing incentive programs that entice employees with rewards for compliance or no incident periods of time. Incentives could include a half-day off or gift card for attending certain training. Some companies are using gamification techniques to allow employees to earn “points” that are redeemable for desirable gifts when training has been attended and/or passed. Creative strategies are necessary to engage employees but also ensure retention and ultimately understanding of the concepts. Another benefit that can be provided to employees during these trainings could also be including how they can make cybersecurity protection personal for their own lives too. When employees recognize the company and personal risk, the adoption of these mitigation techniques will increase. 

 

Cybersecurity Communication. Lastly, one of the hardest pieces of developing a cybersecurity mindfulness culture is the communication to all employees consistently. It is critical to deliver timely and relevant messages to all employees that will help prevent issues but also alert to issues that arise immediately. Leadership should be encouraging open communication rather than shaming individuals if a mistake is made. When mistakes are made, it may be more important that the employee speak up right away to help reduce any additional risk throughout the organization. Communication should be frequent and on a timely basis that coincides with when the employees will receive it best. For example, if month-end is generally a high-stress period for employees, perhaps communicating regularly at the beginning of the month would be preferred. 

Contact us today if you’d like to discuss how Firefly can help.

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Adam Jones