How to Implement a Cybersecurity First Culture
A single security mistake can hurt not only an organization’s bottom line, but also its reputation with its partners, clients and customers. Businesses today must consider security from the ground up and integrate it into all levels of the organization. Troy Markowitz, co-founder and CRO, Drata, discusses the steps to creating a culture focused on cybersecurity.
Organizations sometimes make the mistake of thinking that cybersecurity efforts boil down to basic steps like changing passwords and updating software. Unfortunately, there is much more than that. Security must be considered from the start to ensure data security, and leaders must identify ways to embed it at all levels of the organization. It’s easier said than done.
Data breaches in 2021 increased by 68% compared to 2020, and weak passwords aren’t the only thing driving this increase. Malicious attackers find their way to sensitive or proprietary information using all sorts of methods. The threat landscape is changing every day and the cost of each incident continues to rise. The global average cost of a data breach has risen from $3.86 million to $4.24 million in 2021.
Add to that the challenge of a hybrid or remote environment, and the whole initiative becomes more complex. This added complexity makes it more difficult to implement effective cybersecurity solutions, but it also makes it more necessary. Organizations today need even greater visibility and understanding of how employees are leveraging technology across all locations, even within their own homes. Without this, they expose themselves to significant risks.
Where can organizations start? By making cybersecurity a central part of the corporate culture.
Learn more: Why supplier cybersecurity development should be a top priority
3 essential steps to implement a culture focused on cybersecurity
Thinking about a cybersecurity strategy first isn’t easy, but it’s simple. Just follow this three-step process:
1. Implement Security Awareness Training
Basic training is a crucial part of adopting a cybersecurity mindset. It’s essential to focus on removing threats and making sure the security team knows what to look out for. To ensure they retain the information, it is essential to educate the team in a way that they can connect. This could be an opportunity to invest in resources that make safety training more fun and engaging.
From a leadership perspective, organizations should emphasize recurring training and updating training as security threats evolve. It may be a good idea to incorporate this into the onboarding process to ensure that every employee receives safety training before they even start working.
Here are some good examples of security awareness training:
- Phishing tests
- Interactive experiments and simulations
- Engaging video content
Organizations can also look for certifications or attestations of compliance, such as SOC 2 (which is becoming increasingly necessary to run a modern business in the cloud). If so, they will need to demonstrate that the employees are taking security awareness training. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to security, and organizations should experiment with different methods to see which ones work best with their employees. Regular check-ins to ask for feedback on what works and what doesn’t can help continually improve the program.
2. Establish accountability
Everyone is responsible for corporate security – but at the same time, every human being and every interaction poses a potential risk. As organizations evolve, so do these risks. It’s critical to make sure employees understand that cybersecurity isn’t just the IT team’s problem, it’s a responsibility that everyone at all levels of the organization shares.
54% of successful phishing attacks the attacks included breaching customer or customer data. A person’s error is a risk. However, if employees know what to look for and how to assess and identify business risk, they can stop these attacks in their tracks. Encourage real-time information sharing through communication platforms such as Slack when receiving suspicious emails. Also, make sure everyone reads and fully understands company security policies.
The most important thing here is to think fast and move slowly. While start-ups will inherently scale quickly, security sometimes means stopping for a moment and thinking. Although it may seem counterintuitive, promoting this approach will pay off in the long run.
3. Make it part of the organization’s core values
Cybersecurity should be embedded in organizational values for any company responsible for handling confidential data. It’s great to have values like integrity and courage, but those things should also apply to how the company handles data and approaches cybersecurity.
This is especially true for cloud-based businesses, which face new and ever-changing threats every day. Businesses today work fast. You may work fast, but security threats move just as fast. Data is one of the most important assets that businesses have today, which means that its security must be a fundamental part of their operations.
Learn more: How companies can move from cybersecurity training to learning
The cybersecurity opportunity for organizations
While developing a culture focused on cybersecurity can seem overwhelming, this approach presents a huge opportunity for startups. By setting cybersecurity standards early and embedding security awareness into their culture, organizations can prepare for future success.
Whether a company has two employees or more than 1,000, safety must be an integral and active part of its culture. Establishing and maintaining a strong security posture requires ongoing training and adherence. Organizations can only achieve this by highlighting its importance and giving people the resources they need to educate themselves.
Remember: Any mistake can cause significant damage, not just to an organization’s bottom line, but also to its reputation and the trust it has built with its partners, clients and customers. That’s why it’s important to equip every employee with all methods of defense against today’s attacks. Cybersecurity practices are an important part of any compliance program, serving as a critical layer of evidence and helping to keep valuable data out of the reach of attackers.
How do you build a workplace culture focused on cybersecurity? Share with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Where Facebook. We would like to know!
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