“Humans, not technology, are your first line of defense against cyberattacks.” – Mark Jordan, President of Optistar Technology Consultants
Your employees are your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your business from cyberthreats. Human error is one of the single biggest culprits behind cyber-attacks. It comes down to someone falling for a phishing scam, clicking an unknown link or downloading a file without realizing that it’s malicious.
Because your team is so critical to protecting your business from cyberthreats, it’s just as critical to keep your team informed and on top of today’s dangers. One way to do that is to weave cyber security into your existing company culture.
How Do You Do That?
For many employees, cyber security is rarely an engaging topic. In truth, it can be dry at times, especially for people outside of the cyber security industry, but it can boil down to presentation. That isn’t to say you need to make cyber security “fun,” but make it interesting or engaging. It should be accessible and a normal part of the workday.
Bring It Home For Your Team. One of the reasons why people are often disconnected from topics related to cyber security is simply because they don’t have firsthand experience with it. This is also one reason why many small businesses don’t invest in cyber security in the first place – it hasn’t happened to them, so they don’t think it will. Following that logic, why invest in it at all?
The thing is that it will eventually happen. It’s never a question of if, but when. Cyberthreats are more common than ever. Of course, this also means it’s easier to find examples you can share with your team. Many major companies have been attacked. Millions of people have had their personal data stolen. Look for examples that employees can relate to, names they are familiar with, and discuss the damage that’s been done.
If possible, bring in personal examples. Maybe you or someone you know has been the victim of a cyber-attack, such as ransomware or a data breach. The closer you can bring it home to your employees, the more they can relate, which means they’re listening.
Collaborate With Your Employees. Ask what your team needs from you in terms of cyber security. Maybe they have zero knowledge about data security and they could benefit from training. Or maybe they need access to better tools and resources. Make it a regular conversation with employees and respond to their concerns.
Part of that can include transparency with employees. If Julie in accounting received a phishing e-mail, talk about it. Bring it up in the next weekly huddle or all-company meeting. Talk about what was in the e-mail and point out its identifying features. Do this every time phishing e-mails reach your employees.
Or, maybe Jared received a mysterious e-mail and made the mistake of clicking the link within that e-mail. Talk about that with everyone, as well. It’s not about calling out Jared. It’s about having a conversation and not placing blame. The focus should be on educating and filling in the gaps. Keep the conversation going and make it a normal part of your company’s routine. The more you talk about it and the more open you are, the more it becomes a part of the company culture.
Keep Things Positive. Coming from that last point, you want employees to feel safe in bringing their concerns to their supervisors or managers. While there are many cyberthreats that can do serious damage to your business (and this should be stressed to employees), you want to create an environment where employees are willing to ask for help and are encouraged to learn more about these issues.
Basically, employees should know they won’t get into trouble if something happens. Now, if an employee is blatantly not following your company’s IT rules, that’s a different matter. But for the day-to-day activities, creating a positive, educational, collaborative environment is the best way to make cyber security a normal part of your company culture.
Plus, taking this approach builds trust, and when you and your team have that trust, it becomes easier to tackle issues of data and network security – and to have necessary conversations.
Need help creating a cyber security company culture that’s positive? Don’t hesitate to reach out to your managed services provider or IT partner! They can help you lay the foundation for educating your team and ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to today’s constant cyberthreats.
Don’t have an IT partner or managed services provider yet? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to us at 888-782-7003. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have or schedule a brief consultation to learn more about your organization.