Businesses have more to worry about than ever when it comes to dealing with new forms of cyber-attacks. The shift to a BYOD workplace adds even more challenges to protecting your digital assets. While hardware and software solutions continue to improve as a first line of defense against nefarious IT threats to your company, you can’t fix the human element with software patches.
Creating a workplace culture that takes IT security seriously on all levels is the best way a business can prepare its second line of defense against unpredictable and constantly changing attacks. Specifically, it’s essential to emphasize the importance of the human element in IT security. Here’s how.
Take Action: Develop and Implement an IT Security Culture Plan
Keeping an IT security-focused culture in your business requires constant care and work — you can’t just plant the idea and expect it to take hold. The process has to be ongoing with existing employees, but also needs to be ingrained into the hiring, training and employee exit processes. The mentality starts from the top, so C-level and IT staff should lead by example. Your business should develop a plan for staff that contains ongoing training and communication between security leaders and the rest of the staff.
Remember IT Security is Holistic
The responsibility for secure IT in the workplace belongs to everyone — not just the staff in leadership roles.
While employees that work with confidential data need to be the most vigilant about security, your security plan needs to emphasize that everyone is important. Holding regular training events for all staff and sending out newsletters related to current threats helps keep security on employees’ minds.
Keep everyone in the loop: Transparency and willingness to answer questions will go a long way.
Get Staff Excited
Creating rewards and recognition for your staff related to IT security can help keep the culture at the forefront of your business. Your business may find your staff responds well to gamification techniques for both training and real-world behavior. Take the time to notify staff when a breach occurs or let them know how your team thwarted an attempted breach when it happens. Also, recognize performers who prevent breaches, possibly with cash rewards. Public recognition can be a major motivator.
Pick Your Battles
If you ask too much of your staff your plan will fail. Your business should choose its battles wisely. At least when you’re starting your culture plan, aim for both the most important threats and the issues where staff can make a big difference with little effort.
- If your workplace is big on BYOD, focus on encouraging employees to be responsible in keeping their devices secure. Employees will need to keep software updated to avoid malware exploits and may need to encrypt their devices to protect data.
- Train your employees to always change the default credentials on a new piece of hardware or IoT device to combat DDoS. Hackers exploit the default settings to create botnets for attacks.
- Train your staff to identify spear phishing attacks, which aim to steal credentials or information from an employee in a personalized attack.
- Teach your staff to use two-step verification whenever possible to protect accounts. Educate employees about developing secure passwords for cases where more secure protection isn’t available.