Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity Awareness

by | Mar 25, 2024 | Cybersecurity

An increased focus on digital communication has made cybersecurity more vital than ever. Malicious actors are aware of the amount of sensitive content that travels through the internet each day. They are constantly devising ways to get their hands on it so they can compromise your information.

CIOs must do more than ensure cybersecurity software is installed on company computers and systems. They must make cybersecurity a part of their business’s culture. It should be ingrained in the regimen of every employee to the point where it’s second nature.

What is a Cybersecurity Culture?

A cybersecurity culture means it’s up to people, not machines, to keep their companies breach-free. It means employees must constantly be aware of potential threats and vulnerabilities. They should look for gaps in the system and determine the best solutions to protect their organization.

Make Cybersecurity an Ingrained Part of Your Organization

Cybersecurity must be ingrained into your company’s fabric at every level as follows:

  • Leadership: As the CIO, it’s up to you to make cybersecurity a focus. It should be discussed at every meeting and mentioned every time a new product or technique is introduced. Additionally, it should be reinforced by other leaders including non-cyber executives, the board of directors, and the CEO. Your team must help reinforce the message.
  • Teams: The importance of cybersecurity should be passed down to your teams. It should be an integral part of group operations. Teams should seek guidance from superiors to ensure their projects adhere to security regulations. If teams are not prioritizing cybersecurity, leaders must interject to ensure new undertakings don’t increase vulnerability.
  • Individuals: Employees should be aware of possible threats like phishing scams and viruses. They should know what to do if they encounter suspicious activity. They should be aware of procedures for reporting incidents and understand what to do if a threat occurs.

How to Drive Culture Change

A CIO can create a cybersecurity culture in their business in the following ways:

  • Assign a Culture Owner: The CIO is not necessarily the culture owner. It can be a non-technical executive who drives a cybersecurity platform through company values. It is up to them to create engaging campaigns and initiate training programs that raise awareness and encourage employees to follow secure practices.
  • Send a Message That Connects: In some instances, the term ‘cybersecurity’ may not connect with your employees. They may think of it as a vague concept that does not hold much value in their day-to-day operations. You can drive the message home by relating it to their actual workloads. For example, a message like, “Keep client data safe,” may resonate well with your teams.
  • Build Engagement: Executives must make cybersecurity training and campaigns engaging so they connect with employees. Incorporate videos, memes, and pop culture to add an element of fun. Determine which methods are connecting with employees and integrate them heavily into your cybersecurity training materials.
  • Create Different Programs for Different Groups: Cybersecurity is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Different groups in your company may encounter different types of threats. For example, administrators may find more phishing emails while your accounting department may detect suspicious banking behavior. As a result, companies must create different programs among the various levels of their organization. Doing so ensures everyone will have the training they need to identify threats.
  • Include Cybersecurity in Employee Evaluations: Companies that make cybersecurity a part of employee evaluations will see a marked improvement. Organizations can use unexpected phishing exercises in performance reviews. Employees who take the proper actions when a hack is detected should be rewarded for their reaction. Employees who fail to recognize malicious actors may be subject to refresher training, meetings with superiors, a loss of internet privileges, and termination.
  • Conduct Cybersecurity Fire Drills: Organizations may conduct fire drills to help employees understand the procedures they should follow if a hack is detected. It may include shutting down systems, warning other employees, and filing reports with the IT department. It will ensure that employees are prepared if a cyberattack occurs.

Want to learn more about what you can do to keep your company safe from cyber-attacks? Be sure to sign up for our CIO newsletter.

Additional Cybersecurity Resources

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The Importance of a Comprehensive Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan


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