How to Build a Positive Cybersecurity Culture

How to Build a Positive Cybersecurity Culture

Did you know that up to 90% of cyberattacks stem from some type of human error?  Bad guys aren’t primarily trying to hack your tech – they’re trying to hack you and your team.  That’s why we can’t rely on technology alone.  Keep your organization safer by building a positive cybersecurity culture that helps reduce human errors.

Security culture defined

Security culture is defined as the values that determine how people think about and approach security in an organization.

KnowBe4 has distilled seven dimensions of security culture that have a direct or indirect impact on the security of the organization.

  • Attitudes are defined as the feelings and beliefs that employees have toward security protocols. Attitudes involve a preference for or against something (for example, prefer, like, or dislike).
  • Behaviors are defined as the actions and activities of employees that have direct or indirect impact on the security of the organization.
  • Cognition is defined as the employees’ understanding, knowledge and awareness of security issues and activities.
  • Communication is defined as the quality of communication channels and their effectiveness at discussing security-related events, promoting sense of belonging and providing support for security issues and incident reporting.
  • Compliance is defined as the knowledge of written security policies and the extent that employees follow them.
  • Norms are defined as the knowledge of and adherence to unwritten rules of conduct in the organization. In the context of information security, “norms” describe how security-related behaviors are perceived by employees as normal and accepted or unusual and unaccepted.
  • Responsibilities are defined as how employees perceive their role as a critical factor in sustaining or endangering the security of the organization.

In short, your employees’ knowledge, beliefs, values, and behaviors will be the difference between protection and breach. That’s why focusing on security culture, especially cybersecurity culture, is essential.  Your employees are at the center of everything; they can either be easy prey, or they can become an effective human layer of defense.

Strengths Checklist

Review this checklist to see if you’re on the right track to creating a strong cybersecurity culture and where you could improve.

  • Security is a clear company priority, with dedicated resources and support to ensure its effectiveness.
  • We continuously emphasize the significance of practicing smart security behaviors.
  • We share know-how by providing our employees with regular security risk training.
  • We securely store and protect passwords .
  • We use multifactor authentication everywhere it’s available.
  • Everyone in our company knows the tell-tale signs of a phishing email and knows how to respond.
  • We emphasize the importance of unique credentials, ensuring they aren’t reused, recycled or shared.
  • There are no sticky notes or electronic documents with passwords found anywhere.
  • Employees are encouraged to seek help or clarification on security issues and procedures.
  • We foster an environment where individuals aren’t afraid of losing their job due to honest mistakes.

Develop a positive cybersecurity culture

You can strengthen your cybersecurity culture through strategies such as promoting awareness, instilling accountability, encouraging continuous learning, and integrating cybersecurity into organizational processes.

Make security training an ongoing effort
Don’t treat cybersecurity training as a mere checkbox exercise. Instead, foster a culture of continuous learning and provide regular opportunities for your employees to stay updated on the latest threats and security best practices. Usually, this includes sending test phishing emails and online or in-person training activities. Make security awareness an ongoing journey rather than a one-time event.

Deliver interesting and relatable training
Engagement is vital to proper training.  Avoid dry and obsolete content. Instead, strive to provide training that is timely, engaging and relatable. Use interactive platforms and user-friendly tools to create an immersive learning experience that your team will enjoy.

Measure behavior, not just activity
Don’t focus solely on tracking training completion rates or the number of simulated phishing exercises. While these metrics provide some insight, they don’t paint the whole picture.  Shift your focus to measuring behavior outcomes, demonstrating a true understanding of security principles and driving tangible changes in employee behavior.

Create a culture of learning, not blaming
Approach security training as an opportunity for growth and improvement rather than a blame game. Foster a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable reporting security concerns and asking questions. Encourage a sense of collective responsibility, emphasizing that cybersecurity is everyone’s job.

It takes the skills and attention of everyone to build and maintain a positive cybersecurity culture.  Over time, the behaviors will become second nature and your organization will be less vulnerable to cyber risks.  If your company already has a strong cybersecurity culture, keep up the good work.  If not, get started today!

If you’d like to know more about how CRU Solutions can help keep your business safer, contact us.