Building a Culture of Cyberawareness

07.08.24 11:25 By Daniel Sitton

Cyberattacks are a constant threat in today's digital world. Phishing emails, malware downloads, and data breaches. They can cripple businesses and devastate personal lives.

Employee error is the reason many threats get introduced to a business network. A lack of cybersecurity awareness is generally the culprit. People don’t know any better, so they accidentally click a phishing link. They also create weak passwords, easy for hackers to breach.

It’s estimated that 95% of data breaches are due to human error.

But here's the good news, these mistakes are preventable. Building a strong culture of cyber awareness can significantly reduce your risks. (And Guardian can help you do it!)

The Importance of Culture

Imagine your organization's cybersecurity as a chain. If the links are strong, it is hard to break. If the links are weak, it is easy to exploit. Employees are the links in this chain. By creating a culture of cyber awareness, you make each employee a strong link. This makes your entire organization more secure.

Simple Steps, Big Impact

You don't need complicated plans or costly training programs to build a cyber awareness culture. Here are some simple steps you can take to make a big difference.

1.Start with Leadership Buy-in

Security shouldn't be just an IT department problem. Get leadership involved! When executives support cyber awareness, it creates a strong signal to the organization. Leadership can show their support by:   

  •   Participating in training sessions
  • Speaking at security awareness events
  • Allocating resources for ongoing initiatives

2. Use Fun Methods to Teach Security Awareness, Not Scary Ones

Cybersecurity training doesn't have to be dull and tedious. Use interesting videos, quizzes with game elements, and realistic situations. These keep employees involved and learning.

Think of interactive modules. For example, ones where employees pick their path through a fake phishing attack. Or short, animated videos. Videos that make complex security ideas easy and relevant.

3. Use Clear and Simple Language

Cybersecurity terms can be hard to understand. Communicate in plain language, avoiding technical words. Focus on helpful tips employees can apply in their regular work.

Don't say, "implement multi-factor authentication." Instead, explain that it gives more protection when logging in. Like needing a code from your phone besides your password.

4. Keep it Brief and Simple

Don't overload people with long training sessions. Choose small training modules that are simple to absorb and recall. Use microlearning methods delivered in quick bursts during the workday. These are a great way to keep employees interested and emphasize important security ideas.

5. Do Phishing Exercises

Regular phishing exercises check employee awareness and readiness. Send fake phishing emails and track who clicks. Use the results to teach employees about warning signs and reporting dubious messages.

But don't stop there! After a phishing exercise, take the chance to analyze the email with employees. Point out the clues that showed it was a fraud.

6.Make Reporting Simple and Welcomed

Employees need to feel confident reporting unusual activity without fear of criticism. Create a secure reporting system and respond to reports quickly. You can do this through:

  • A dedicated email address
  • An anonymous reporting hotline
  • A designated security champion employees can approach directly

7. Security Champions: Support Your Employees

Find employees who are keen to be "security champions." They can help peers with security questions and share good practices through internal communication. This makes security awareness a priority.

Security champions can be a great source of support for their coworkers. They create a sense of collective accountability for cybersecurity in the organization.

8. Beyond Work: Security Matters Everywhere

Cybersecurity is not only a work issue. Teach employees how to protect themselves at home too. Give tips on strong passwords, safe Wi-Fi connections, and avoiding public hotspots. Employees who follow good security habits at home are more likely to do so at work.

9. Celebrate Success

Reward and celebrate employee success in cyber awareness. Did someone report a dubious email? Did a team get a low click-through rate on a phishing drill? Praise their efforts publicly to keep motivation high. Recognition can be a strong tool. It helps keep up positive behavior and urges continued alertness.

10. Bonus Tip: Use Technology

Technology can be a useful tool for creating a cyber-aware culture. Use online training platforms that offer short modules and monitor employee progress. You can run automated phishing simulations often to keep employee's alert.

Tools that improve employee security include:

The Bottom Line: Everyone Plays a Role

Building a culture of cyber awareness is an ongoing process. Repetition is key! Regularly revisit these steps. Keep the conversation going. Make security awareness a natural part of your organization's DNA.

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. By fostering a culture of cyber awareness your business benefits. You equip everyone in your organization with the knowledge and tools to stay safe online. Empowered employees become your strongest defense against cyber threats.

Contact Us to Discuss Security Training & Technology

Need help with email filtering or security rules setup? Would you like someone to handle your ongoing employee security training? We can help you reduce your cybersecurity risk in many ways.

Contact us today to learn more.

Daniel Sitton