How to Promote a Strong Cybersecurity Culture Year-Round

    National Cyber Security Awareness Month kicked off with an attention-grabbing incident that reminds us why security matters. News of the massive data breach at Experian highlights the difficulties that organizations face in protecting systems and sensitive data from increasingly sophisticated intruders.

    In a world that’s more connected than ever, the potential for a devastating cyber attack or data breach is only a click away. Nowhere is that more evident than in the workplace. Employees have access to a wide range of sensitive information and are regularly the targets of cyber criminals. Because of this, they need to be prepared for specific scenarios that they may encounter and have access to easy-to-use security solutions.

    Regardless of the organization and its function, management needs to place an emphasis on raising awareness. With the recent string of high-profile data breaches, it’s time to look into how organizations can create a culture shift. The responsibility of protecting sensitive information doesn’t live solely within an organization’s security team. All employees need to be well-educated when it comes to threats and security so that they are part of the solution, not the problem. In this slideshow, ZixCorp has identified tips organizations can use to develop a strong cybersecurity culture among their employees.

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    Developing a Cybersecurity Culture

    Click through for tips on how organizations can promote a strong cybersecurity culture and help mitigate security risks, as identified by ZixCorp.

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    Make Training Digestible

    Long, comprehensive training sessions can create fatigue and cause employees to tune out during the instruction. Even in regulated fields like health care and finance where organizations have to ensure compliance and answer to the higher power of regulatory bodies — think HIPAA and HITECH — a classroom-style, eight-hour training day can be burdensome. Rolling out security training in bite-size chunks will increase retention and application. Not to mention, ongoing training can cover any new or changing threats.

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    Make It Relatable

    Most employees simply aren’t as tech savvy as an IT staff member and shouldn’t be expected to be up to date on the latest threats and hacks out there. When conducting training, it’s extremely important to speak to your audience and make the information as relatable as possible. If you get overly technical, you run the risk of having people zone out on the message and miss something that is vital.

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    Invest in Easy-to-Use Solutions

    If you want to increase employee buy-in and adoption, then the security solutions at their disposal need to be easy to use. Look for solutions that automate security and seamlessly integrate into day-to-day business operations. Don’t add any extra steps or passwords – avoid cumbersome and outdated solutions. If they are burdensome and difficult to use, chances are employees will try to find a way around them.

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    Conduct Internal Testing

    Your employees are going to be tested in the real world, most likely from phishing or social engineering attacks. To ensure that they are prepared for this, regularly conduct internal penetration testing that measures employee readiness. After conducting tests, send out reports to the entire organization highlighting where things went wrong, what the implications could have been had the situation been real, and tips to help identify and mitigate these sorts of risks. You can also evaluate which employees could use additional training to help recognize threats and evaluate your progress year-to-year.

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    Don’t Limit Awareness to Just One Month

    While it is certainly a milestone that cybersecurity has become mainstream enough to earn a whole month dedicated to awareness, it shouldn’t stop there. By no means is cybersecurity a stagnant field. Hackers and threats are constantly evolving, evaluating new targets and new ways to exploit sensitive information. By emphasizing cybersecurity year-round, companies can ensure that their employees are as prepared as possible for the threats they will face.

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