A corporate cybersecurity policy will be easier to implement if a company’s employees all take ownership of the responsibility for it. Getting employees to sign on and engraining cybersecurity in a company’s culture is often easier said than done. Cybersecurity experts point to at least six different ways to accomplish this.
1. Make cybersecurity a job function of every employee
Responsibility for cybersecurity cannot be confined to an information technology department or a handful of individuals. All employees from the chief executive officer on down need to be mindful of their own roles in protecting the company from external cyber threats. Cybersecurity needs to be an integral part of every action instituted by every department, rather than an afterthought or an add-on to ongoing corporate initiatives.
2. Take care of the cybersecurity basics
Hackers who have switched sides to become corporate security consultants generally recommend that all companies develop their cybersecurity cultures with a focus on basic practices, including requiring strong passwords that are changed frequently, installing software patches and bug fixes as software vendors release them, limiting access to critical system only to employees who require access to perform their jobs, and monitoring networks with technology that provide early warnings of data breaches. A company can provide the tools to its employees, including password vaults and virtual private networks, to institute these best practices.
3. Improve Training and Awareness
Hackers develop new techniques to break into electronic systems every day. Companies that do not regularly train their employees on cybersecurity issues will stay stuck in the past with employees that think only of dated hacking techniques. Regular training and awareness on the evolving cyberattack landscape is critical for maintenance of the strongest cybersecurity culture.
4. Test the System, and Publicize the Test Results
Some companies have instituted a practice of staging phishing tests, in which emails with clickable links are sent to employees from an unknown site. The companies then publicize the results of the test, showing the percentage of employees who clicked on the link without singling out any employees. This type of testing and other tests like it are a gentle reminder of the risks that employees might expose their companies to if they fail to follow established cybersecurity protocol.
5. Empower Employees and Encourage Them to Share Knowledge
Employee empowerment is often more of a buzzword than a legitimate strategy, but empowerment pays huge dividends in the cybersecurity arena. Employees can be encouraged to understand that cybersecurity is not compartmentalized in an IT department and that knowledge of new cyber risks should be shared throughout the company.
With proper empowerment, they can guide new employees to use strong passwords and to refrain from connecting into corporate networks from public wi-fi hotspots. In all cases, a culture of empowerment should stay proactive and positive, and should eliminate all traces of employees’ reporting on each other if they see any deviance from recommended corporate cybersecurity practices.
6. Procure Cybersecurity Insurance
A company will procure insurance to protect the assets that they consider to be critical to the continued existence of the business. In the course of providing cybersecurity education to its employees, a company can impress upon them that it has procured cybersecurity insurance to protect its data and network assets and to give assurances to the company’s customers and clients that their personal and financial data is similarly insured.
Cybersecurity insurance will also impress upon the employees that their employer has taken steps to facilitate recovery of lost data and damaged systems in the event that the company suffers a data breach and that it values its customers well enough to give them similar protections.