Building a Culture of Cyber Awareness

Nick Robilliard
Author
25th June 2024
Information Security

Building a Culture of Cyber Awareness

Nick Robilliard, Resolution IT’s Information Security Consultant and Trainer, Covers 10 Easy Steps Toward Building a Culture of Cyber Security Awareness

Cyber attacks are a constant threat for businesses, but employee error is the number one reason that threats get introduced to a business network. A lack of cyber security awareness is generally the culprit. Whether it’s naively clicking on a phishing link, ignoring software updates, or creating weak passwords, it’s estimated that 95% of data breaches are due to human error.

The good news is, these mistakes are preventable. Building a strong culture of cyber awareness can significantly reduce your risks.

Why Culture Matters

Think of your organisation’s cyber security as a chain. Strong links make it unbreakable, while weak links make it vulnerable. By fostering a culture of cyber awareness, you turn each employee into a strong link.

Building a cyber awareness culture doesn’t require complex strategies or expensive training programs. Here are some simple steps you can take to make a big difference.

Start with Leadership Buy-In

Security is everyone’s business, from the very top down. It’s essential that leadership are engaged and involved. When executives champion cyber awareness, it sends a powerful message to the team. Leadership can show their commitment by participating in training sessions, allocating the necessary resource for ongoing initiatives, and leading by example.

Make Security Awareness Fun

Cyber Security training doesn’t have to be dry and boring. Use engaging videos, gamified quizzes and real-life scenarios to keep employees interested. Short, animated videos are often a great way of explaining complex security concepts in a clear and relatable way.

Bringing in an engaging cyber security awareness trainer to conduct in-person sessions is a really effective way of keeping your team’s knowledge of cyber security current and comprehensive.

Speak Their Language

Cyber security terms can be confusing, so communicate clearly and avoid jargon. Focus on practical and relatable advice that employees can use in their everyday work. Don’t just give instructions like “use multi-factor authentication”. Instead, explain how MFA works and why adding an extra layer of security to your log in is so important.

Keep it Short and Sweet

Don’t overwhelm your team with lengthy training sessions. Opt for bite-sized training modules that are easy to digest and remember. Use microlearning approaches delivered in short bursts throughout the workday. These are a great way to keep employees engaged and reinforce key security concepts.

Conduct Phishing Drills

Regular phishing drills test employee awareness and preparedness. Send simulated phishing emails and track who clicks, using the results to educate employees on red flags and what to do upon finding a suspicious email. And don’t just stop there – after the phishing drill, take the opportunity to dissect the email with employees, highlighting the telltale signs that helped identify it as a scam.

Make Reporting Easy and Encouraged

Employees need to feel comfortable reporting suspicious activity without fear of blame. Create a safe reporting system and acknowledge reports promptly.

Security Champions: Empower Your Employees

Identify enthusiastic employees who can become “security champions.” These champions can answer questions from peers as well as promote best practices through internal communication channels. This keeps security awareness top of mind. Security champions can be a valuable resource for their colleagues, fostering a sense of shared responsibility for cyber security within the organisation.

Beyond Work

Cyber security isn’t just a work thing. Educate employees on how to protect themselves at home too. Share tips on strong passwords, secure Wi-Fi connections, and avoiding public hotspots. Employees who practice good security habits at home are more likely to do so in the workplace.

Celebrate Success

Recognise and celebrate employee achievements in cyber awareness. Did someone report a suspicious email? Did a team achieve a low click-through rate on a phishing drill? Publicly acknowledge their contributions to keep motivation high. Recognition can be a powerful tool. It’s helps reinforce positive behaviour and encourages continued vigilance

Leverage Technology

Technology can be a powerful tool for building a cyber-aware culture. Use online training platforms that deliver microlearning modules and track employee progress. You can schedule automated phishing simulations regularly to keep employees on their toes. Tools that bolster employee security include:

  • Password managers
  • Email filtering for spam and phishing
  • Automated rules, such as Microsoft’s Sensitivity Labels
  • DNS filtering
  • Online cyber awareness training

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 organisation’s DNA.

Cyber security is a shared responsibility. By fostering a culture of cyber awareness, you equip everyone in your organisation with the knowledge and tools to stay safe online. Empowered employees become your strongest defence against cyber threats.

If you need any help or support with your cyber security strategy, get in touch to book a free cyber security consultation.

Nick Robilliard

Nick is the lead trainer in the Information Security team. He works on providing services for our SecaaS and vCISO clients as well as completing Cyber Essentials and IASME assessments. In addition to this, Nick is also involved in one-off and tailored projects for our clients. Nick is ISC2 CISSP, SSCP and ISACA CRISC certified.

Nick has experience in both the public and private sector within technical support and information security.

Nick says the best part of his job is providing user awareness training sessions for our clients. Ensuring a workforce understand information security risks is vital for preventing breaches, so it’s rewarding playing a part in making that happen.

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