Your employees are your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your business from cyberthreats. Human error is one of the single biggest culprits behind cyber-attacks. It only takes one employee falling for a phishing scam, clicking a malicious link, or downloading an infected file to leave your entire organization exposed and vulnerable.

Because your team is so critical to protecting your business from cyberthreats, it’s just as critical to keep your team informed about today’s dangers. One way to do that is to weave cyber security into your existing company culture.

Where To Start?

For many employees, cyber security is rarely an engaging topic. In truth, it can be dry at times, especially for people outside of the cyber security industry—however this doesn’t have to be the case. With a little thought and effort, it’s easy enough to make cyber security an engaging, accessible, and intuitive part of the workday.

Bring It Home For Your Team

One of the reasons why people are often disconnected from topics related to cyber security is simply because they don’t have first-hand experience with it. This is also one reason why many small businesses don’t invest in cyber security in the first place – they mistakenly assume that they are too small or insignificant to become a target. Following that logic, why invest at all?

The problem is that this logic is precisely why SMBs are the #1 target of cyber criminals — it’s always easiest to go after the (unprotected) low hanging fruit. Cyberthreats are more prolific than ever—but this also means it’s easy enough to find real-world case studies you can use to educate your team. Look for examples that employees can relate to, names they are familiar with, and discuss the damage
that’s been done.

If possible, bring in personal examples. Maybe you or someone you know has fallen victim to social engineering. The closer you can bring it home to your employees, the more likely they will relate and apply this knowledge in their daily lives.

Collaborate With Your Employees

Ask what your team needs from you in terms of cyber security. If you haven’t already implemented a company-wide end user training program, now is the time to do so. Maybe your IT team needs access to better tools and resources to secure your company data. Make it a regular conversation with employees across the board and respond to their concerns as needed.

A significant part of cultivating this security-conscious culture also includes transparency with employees. If Julie in accounting received a phishing email, talk about it. Discuss what was in the email and point out its identifying features. Moreover, make a point of doing this every time phishing emails reach your employees.

Or, maybe Jared from marketing received a mysterious email and made the mistake of clicking a malicious link. Talk about that with everyone, too. The focus should be on educating and filling in the gaps, rather than assigning blame. Keep the conversation going and make it an integral part of your
company’s routine. The more you talk about it and the more open you are, the more it becomes a part of the company culture.

Keep Things Positive

You want employees to feel safe in bringing their concerns to their supervisors or managers. While there are many cyberthreats that can do serious damage to your business (and this should be emphasized to employees), you want to create an environment where employees are willing to ask for help and are encouraged to learn more about these issues.

Basically, employees should know they won’t get into trouble if something happens. Now, if an employee is blatantly violating your company’s IT policies, that’s a different matter. But for the majority of well-intentioned employees, creating a positive, educational, and collaborative environment is the best way to integrate cyber security into your company culture. Plus, taking this approach builds trust, and when you and your team have that trust, it becomes easier to work together to tackle issues of data and network security.

Not sure how to start cultivating a collaborative, cyber security-focused company culture? Be sure to reach out to your IT security team. They can help lay the foundation for educating your team and ensuring that everyone is on the same page when it comes to today’s ever-evolving cyberthreats.

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