10 Ways To Improve Cyber Security Awareness

Cyber security is a big deal. If you’re not taking it seriously, you’re probably going to get hacked. Cyber criminals can trick employees into giving them access to sensitive information. For example, 90% of all cyber attacks are caused by human error. That’s why companies need to make sure employees know about how to protect themselves and their company on the internet.
To protect your company from cyber threats, you must educate and empower your employees. You can achieve this by taking the right steps to improve their cyber security awareness.
In this article, I share 10 ways to help you improve your cyber security awareness program.

Achieve CEO and Leadership Buy-in

The recent rise of cybercrime has led to an emphasis on cyber security in the boardroom. As companies realize how much data is at risk, they’re now forced to manage their cyber risks. The number of data breaches is growing, so businesses now need to take more measures to reduce the chance of attacks.
Cyber security is everyone’s responsibility. If a CEO is not concerned about cyber security, it will not be a priority for anyone else in the business. A resilient business needs a strong leader, and this leader must take cyber security seriously. If a CEO is taking cyber security seriously, this will permeate throughout the company and create a culture of cyber resilience.

Know Your Organizational Tolerances

When creating an effective security awareness program, you must first evaluate the threat landscape and identify your top risks. Understanding the real world threats that could compromise your organization’s security gives you a better understanding of what to teach employees.
Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can make the right security decisions. If a threat is unlikely to occur or won’t have a large impact on your business, it’s a waste of time and money to focus your efforts on it.

Defend Your IT Assets

To develop a strong cyber security strategy, you need to audit your organization’s information assets. To effectively identify risks, you need to conduct a thorough audit of your organization’s information assets.
PII (personally identifiable information) is a valuable asset to your business. Intellectual property, financial information, or any other piece of information that is significant to your company is also important.
First, you need to figure out what information is most valuable to your business. Next, you need to identify where it is and who has access to it. You must classify each asset by its value. Then, you can determine which assets are at most risk of being stolen by hackers, and you can protect them accordingly.

Focus on High-Risk Employees

The most important part of an effective security awareness program is to target the right employees. Because everyone is susceptible to cyber threats, it’s important to ensure that any training is relevant. However, certain employees have a higher threat profile than others. For example, your HR and finance departments will be targeted because they have access to sensitive data.
Your company’s executives are popular targets for sophisticated cyber attacks. It’s important to know the warning signs of a scam so your CEO, CFO, and other executives don’t fall prey to these schemes. If they do, it could be catastrophic for your entire organization.

Provide An Engaging And Effective Storytelling Security Awareness Program

Cyber security can be a boring topic, but it is a critical one. Cyber attacks are increasing in frequency and you need your staff to take it seriously. One of the most effective ways to get this message across is through storytelling. Each of your employees is unique and has a unique background. Find out what makes them tick and tell a story about a person with their exact same problem. This will be much more effective than dry corporate communications.
Stories are fundamental to learning. Stories create an emotional response that makes it easier to remember what’s being taught. Stories are more likely to stick with people if they are relevant to them. This is especially important in cybersecurity, where the story can help users remember security measures for the future.

Update Your Policy Management 

It’s important to have policies that clearly define the boundaries of behaviour for the individuals, processes, relationships, and transactions that exist within your business. Policies also provide a framework for governance, which identifies risk and helps define compliance. This is incredibly important because today’s regulatory landscape has become increasingly complex.
A policy management system is an effective way to create policies, add structure to procedures, and track attestation and staff responses. Such a system can streamline internal processes, demonstrate compliance with legislative requirements, and effectively target the areas that present the highest risk to data security.

Be Prepared For A Data Breach 

If you’re not preparing for a data breach, you really should be. Data breaches have been everywhere lately. In fact, IBM says the average cost of a breach is now $3.92 million. What’s even more worrisome is that the global average cost of a data breach has risen to $3.92 million.
In this digital world, any business is at risk of being attacked. The question isn’t if, it’s when. You must prepare for the inevitable. Start by putting a plan in place that ensures appropriate action when security is breached. Set up a response plan that educates and informs staff, improves your business structure, strengthens customer and stakeholder confidence, and reduces potential financial losses.

Enlist Cyber Security Champions

Cyber security is not just about your technology. Your people are just as important as your firewall or anti-virus software. Appointing cyber security champions is a good way to empower staff and give them the skills to prevent an attack.
Do you want to be a cyber security champion? You don’t need to be an expert. Enlisting human touch is about adding the human touch to your security strategy. How? By tapping into people who are committed to raising awareness and implementing good cyber security practices.

Consider Your Vendors

Cybercriminals are always looking for the weakest link in your cyber security. They will try to hack your company by getting into your vendors. If you want to avoid being hacked, make sure that your vendors are also secure.
Vendors are a critical part of business operations, but they can be difficult to manage. In fact, many vendors span a number of different countries. All of which have different levels of cyber security. For this reason, cybercriminals can easily exploit these weak points for their own gain.

Implement Proper Oversight  and Regular Reviews

The threat of cyber-attacks is constantly changing, so you must constantly update your cyber-security awareness program. You need to perform regular reviews of your employees’ knowledge and awareness, identify their areas of weakness, and determine whether they need more training.
To make sure you are in compliance with regulators, it is important to document the results of all security reviews and act upon any recommendations for risk remediation. This way, your cyber security awareness program will accurately reflect the threat landscape and keep your organization secure from attack.

I hope this article was helpful, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me. If you would like to be notified of when I create a new post you can subscribe to my blog alert.

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Patrick Domingues

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