10 Strategies For Developing A Cybersecurity Mindset In Your Organization

Develop a cybersecurity mindset in your organization. Our guide provides 10 strategies to empower employees, manage risks, and enhance your cybersecurity posture.

Nine in ten (88 percent) data breach incidents are caused by employees’ mistakes according to the study “Psychology of Human Error.” It explores why people in the organization make errors that compromise the company’s cybersecurity.

The study concludes that “when your employees are focused on the job you hired them to do and when faced with to-do lists, distractions, and pressure to get things done quickly, cognitive loads become overwhelming, and mistakes can happen.”

What can leaders do to correct their team’s online behaviors and prevent reputational damage and/or reduce the impact of the next cyberattack?

The answer is in investing significant time and resources in training employees across the organization on cybersecurity best practice. Since employees are at the frontline, it helps to empower them with cybersecurity knowledge and take a more proactive security stance.

CISOs play a crucial role in developing and implementing cybersecurity initiatives that help employees understand the potential vulnerabilities that hackers and cybercriminals can exploit. These initiatives should be backed by clear metrics that measure their effectiveness and impact on the organization’s overall cybersecurity posture.

Understanding the lifecycle of a cyber threat is crucial in developing a robust cybersecurity strategy. This involves identifying potential threats, protecting systems, detecting and responding to attacks, and recovering from them. This lifecycle approach helps in understanding how threats evolve and how to respond to them effectively.

Move the organization’s cybersecurity posture from “zero” to “hero” with these 10 strategies for developing a cybersecurity mindset in your team:

1. Determine Cybersecurity Training Needs

A deep assessment can help organizations determine who needs what type of cybersecurity training, how much of it, from where and how often. Consider the following questions to get started:

What types of cybersecurity training are required for each role?

What is the budget for training, certifications and ongoing education?

What sort of cybersecurity talent is needed to accomplish long-term goals?

EdApp has curated a list of the top 10 cybersecurity training courses for employees that will help raise awareness about cyber threats and attacks. These courses will help ensure that your teams are equipped with the proper knowledge to identify, prevent, and mitigate them.

2. Develop Online Hypervigilance

Due to this sudden migration to a remote work setup, IT teams in most organizations are stretched beyond their limits. They have to take care of support requests and make sure data and digital assets are safe and secure. Train employees to develop hyper vigilance online in order to competently deal with common and emerging cyber threats themselves.

Include everything from password management, using multifactor authentication, identifying phishing and ransomware attacks, guarding personal devices against cyberattacks, operating/updating security software, configuring Wi-Fi, setting up VPNs, email usage, reporting/responding to cyberattacks and much more.

It’s also important to train employees on how to handle notifications from security tools. These notifications can alert them to potential malware attacks or suspicious activities in the network. Understanding these notifications and knowing how to respond to them is a key part of maintaining network security.

3. Enforce Cybersecurity Best Practice as a Company Policy

If you don’t have a cybersecurity policy in place already, it’s time to create one. It is vital that organizations create a cybersecurity policy suitable for remote work. This policy should cover the various steps employees need to follow at personal as well as professional levels. By establishing proper standards and best practices for cybersecurity, organizations can minimize their exposure to risk.

When it comes to data storage, employees typically store and handle data the way they see fit, which is certainly not advisable. There should be a shared repository on the cloud to back up files instantly from different sources. In many cases, the rogue copies that employees store on their local drives can pose a major threat to data security and create inconsistencies in storage policies. You need to make sure that data storage policies are strictly followed throughout the organization.

A playbook can be a valuable tool in enforcing cybersecurity best practices. It can provide a step-by-step guide for employees on what to do in various scenarios, such as responding to a phishing attempt or a malware attack. The playbook can also outline the roles and responsibilities of different security teams in the organization.

4. Underscore the WHY

Cybersecurity training won’t “stick” unless employees understand their responsibilities and take their roles seriously. Ensure the training answers, “Why is cybersecurity important to our mission?”

Building a security culture within the organization is crucial in this regard. A security culture goes beyond just following security policies. It involves creating an environment where every employee understands the importance of cybersecurity and is committed to protecting the organization’s assets.

5. Have Regular Cybersecurity Drills

Testing is a part of education, and that includes making sure employees are aware of the kinds of social engineering and phishing tactics that so often lead to data breaches in today’s cybersecurity environment. Send them fake emails, conduct hacking exercises, and conduct role-playing rehearsals that allow them to react to a simulated ransomware attack situation. Even employees who know they could be tested still slip up frm time to time—and these are teachable moments where they have opportunities to learn to slow down, trust their gut, and verify.

6. Align Training with Compliance

Make sure to include all the regulatory compliance requirements covered in training by creating policies and rules — and putting them in the employee handbook. Guidelines for daily activities, as well as reporting requirements, will help to institutionalize cybersecurity practices within your organization.

7. Demonstrate HOW

Make a point to explain cybersecurity stance and monitoring techniques to employees. Not as an intimidation tactic (“You better watch out!”) but rather to demonstrate the value of data, how seriously security is taken, and to help employees feel comfortable being a part of the solution.

8. Leverage Cybersecurity Expertise

Reach out to partner organizations with expertise in cybersecurity within their IT and leadership staff that can be shared through lunch-and-learns, webinars, hands-on mentoring, and idea meetings. Internal instruction is good for teaching procedures, and tips and tricks learned in the trenches.

9. Lead By Example

Cybersecurity is an operational task that is part of every business. It’s the job of the security leader to know about it. Even if there are experts on staff or outside cybersecurity consultants who were hired, leaders should have a working knowledge of cybersecurity basics, the company’s posture, and areas where the organization faces risk — allowing the security leader to make informed decisions. If leaders are unsure or embarrassed to admit what they don’t know, they should brush up on the basics online and sit down with consultants to ask questions.

10. Build a Cybersecurity Training Culture

Cybersecurity is not a “one and done” task. The landscape is changing so fast that it requires almost constant attention just to keep up. Training also takes time and repetition — especially for new skills or procedures. Fiercely protect the training budget, prioritize time for training, and create opportunities for everyone — from basic users to the pros, to apply what they have learned.

Inculcating a cybersecurity mindset in your organization is not just about implementing security measures but also about fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness. This involves making employees understand the importance of information security and network security in protecting the organization’s assets.

Some companies are reluctant to pay for cybersecurity training because of the likelihood that employees will take those skills to greener pastures. But isn’t it worse to not train and become more vulnerable?

Secure Your First Line of Defense

Cybercrime is on the rise across the world, and your organization will need a security mindset to meet the growing threat. The ongoing economic downturn is only going to make things worse. That’s why you need to ensure everyone in your organization is well trained in cybersecurity to defend your business against threats. Consult with UDT’s Expert Advisory for a deep dive on cybersecurity business practices, protecting data, and establishing resilience to your organization’s unique threats.

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Experiencing a security breach?

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  1. Determine which systems were impacted and immediately isolate them. Take the network offline at the switch level or physically unplug the systems from the wired or wireless network.
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