10 Strategies For Developing A Cybersecurity Mindset In Your Organization

Since employees are at the frontline, it helps to empower them with cybersecurity knowledge and take a more proactive security stance.

Nine in ten (88%) 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 damaging online behaviors and prevent, or reduce the impact of, the next cyber attack?

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.

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 hyper-vigilance

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 multi factor 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.

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.

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?”

5. Have regular cybersecurity drills

Testing is a part of education. Send the fake emails, conduct hacking exercises, and role-play a simulated attack or ransom situation. Even employees who know they could be tested slip up — and these are teachable moments 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, help institutionalize cybersecurity practices.

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.  

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. 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?

Get immediate assistance from our security operations center! Take the following recommended actions NOW while we get on the case:


  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.
  2. Immediately take backups offline to preserve them. Scan backups with anti-virus and malware tools to ensure they’re not infected
  3. Initiate an immediate password reset on affected user accounts with new passwords that are no less than 14 characters in length. Do this for Senior Management accounts as well.

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