Cybersecurity is a primary concern for every IT department. In fact, security is among the top technology initiatives driving IT investment (29%), which is almost equal to cloud computing and big data analytics.
It’s the IT department’s job to reinforce the importance of cybersecurity within the organization—the big question is “how?” When everyone is caught up in their own role, how do you educate employees about cybersecurity, and more importantly, make them care about it? Here are a few ways to do it.
Establish an internal communications strategy
According to Deloitte Australia, employees from 43% of the country’s top brands don’t even know if their company has protocol to follow in case of a data breach. It’s crucial to have an internal communications strategy in place to inform colleagues of a breach as soon as possible. Hiding the problem may significantly increase the impact.
Develop an internal communications strategy before these types of events occur so your team will be fully prepared. Employ a secure mobile system for crisis communications so when a crisis happens, there is a safe channel where real-time information can be sent and prevent further implications. With certain platforms, you can also receive confirmation that critical information has been read by every employee.
You can also gather feedback from everyone in the organization and include that in your internal communications plan. By listening to your coworkers, you gain valuable intel about how to prevent future attacks by learning the root cause of unsafe behavior. For example, they may complain about frequently changing their passwords. If you identify these types of problems, you can equip the team with safe, premeditated solutions. You can even go a step further by adding sentiment analysis to your strategy to see how your team is reacting to the topic.
Tell a story
Now that you’ve established a communication strategy through a secure mobile communication platform, let’s explore how to use it to tell a story that’s interesting. We all know cybersecurity is important, but most people don’t fully know the consequences of not taking the proper precautions. Painting a detailed picture for your employees will help them understand the gravity of potential risks. Give concrete examples of what viable threats and repercussions look like at work and at home to help fully educate employees and empower them with tools to up their cybersecurity game on all fronts.
Arm your team with the types of information cyber attackers are looking for and what techniques they use to collect that intel. Telling colleagues to “be careful” may make them take notice for a minute, but then quickly move on to their next task. Instead, provide them with plausible use cases, tell a good story, and allow coworkers to share theirs. Knowledge is power!
Implement training and ongoing focus sessions
Cybersecurity training should be a part of the general onboarding process when any new hire joins the organization. Make it memorable by using different formats and examples, or maybe bring in themed treats to help liven up the topic. The training should primarily focus on how to avoid an attack, how to recognize one, and what to do if/when it happens.
Communicate step-by-step instructions starting when a cyber incident is realized. For example, should employees unplug their machine from the network, change the security settings on their browser, or immediately dial the emergency IT number? Have a protocol in place so every employee instinctively knows what to do if a cyberattack happens. Training must be proactive rather than reactive.
Don’t make the same mistakes Target made leading up to its cyberattack in 2013. Further educate your team and test their knowledge by holding regular focus sessions. You can even gamify the meetings so colleagues look forward to learning more since the subject matter can otherwise seem a bit dry.