With the acceleration of digital transformation, issues related to cybersecurity have become essential for all companies to address. Cyber threats force Information Systems Departments (DSI) to constantly rethink their protection systems in place, not only to improve them but also to adapt to the almost daily evolution of risks. No sector of activity seems spared from cyberattacks, especially since hackers target all types of companies, regardless of their size or sector of activity. Following the pandemic, the generalization of teleworking has made companies more vulnerable to the risks of malicious cyber acts (attempts at phishing, ransomware, etc.).
Cybersecurity awareness: how to protect against cyber risks?
As mentioned in a previous article, people are often the weak link in any cybersecurity policy. Companies are therefore increasingly training their employees by setting up cybersecurity awareness campaigns. They review with all employees what types of risky behavior not to do, such as communicating personal passwords to a third party, even if the latter seems to work in the company. The same is true vis-a-vis opening an attachment received in a suspicious email.
Because human incidents often create security breaches within corporate IT systems, people are a perfect target for hacker networks. The main challenge today is, therefore, to minimize human risks by raising the awareness of employees in the face of cybersecurity issues. Initiating an apprenticeship and training program for all employees is, therefore, one of the best solutions for raising collective awareness of cybersecurity.
We turn to the writings of Joseph Steinberg for help devising strategies for employee training and education. Joseph Steinberg is a world-renowned expert witness in the field of cybersecurity, and he has provided his insights on common human mistakes in this area that lead to big problems. He is the brains behind the authentication products made by Green Armor Solutions and a columnist for publications like Forbes and Inc. Moreover, the NYC based expert holds a number of patents for his innovations in user authentication and the prevention of data breaches, especially in the field of social media. You have probably used products that he invented.
How cybersecurity awareness enables the deployment of corporate cyberculture?
The digital security measures put in place to protect all employee devices are far from sufficient. Indeed, staff must now also become fully involved in cybersecurity. Raising employee awareness, therefore, means providing them with the knowledge and information necessary to secure your company and all your sensitive data. In addition, it further strengthens compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation. Since 2018, the GDPR has imposed very strict standards on companies to secure the personal data of their users. These obligations, even if they prove to be restrictive, have nevertheless allowed them to focus on securing their own data and, by extension, to be more concerned about the cybersecurity of their structure.
This awareness of computer security must also be part of a deep and long-term corporate cyberculture. Thus, the more staff have a high level of cyberculture, the more they will be inclined to be vigilant in the face of a risk of cyber attack. In addition, strong cyberculture is a first step in your approach to raising awareness of cybersecurity because it will allow you to establish systematic reflexes with employees and involve them at the heart of data protection and IS security initiatives.
In order to make its employees aware of cybersecurity, the company must therefore improve the culture of security within its structure by respecting 5 fundamental rules:
Popularize the topic of cybersecurity by showing that the subject is accessible to everyone. Contrary to popular belief, cybersecurity is not only reserve for senior executives or technical teams represented by CIOs. Employees are all concerned. Those who will benefit from educational support will have all the tools in hand and the necessary resources to be able to improve their skills in cybersecurity.
Offer cybersecurity training programs through concrete, practical exercises. Employees will thus be able to better identify the types of cyber threats to which they may be exposed in the future and protect themselves against potential cyberattacks. Thanks to the best practices retained at the end of this training, they will be better able to know what reflexes to adopt and what specific actions to take depending on the situation. These learning programs can take different forms:
- Video tutorials followed by a series of questions
- Interactive attack simulation modules and tools accompanied by scenarios
A security test is one of the best ways to assess the knowledge of users, and, thus, to know their degree of maturity and preparedness in the field of cybersecurity.
Encourage employees to report computer security incidents. In fact, in the event of suspicion or a proven cyberattack, users must imperatively refer to the IT department, which will have defined a prevention and response plan for the company in advance. In particular, it have identify the assets that the company must prioritize as well as the protective measures to be put in place quickly depending on the asset at risk.
Write an internal security policy on which it is advisable to communicate within the framework of meetings or e-mails. This internal security policy can also be display, like a manifesto or a guide, in strategic places of passage where employees are use to circulating (corridors, reception, etc.). The objective is to raise awareness and mobilize as many people as possible about cybersecurity issues.
Show that cybersecurity awareness is treated with the same degree of importance as other major business issues. It is important to make no distinctions and to approach information security with the same degree of involvement and responsibility as for any other risk that weighs on an organization.
When cybersecurity becomes an opportunity
Cybersecurity approaches must be seen not as a constraint, but as an opportunity. Properly implemented, they secure the business while communicating positive messages to employees, customers, and partners.
Cyber-awareness instills the right reflexes in employees, both professionally and personally. In addition to the operational protection of the IS that it provides, it conveys a responsible message of risk control and esprit de corps from which the entire organization benefits. In general, cybersecurity constitutes a strong element of differentiation. Just as the ethical management of personal data can improve a company’s brand image, a serious and transparent cybersecurity strategy can promote a brand in its market and strengthen the trust of customers and partners.
Cyber-awareness is also a tremendous “empowerment” lever. It gives employees the means to protect themselves against a ubiquitous threat. It makes them more responsible, autonomous and active, thus allowing them to become a decisive element of the defense system of their organization. In short, it allows them to be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem. Making the human factor an asset in a cybersecurity strategy is the whole point of a cyber-awareness approach. Effectively confronting cybercrime and reducing it is possible, provide of course that you are support by experience partners.
Building a corporate culture based on a massive awareness of the importance of cybersecurity awareness is therefore a priority at all levels. The Benefits of Cyber Security Awareness training are threefold: increasing your level of IT security, increasing the skills of your teams, and developing a cyberculture within your company. The stronger the cyberculture, the further your business will be away from cyber threats and attacks. Democratizing cybersecurity among all your employees, through awareness campaigns, will allow them to access a high degree of digital maturity. In the long term, this will contribute to a better memorization of good practices and customs to adopt when a risky situation arises.