In 2017, there were over 28,000 security breaches in the United States, with the average cost of a malware attack on a company reaching $2.4 million. The threat of cyber attacks continues to grow for individuals, small businesses, and large corporations alike.
There are many resources available to create a layered security strategy. But while there is more technology available than you could possibly imagine to help keep your data safe, perhaps the most powerful resource is your people.
Security awareness is more than just education, communications, and training; it is cultural change and requires buy-in at every level. With that in mind, our experts weighed in on three key components of an effective security awareness strategy.
Empower and Engage
Employees are told far too often that they are the weakest link, but they can be your most important asset, and as such, it is important to empower them! Make them feel like they are truly part of the program with open dialogue and discussion: include surveys to understand what their security concerns are—both at work and at home—and what they feel they need to see or hear from a security team.
Tailor Your Training
Your employees have a diverse background when it comes to security training. Some will have extensive knowledge while others will have none. Make sure your communication reflects that. Integrating larger group sessions that cover more general topics with smaller group sessions that are more specifically geared to different levels of experience can be a way to effectively customize training.
Practice Makes Perfect
There is a reason that air pilots use simulations to sharpen their reflexes and practice how to respond in stressful or challenging situations. In the same way, running simulations can help your employees “learn by doing” and provide an opportunity for you to give them real-time feedback in a low-stakes environment.
As Gregory Touhill, the first chief information security officer of the US under the Obama administration, says, “Everybody has a stake in cybersecurity and… is on cyber front lines.” Creating a culture of security through continuous, tailored training for your entire workforce will put your enterprise in the best possible position to keep your data safe.