By Steve Scott-Douglas
Building security using an inside-out approach encourages IT security awareness among your employees, which allows them to serve as security assets, rather than liabilities, for your company.
Maintaining a high-quality IT security perimeter and staying on top of future security methods is critical to securing your company, as mentioned in the white paper, Software Security of the Future, published by Ciklum. However, IT security is not exclusive to perimeter defense, given that IT security threats aren’t exclusively external. Your employees represent a crucial factor in your company’s security, and can either act as security strengths or weaknesses to your company.
A well-trained and educated employee base is a security asset able to detect potentially dangerous scenarios and respond to IT security incidents. However, employees with little to no awareness of IT security threats or policy represent massive security liabilities.
To ensure your company’s employees fall more under the former category rather than the latter, it is essential to establish an inside-out approach to IT security that encourages awareness throughout your employee base.
An inside-out approach to security entails a culture of security within a company fostered and encouraged by leaders and permeated throughout its ranks.
Employees Lack IT Security Policy and Threat Awareness
Companies struggle with IT security awareness among their employees; approximately half of entry-level employees are uncertain whether their company has a cybersecurity policy, according to a 2018 post by Clutch, Employee Awareness of IT Security Threats.
To encourage IT security awareness, companies need to emphasize improvement and investment in two areas, an established security policy and training, as well as a top-down approach for implementing and maintain company IT security policies.
Having a security policy and proper training is paramount in this era of heightened security risk. The first step to combating IT security threats and ensuring employee contribution to threat prevention is through establishing an IT security or cybersecurity policy, if you haven’t already.
There are several benefits of simply having a policy in place. Security consciousness, for example, can awaken through a company. The sheer act of taking the time to put in place a policy is the first step in going from the unconscious incompetence debate around security to building your competence, to gaining awareness of threats, and taking them seriously.
Beyond simply having a policy in place, your company needs to establish a base level of security knowledge for all of its employees. Some companies tend to limit or tier the level of security training they provide based on employee position, treating higher-ranking employees as higher security priorities.
Instead, companies should provide training for all employees through security onboarding programs in order to establish a standard of security compliance and awareness.
It is also important to recognize that IT security awareness flows from the top of the organization. The benefits of establishing an IT security policy, or any sort of security program, cannot be fully realized unless that policy and its components are communicated regularly throughout an organization.
Oftentimes, higher-ranking and decision-making employees, that excel at establishing policy may fall short of ensuring that it is communicated and understood among employees at all levels.
Prioritizing communication at all levels of a company maintains employee awareness of IT security threats and policies over time, allowing them to establish a positive contribution to your company’s security.
Promote Employee Awareness to Enhance IT Security
IT security threats will continue to become noxious and urgent for companies to address.
Beyond a solid security perimeter, companies should promote holistic security by investing in their internal resources and employees. The effort of implementing and maintaining a cybersecurity policy helps a company transition from incompetence to awareness. SW
Steve Scott-Douglas is the CIO and business change director at Ciklum. Scott-Douglas offers a proven track record of success within highly-competitive B2B, B2C, outsourced services, financial services, insurance, technology, corporate, commercial markets, non-profit, professional body, and accrediting body organizations. He has a history of successful delivery within highly competitive businesses as a leader of international multi skilled IT and change delivery teams.
Aug2019, Software Magazine