6 Ways to help your organization reach a collective understanding of cybersecurity

The way someone grasps cybersecurity affects how they handle it, and if they understand its aspects differently from another person, then both of them are likely to handle it inconsistently, too. For example, some people may still adhere to the old wisdom of continually changing passwords. They may argue that doing so shortens the validity of passwords, so even if others steal or break these, the risk of hackers breaching accounts is reduced.

However, some users may make only slight changes to their existing passwords since doing so is most convenient for them. This introduces predictability into the password creation process, which results in passwords that are easier to guess and are therefore less secure. That is, even if one password no longer works, a black hat hacker may try out variations of this password. Therefore, the closer the new password is to the old one, the easier it will be to crack.

While open-mindedness fosters diversity of ideas and allows the best ones to come out on top, you’ll also want everyone in your organization to have a common understanding of cybersecurity concepts and principles. Without this commonality, people may insist on cybersecurity practices that are detrimental to your business and implement cybersecurity strategies inconsistently or incorrectly. To achieve this common understanding, follow these tips:

1. Get buy-in from all members of the team

Showing everyone the dangers that cyberthreats pose to their livelihoods and investments can help them reach a baseline understanding of the value of cybersecurity. Buy-in from the rank and file means that they’ll do their part in keeping the company safe, whereas buy-in from executives and board members means that they’ll allocate the resources necessary to implement cybersecurity strategies. In short, convincing people to care is the first step toward leading them to a collective in-depth understanding of cybersecurity.

Without a common understanding of cybersecurity, people may insist on cybersecurity practices that are detrimental to your business and implement cybersecurity strategies inconsistently or incorrectly.

2. Create a common cybersecurity vocabulary

If employees conceptualize security terms like “ransomware” differently, then they are not likely to understand one another when they discuss such terms. Therefore, you want to create a shared functional reference that utilizes an agreed-upon definition and naming system.

By having a standardized glossary and taxonomy (i.e., way of naming things), misunderstandings may be reduced and discussing cybersecurity matters like network monitoring and risk assessment becomes much easier.

With this as the foundation, cybersecurity performance reports could also be standardized. As reports are generated over time and across departments, comparisons and historical analyses may reveal insights on where people may fall short in protecting data or which cybersecurity practices produce the best results.

3. Establish a clear cybersecurity risk rating system

Describing cybersecurity risks as “low,” “medium,” or “high” tends to be meaningless unless such ratings are substantiated. You must tie the ratings with reference points that people can relate to, such as how much costly downtime a cyberthreat can cause, how much data it can expose, or how much it can hurt your customers.

4. Set up and implement a risk-response framework

A risk-response framework lists the possible cyberthreats your company may face, their risk ratings, and the actions you must take when facing such threats. By employing the framework consistently across your organization, you make risk management a vital component of your company’s culture. The more adept your decision-makers become at managing risk, the more decisive and effective they’ll become.

5. Make risk management resources accessible to those who need it

If the company disseminates a newsletter conveying how the accounting department fended off a spear phishing attack, every staff member can refer to the shared glossary of terms, risk rating system, and risk-response framework to clearly understand the incident.

Managers in other departments may also want to look at the data gathered during cybersecurity incidents so that they’ll have a better idea of how they must respond during similar situations. That’s why they need to have easy access to such data.

6. Find people who’ll act as cybersecurity advocates

Despite having readily available resources, people may still need help grasping cybersecurity concepts and protocols. Here, a staff member who has expertise in cybersecurity can help increase their understanding of the subject. The advocates can also help managers who need to discern how data security processes may affect operations or how security investments align with the company’s goals.

Let our IT experts at NetWize be your cybersecurity advocates as well. Send us a message or call us at 801-747-3200 today to learn more.

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