Improving cyber hygiene will happen – not by accident but by research, by study, by analysis, and by design.
As the cost of a data breach continues to increase, enterprises are tasked with continuously improving their cyber hygiene. Oftentimes, the focus is on cybersecurity tools and procedures, letting concerns about employee behavior fall to the wayside. Not only does this put the business at risk but employees are impacted as well. Costly data breaches can lead to bankruptcy or closures, leaving staff suddenly unemployed.
Businesses need to address three barriers when creating a strong cybersecurity strategy. Resolving fatigue means designing security implementations to make doing the right thing easier than doing the wrong thing. To understand those other structural barriers, we need to research what it is that compels people to make an improper choice, then tune our cybersecurity interfaces to guide people to make the safe choice.
5 Tips to Improve Cyber Hygiene 💻🧼
1) Lead by example: Leaders are responsible for setting precedent and demonstrating what security looks like in everyday business practices.
2) Tell a story: Storytelling is an effective method of communication. Not everyone is passionate about cybersecurity, build a relatable narrative that highlights a few recent incidents and how they impacted everyday business functions.
3) Encourage collaboration & questions: Encourage information sharing across all teams. Positive, supportive communication is vital to encourage staff to work with security teams.
4) Simplify security systems: Remove friction by setting up system alerts to remind employees to change passwords, update software and hardware, backup data, etc. If possible, create guided tutorials to help less tech-savvy employees follow policies.
5) Monitor metrics: Using gamification, competitions, or quick tests in security training helps you monitor which modules resonated and the knowledge levels.
Security leaders must accept that getting employees to follow cyber hygiene recommendations is difficult. Human nature is very malleable, and not everyone is a security or technology expert. Forgetfulness, fatigue, and other structural barriers can introduce weaknesses in your first line of defense. Cyber hygiene is not a complex problem, but it is hard, which means we need to understand the underlying barriers and design solutions that support the safe choice.
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