Who Is Responsible for Developing a Cybersecurity Awareness Culture? (And Why You Should Do It)

Written by Paul Perry on October 27, 2022

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Cybersecurity is not a technology problem. It’s a people problem.

The greatest cyberrisks actually exist within your organization—not outside of it. Your employees are the key factor that determines exactly how secure your organization is against cyberthreats.

That’s why one of your company’s greatest lines of defense against a cyberbreach is to develop a cybersecurity awareness culture.

Darren Mott of the CyBUrGuy podcast always says that “knowledge is protection,” meaning that knowing your vulnerabilities will help you identify who and what to protect against. Sharing that knowledge within that organization and building that culture will only strengthen your protection.

Why Create a Cybersecurity Awareness Culture?

Creating a cybersecurity awareness culture is imperative to your organization’s security and overall prosperity. Cyberattacks aimed at deceiving employees into relinquishing confidential information are preeminent threats to organizations today.

Social engineering (e.g., phishing emails) has become increasingly common. In these attacks, a hacker sends a company employee a targeted email that appears to come from a legitimate source, like a company, co-worker or financial institution. These phishing attempts can easily trick the targeted victim into clicking on a malicious link or handing over confidential information.

If untrained or apathetic in the realm of cybersecurity, your employees can be a huge risk when they encounter a breach attempt like this. But if your business has developed a culture of cybersecurity awareness, your employees could stop an attack on your company before it even starts.

Who Is Responsible for Developing a Cybersecurity Awareness Culture?

Developing a cybersecurity awareness culture starts with top leadership’s attitude towards cybersecurity, which is critical for organizational buy-in. It is ultimately top leadership’s responsibility to define corporate procedures on cybersecurity and develop a plan to educate and train all employees on cybersecurity policies.

It’s critical that an organization’s governance adopts a threat-based cybersecurity strategy and makes the right investments to mitigate identified vulnerabilities, thereby reducing cyberliability.

This can be done by:

  • Defining corporate cross-functional procedures for cybersecurity
  • Developing a plan to educate and train all departments on cybersecurity policies
  • Staying committed to communicating the plan to all employees on a regular basis

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Yet, while a company’s leadership plays a key role in developing a cybersecurity awareness culture, everyone in an organization is responsible for actually implementing those IT security controls.

It’s not just the IT team or leadership’s responsibility to know the risks and identify threats. All employees should understand their individual cybersecurity responsibilities. Enforcing a mandatory user awareness training program and providing educational resources can equip your employees to proactively identify cyberthreats.

What About My Employees’ Personal Devices Connected to My Company’s Network?

If your organization has a bring-your-own-device policy in place without proper protocol and an advanced mobile device management (MDM) tool, you could be exposing your organization to threats.

From the unique operating and security features or device brands to the increasing malicious users focused on vulnerabilities and malware that target a mobile device’s app store, maintaining an acceptable level of security for user devices is more important than ever.

MDM tools are often cloud-based tools that function as an inventory system to track all mobile devices and serve as a hub to distribute security policies to the device, thereby preventing access to company resources and protecting data.

How Should My Company Start Developing a Cybersecurity Awareness Culture?

Cybersecurity is implemented through cyberspace and is the act of protecting sensitive information stored or accessed by the internet from a cyberattack. While companies may have cybersecurity concerns, true protection against this type of threat encompasses much more outside of this realm.

Organizations should prioritize true information security when implementing policies and procedures and training employees.

Information security is the overall act of keeping data in all forms secure. This includes many different technology considerations for your company, including cybersecurity. The three basic principles of information security are commonly referred to as CIA: confidentiality, integrity and availability.

  • Confidentiality – keeping data safe and secure
  • Integrity – preventing data from being compromised or altered from its original state
  • Availability – ensuring that data is readily available for authorized users to access when needed

Information security is that act of protecting data not only from cyberspace threats, but also from threats that exist outside of the internet and should be considered in planning and procedures.

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Learn More About Developing a Culture of Cybersecurity Awareness

So, who is responsible for developing a culture of cybersecurity awareness?

Well, everyone!

It’s not just the role of your company’s leadership or IT department. While buy-in from leadership is the ultimate catalyst for the cultural shift, every employee should be educated on his or her personal role in keeping the organization’s sensitive information secure.

Creating a cybersecurity awareness culture should be the goal of all organizations aiming to protect data, employees, customers and vendor relationships.

If you want to learn more about protecting your business or developing a cybersecurity awareness culture, reach out to your Warren Averett advisor, or ask a member of our team to contact to you.

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