When your workplace manages sensitive data – either your own, or that of your clients – it’s important to ensure you develop and implement an effective information security program.
But if you think configuring your firewalls and installing an antivirus program will fulfill that demand, you’re overlooking an important blind spot: the human factor. In today’s connected workplaces, security isn’t just the responsibility of IT – everyone has a part to play.
Even the best security software can’t prevent someone from willingly giving up sensitive information (or sending hundreds of thousands of dollars) if they fall prey to a clever phishing email.
So how can your company create a robust culture of IT security? It starts with your employees.
Here are three ways your organization can improve the human component of cybersecurity:
Training and Awareness
Creating a secure workplace starts with training and awareness – first, employees need to be aware of what kind of threats may encounter, and then they should be trained on how to recognize (and deal with) these threats. This should be a critical part of employee education, and cover issues such as recognizing phishing emails, how to create robust passwords, and why unsecured public Wi-Fi shouldn’t always be trusted.
Don’t assume everyone has the same level of awareness that you do, and don’t think that any question is too dumb – in fact, gathering your employees together and asking them to brainstorm possible security issues that your organization might face is one way to create meaningful engagement in the topic.
Even if you take employee turnover out of the equation, security training should never be a one and done deal. Sharing newsworthy cyberattacks or discussing new developments in the security world on a regular basis can help keep the issue top-of-mind.
And if an employee identifies an potential issue or threat, taking the time to recognize and reward them helps reinforce the concept of collective responsibility while demonstrating that your company culture takes security seriously.
Ad hoc work-arounds and solutions have a funny way of appearing where ever clear guidelines are lacking. It’s important for IT managers and CIOs to develop (and implement) company-wide internal processes and policies that govern how data is accessed & shared.
This includes developing Identity and Access Management (IAM) protocols that determine which roles have access to specific data, what steps to take if an employee’s account is compromised, and what needs to be done when an employee is terminated or leaves – this includes ensuring access privileges are revoked across the board (easier if your IAM is centralized and monitored).
Cloud computing and BYOD (discussed below) also introduce new variables to your internal processes, but it just makes sense to ensure your data is continuously and securely backed up in order to maintain compliance, and provide you with the required files should you ever need to rely on your backup and disaster recovery plan.
As mobile devices – especially smartphones – become a primary communication method, many workplaces have adopted ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policies that permit employees to access workplace network, files, and applications on their personal devices.
And while permitting BYOD can reduce business costs and improve employee satisfaction, it can quickly create vulnerabilities unless you have an effective enterprise mobility management solution and clear policies on mobile use and monitoring. For example:
- How will you deploy and manage software agents on devices?
- How can you reduce the security risk of devices you don’t control?
- Are you able to monitor and differentiate BYOD device traffic from company-owned devices?
- Do you need to track BYOD application usage and bandwidth consumption?
- How to hold BYOD users accountable for their behavior?
A Dedicated IT Provider Brings Security Experience and Expertise
Many businesses don’t have the resources, time or knowledge to develop and implement effective training, processes, and policies that address the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape facing today’s organizations. It’s one of the reasons why Managed Service Providers like Keeran Networks can offer value beyond traditional break-fix IT.
Our experience working with a variety of clients of different sizes and across different industries has given us excellent insight into common security blind spots, and what methods can be used to effectively address them. Our full stack KeeranONE IT package provides your workplace with a dedicated team of IT professionals who provide you with end-to-end technology solutions that keep your business secure, up-to-date, and competitive.
If you find yourself constantly putting out fires in the workplace and reacting to your technology, why not get in touch and tell us what’s going on. We can help.