As surface vulnerabilities expand, companies need employees to support their cybersecurity strategy. Source: Shutterstock

As surface vulnerabilities expand, companies need employees to support their cybersecurity strategy. Source: Shutterstock

3 steps to ensure employees buy into your cybersecurity strategy

CYBERSECURITY is getting a lot of attention these days with business leaders spending more of their budget on protecting their data and their business.

Given the regulatory pressures, the demand from customers, and the overall competitive edge that preventing hacks can offer, companies are keen on ensuring they have the best cyber defense they can afford.

However, most often forget that their employees are the key to ensuring a cybersecurity strategy is implemented accurately and provides the protection it promises.

Since employees’ actions within the corporate network can open several vulnerabilities, compounded by the fact that surface area of today’s networks is increasing rapidly with the internet of things (IoT), augmented and virtual reality, and bring your own device policies, educating employees is key.

To be completely honest, employees want to help too. There’s no incentive for them to create vulnerabilities for the organization or increase cyber risks for the business.

Here is a three-step process for organizations looking to help employees buy-into and support their cybersecurity efforts:

# 1 | Help employees understand why

When a new cybersecurity policy is adopted, employees tend to get a guideline. “Please change your password every fortnight” or “please do not connect external devices to your computer”.

However, no effort is made to explain these policies to them. In their eyes, it’s simply a new rule that makes their everyday tasks more inconvenient.

Explaining to staff why certain policies are in place and how they can help prevent a cyberattack is quite important.

Organizations that do this tend to find that policies create a culture shift rather than bring about a forced change that the staff is constantly trying to create workarounds for.

# 2 | Offer training to help make better choices

Employees want nothing but the best for the organization.

However, in order for them to comply with cybersecurity policies and deliver on expectations, they need to understand what is expected of them and why.

Offering cybersecurity training to employees helps significantly when organizations are looking to secure the support of employees. It not only helps them feel included but also empowers them to make the right decisions.

# 3 | Remind them time and again

Employees usually put off adapting to new cybersecurity measures and practices because they’re a deviation from their routine. It’s that simple.

It’s also why they might go back to their old habits if they’re not reminded of the new strategy and the new way they need to handle their digital presence.

Organizations that remind their staff of their digital guidelines or offer training periodically to refresh their memory about how they can protect themselves online tend to have better adherence to policies.