A cybersecurity plan is only as strong as its weakest link. The adoption of cybersecurity best practices is absolutely vital to the protection of your small business. But, how do you get people to pay attention?! How do you get your team invested in cybersecurity?
Follow these steps to get your team invested in cybersecurity:
- Make it personal. Explain the impact a breach can have on employees, customers, & your company.
- Keep it short.
- Brainstorm ways to make cybersecurity more engaging.
- Make it regular. Consistent refreshers will keep cybersecurity front of mind for everyone.
- Automate whenever possible.
Wondering how you can manage to make cybersecurity fun, keep it short, and do it regularly? Read on to learn more.
How to Get Your Team Invested in Cybersecurity
1. DO Make It Personal, DON’T Try to Scare Them
Building a comprehensive culture of security and awareness is best accomplished when your staff feels invited into the conversation. If you try to scare them into submission you may risk alienating them entirely.
While we acknowledge that statistics are a great tool, presenting them in a frightening manner can feel alarmist and push away your employees who simply don’t get the sense of urgency you feel.
Talking through the impacts a data breach can have on your employees first shows them that their safety is your number one priority. They may not realize that their data is just as vulnerable in a breach as your customers’.
Next, discuss the impacts on your customer base. Maybe their favorite client experiences identity theft. Or their biggest account switches to a competitor who touts better security. Whatever the details, your employees will see an immediate impact on people they work with and know well.
Now, we know how important your business is to you. But you have to promise you will not talk about impacts of a data breach on the business until you’ve made it real for your employees with personal and work relationships first.
While your business is paramount to you, it simply isn’t as important to your employees as a whole. They are unique individuals with complicated and rich lives outside of the office. You need to approach this conversation with that understanding. It may be a good job, but it is likely just a job to them.
When you do discuss the business, explain to them that a personal investment in cybersecurity is an investment into stability. Let them know that 60% of small businesses shut down six months after a breach (National Cyber Security Alliance).
You shouldn’t try to scare your staff into compliance. Instead, explain the risks to them, their customers, and the company. Then ask them sincerely for their help in preventing a breach. This should more easily get them invested in cybersecurity.
2. Brevity and Focus are Your Friend
Don’t try to cram all the cybersecurity practices you want every staff member to learn into a vast, comprehensive webinar. Your team will dread that day-long training and retain so little of it. You might as well not have done it.
Instead, think of your cybersecurity training as a campaign. Break it down into small, bite-sized pieces that are easily digested in ten minutes or less. Call it a coffee talk or cyber lunch or turn lessons into infographics or mnemonic devices that are catchy.
Educating your employees on one aspect of cyber hygiene a week or a month is the best route. It gives them a chance to implement what they’ve learned before the next item on the agenda. This builds a much more solid foundation in cybersecurity.
Encourage your employees to take your cybersecurity tips home and use them in their personal lives too. Showing that you care about their cyber hygiene both in and out of work could help get your team invested in cybersecurity.
Plus, if they’re teaching someone they know outside of work about what they’ve learned, they’re showing mastery of your content. It’s a win/win!
3. Make it Fun!
Many office workers will check out the instant they hear the word ‘training’.
It’s hard to stay engaged when you’ve been pulled away from your desk and tasks that desperately needed doing. Forcing yourself to listen to someone drone on about buzzwords or fire exits is difficult.
The antidote to this theoretical dull training comes in part from the previous tip. We’ve agreed you’re not going to waste much of your employee’s precious time. But how do you make sure they stay invested, even if it’s only for five minutes?
The answer is simple: fun, humor, or anything that you can use to keep things engaging. Perhaps in addition to the informative blasts you send out via email, you could also send out regular cybersecurity challenges.
This can come in many forms – sending a faux phishing email to see who catches it, surprising them with short pop quizzes, or creating a fake Facebook profile for a co-worker who’s game and seeing how many of them fall for the social engineering test.
You can award prizes to the first few employees that pass the challenge with flying colors, or if a ton of people fail, cater lunch for everyone and review the results over their favorite meals.
Anything you can do to foster healthy competition and reward your employees for showing that they’ve picked up on what you’re trying to instill will go a long way. It’s incredibly important to meaningfully thank your staff for participating in activities that keep everyone safe.
4. Keep it Consistent
Whether you send out these brief cyber tidbits weekly, monthly, or every quarter doesn’t really matter. What does matter is how frequently and consistently you’re discussing cybersecurity.
By simply speaking on the topic regularly, you’re pushing it to the forefront of every staff member’s mind each time you bring it up.
Discussing anything with regularity makes it a part of your company’s culture – whether it’s celebrating staff’s achievements, HR initiatives, or cybersecurity practices.
Working those best practices into company discourse on a regular basis ensures that a cybersecurity mindset will permeate your organization.
Additionally, people tend to come and go from businesses. People’s needs change or they find opportunities that excite them more, and that will mean you have new hires to get up to speed, too.
Regular cyber lunches, emails, or challenges ensure that no matter when a new employee starts working for your company, they will receive the same level of education in cybersecurity as everyone else.
Even if you know everything that’s being discussed, as the owner, it’s key for you to be a part of these conversations regularly too. The optics of a CEO who gets just as involved as they expect their staff to be in cybersecurity are powerful!
On the flip side, if you are removed or detached from these conversations, you could send the message that cybersecurity isn’t a huge priority. Which we know is patently false, because you came here looking for ways to get your team invested in cybersecurity best practices.
5. Automate As Many Cybersecurity Practices As Possible
The best systems are the ones you don’t even have to think about. Ask yourself:
- If you had to remember to log out from your computer at the end of every work day, would you?
- If you had to change your password every six weeks, but you were in charge of keeping track how often it was changed, would you remember to change it?
- If you had to manually back up your computer every six months, but there was no automated process, would you do it? And if so, would you do it on time?
The answer to all of the above is probably not – we tend to forget or deprioritize those background tasks that we’re supposed to do. Especially if they seem like an internal priority compared to everything else on our plates that goes out to clients.
The solution? Automation. Working with a tech professional (like CloudNexus) can help you stay on track through automation. Here’s how you can address all of the issues above:
- Need to log out everyday? Set up processes that log users out after 15 mins of inactivity
- Need everyone to change passwords every six weeks? Automatically require a new password when that time is up
- Need to backup data regularly? Schedule automatic backups so you never have to worry about data loss in the event of a cyber attack or system failure
We all have a million things to remember and get done each day. Automation can greatly help get your team invested in cybersecurity by making it incredibly easy for them.
Time to Get Your Team Invested in Cybersecurity!
We hope this article got you thinking about ways to get your team invested in cybersecurity. Don’t forget to make lessons personal, brief, fun, and frequent and automate everything you can. If you keep those five factors in mind, you’ll be right on track to a more secure company all around.
If you like what you’ve read, consider inviting an expert from CloudNexus to lead one of your coffee talks or cyber lunches. We promise to make it short, sweet, and informative.