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Engaging Employees in Information Security Awareness

Engaging employees in information security awareness is becoming an increasingly important topic in business. This comes as no surprise given the rapid rise in remote working arrangements. IBM estimates the cost of each security breach in America is $3.92 million, but the cost can climb all the way up to $8.19 million. With more employees working remotely than ever before, companies now face increasing pressure to protect data through employee information security awareness. While educating employees about information security may seem like a daunting task, there are some practical ways to boost employee security awareness engagement.

Bake Security into Company Culture

People are an organization’s greatest asset, but they can also create breach points for hackers to get access to data. To close or reduce these breach points, leaders need to create a culture where security becomes paramount. Embed the importance of security into every aspect of the business. This helps to make security awareness a commonplace and natural part of operations.

Managers should incorporate security awareness into every aspect of daily duties as they are carried out. Meetings, huddles, and daily conversations should include discussions about how information security can be applied to projects and even what may seem like mundane tasks. Examples would be clearing important papers from desks or locking computers when employees step away from their workstations, if even only for a moment.

This creates an environment where security is woven into the fabric of company culture, ensuring a strong foundation for the organization’s overall information security management system. Employees will feel empowered and being aware of information security as they go about their duties will become second nature to them.

Create Solid Security Policy

Sometimes the employee breach point is created by the lack of information, or the lack of access or exposure to information. Often, formal security training to boost employee information security awareness only covers the basics. When workers encounter more complex situations, they need to know how to get necessary answers in order to react appropriately.

Having detailed, written security policy is an excellent solution. Security documents should clearly define how employees can escalate complex security events to management as well as what employees themselves are responsible for. Not only should these policies be reviewed during the onboarding process, they should be made easily accessible to employees and be reviewed at regular intervals.

Make Training Fun

Many companies create virtual security training programs that employees can complete on their own time. While this is an excellent strategy, they should strive to make training as engaging as possible to help employees avoid “zoning out” and simply clicking through assigned security modules.

Leaders should brainstorm creative ways to train other than online modules. This way, employees experience variety in training. Variety will help ensure concepts learned during training are retained. Examples of supplemental training methods could include hosting events, creating games, doing practice drills, and bringing in security professionals to speak.

Highlight Accountability

Managers should work with their teams to engrain personal and team accountability into the team dynamic. Encourage teammates to hold themselves and one another accountable for their part in ensuring information security, such as helping one another remember to clear off desks and lock computer screens during breaks or lunch. Embedding mutual accountability into employee information security awareness is a great way to help make security a natural part of a team’s overall mission within the organization.

Hancock & Poole Security are leaders in the information security space. We conduct audits, fix security loopholes, and provide employers with the tools they need to improve employee compliance with security regulations. Contact us today for more information.