Cybersecurity is one of the most critical issues facing organizations today. In 2021, data breaches cost companies an average of $4.24 million1, and the number of ransomware-related data leaks increased by 82%2.
As the digital age progresses, the risk of cybercrime increases, making it essential for businesses to take cybersecurity seriously. Implementing strong technology measures can help protect against costly data breaches and other cyber-attacks; however, cybersecurity is more than just tech tools and defensive IT support – it’s a holistic approach that should include change management, organizational culture, and personnel training.
Cybersecurity is not just protecting data and systems from hackers. It is empowering employees to take the issue seriously and ensuring security is built into the fabric of our organizations.
Leadership engagement is critical to building an influential culture of cybersecurity. Executives must lead by example and engage with employees to ensure that cybersecurity is made a priority. They can set the tone for the organization and create an environment where employees feel empowered to act on cybersecurity issues.
Additionally, leaders should regularly review cybersecurity policies and procedures to ensure they are up-to-date and effective. Leaders should ensure that employees are appropriately trained on these regulations and understand the importance of following them. They should engage regularly with employees to discuss risks, effective mitigations, and updated company policies that address changes in the operational environment.
Leadership plays a crucial role in cultivating a solid cybersecurity culture. By proactively encouraging employees to report suspicious activity and educating them on best practices, organizational leaders can create an environment that minimizes the risk of cyber-attacks and other vulnerabilities. They should promote collaboration among departments and ensure all employees have the necessary tools and training to protect sensitive data. By taking these actions, leaders can build a strong foundation for cybersecurity in their organization.
The Importance of Organizational Change Management
Organizational change management is a process that helps companies manage changes to their business processes, structures, and technologies. Change management includes:
- Planning for transition
- Identifying and assessing risks
- Communicating changes to employees
- Monitoring the effects of changes
One key benefit of organizational change management is that it enables identification, assessment, and mitigation of risks before changes occur. Through identifying and evaluating risks, organizations can make informed decisions about proceeding with security upgrades or incident response plans. By monitoring the effects of these changes over time, an organization can ensure that they have the desired impact on the overall security posture, making change management a critical component of any cybersecurity strategy.
Training for Personnel
Unfortunately, 95% of cyber-attacks are caused by human error3, whether by an employee who falls victim to a phishing scheme or someone who unwittingly spreads malicious code through regular system interactions. This makes Cybersecurity Awareness Training an essential need for all organizations.
Government and Defense contractors are required by federal mandates to provide annual cybersecurity awareness training for all employees, regardless of role. In addition to these mandated training modules, organizations must consider implementing their own training program, tailored to both technical and non-technical employees alike. Training topics should cover a wide variety of security areas, including access privileges, password creation and management, recognizing social engineering and phishing, security for devices, and threat reaction.
Training should consist of both educational modules and real-world exercises, such as mock phishing attempts administered by IT professionals. These exercises test staff knowledge and inform organizations where more attention is needed. Cyber training should be administered both for new hires and on an annual refresher basis for current employees. Remember: cybersecurity and data protection are everyone’s responsibility, and an organization is only as strong as its weakest link.
A Comprehensive Approach to Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity must go far beyond implementing new technology or performing routine maintenance. It requires a holistic approach that considers people, processes, and organizational culture. By focusing on these critical aspects, businesses can better protect themselves from cyber threats and ensure long-term success in the digital world.
People are an essential part of cybersecurity, as they are the ones who implement and manage the processes and systems. Change management is also critical. Organizations must constantly adapt to new threats, and procedures must be efficient and secure so that data is protected. To make cybersecurity more effective and efficient, organizations should empower employees to participate in the change management process.
Cybersecurity is a team effort, and everyone must participate to be successful. Empowered employees and buy-in from all levels of leadership are essential to creating a security-aware organization and developing a culture that understands its importance. By emphasizing education, training, communication, and collaboration, cybersecurity teams can create an environment where security is made a priority.
Help is available
For those who are new to cybersecurity, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the available information and resources. Fortunately, many organizations can clarify or provide guidance on proper knowledge and skills to protect against cyber threats.
The National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) works with businesses, educators, nonprofit groups, government agencies, and individuals to promote awareness about cybersecurity. Through its comprehensive website (www.staysafeonline.org), the NCA provides news, updates, educational resources, training opportunities, and special events that focus on how people can better protect themselves online.
If you need a formal assessment or assistance managing the transition to a digitally secure organization, both ArCybr and Alluvionic are here to help. Our subject matter experts can conduct thorough assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities and provide recommendations to improve your overall cybersecurity posture. Our Cyber Consulting services assist with National Institute for Standards and Technology guidelines (including 800-171), Risk Management Framework support, Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) assessments, policy creation and implementation, organizational change management, and more. Contact us today at email@example.com to learn more our partnership and services.
1. IBM (2021). Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021 (pp. 4). Armonk, NY.
2. Crowdstrike (2022). 2022 Global Threat Report (pp. 11). Austin, TX.
3. Zippia. “30 Worrisome Cybersecurity Statistics : Data, Trends, and More” Zippia.com. Oct. 10, 2022, https://www.zippia.com/advice/cybersecurity-statistics/