How To

From the break room to the boardroom: Creating a culture of cybersecurity in the workplace

Authored by a Symantec employee


Whether you own a small business or a big one, you live in a world where cybersecurity is of paramount importance. Big business, small business, academic institutions, government agencies, nonprofits… all of these need to take an interest in cybersecurity or pay the price. It’s a matter or success, but also a matter of national security. Those working in critical infrastructure have a special obligation to make sure that they’re securing the workplace. Here are some of the best ways to create a culture of cybersecurity where you work.

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It All Starts With Education and Training

Cybersecurity around your office begins with education and training: education in best practices and training in how best to execute those best practices, as well as making them a daily habit. Some key areas to hit include:

  1. App Updating: The main way that hackers are going to find a way into your system is through outdated app with known exploits. Make sure your coworkers and employees know to update their apps as soon as the update is available, not “later on.”
  2. Password control: The best solution is a password management application. This holds all of your passwords in one place, allowing people to generate strong, random passwords. They then only need to remember one strong password to unlock the app itself. Barring that, use strong passwords, only use them once and _never_ store them on a post-it note on the monitor.
  3. VPNs: Especially for a business, VPNs aren’t optional. These encrypt all traffic leaving your computer until it reaches its destination. If someone somehow manages to get in the middle of your traffic, all they will have is encrypted junk data. It’s not enough to have a VPN—people have to make sure they’re actually using them.
  4. Cybersecurity as part of basic training: Educate all current employees at once and all new employees coming in with the same best practices. As best practices become updated, update your training and corral the team to make sure everyone continues to be on the same page.

These four best practices, when combined with an enterprise-class, full-service Internet security suite are your best option when it comes to protecting your workplace against cyberthreats.

Awareness Must Continue Past Education

None of this education and training is any good unless you create a culture of cybersecurity awareness around the office. So how do you do that?

  1. Compliance programs: Make changing passwords a regular task, like cleaning the bathrooms. Make sure everyone is doing what they need to do to keep their passwords secure.
  2. Rewards programs: Offer rewards for employees who find ways to improve cybersecurity around the office. Don’t look to spot check your cybersecurity. Look for ways to make small, but significant tweaks to what you’re already doing.
  3. Accountability programs: Encouraging your employees to rat one another out for not following best practices will just erode trust. However, encouraging your employees to gently hold one another accountable will ensure compliance with best practices.

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