Every person in an organisation has the potential to enhance security. Physical office barriers were removed during the pandemic, exposing companies to countless vulnerabilities as attack avenues have multiplied. However, this does not mean that all was lost. What it signals is the importance of promoting a culture of security across the entire corporate environment, no matter how broadly that environment lies.
The way that employees at all levels view the significance of security is intimately related to shared responsibility. This will require some deft skills and broad resources to successfully ingrain security into an organization.
One challenging aspect of the effort to establish and sustain a security culture is persuading people to change their behaviour. People may seem uninterested in the security concerns that they confront, but this doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, as most people are keenly aware of the dangers. Yet, in many cases, they don’t do enough to protect themselves, and this apparent apathy is carried over to the security of their employer. One way to impact better security behaviour is by demonstrating security culture at the highest level of the organization.
Improving C-Suite Security Culture
Cybersecurity is no longer only a problem for the IT team; it now affects every department of the company, and constitutes a severe risk to ongoing business prosperity. These problems affect the entire business ecosystem beyond the technological setting. Cybersecurity solutions must include technical improvements and modifications to management, employee, and business process behaviour. According to a report by IBM, while 65% of C-suite executives are very confident their cybersecurity plans are well established, only 17 percent demonstrate the highest levels of preparedness and capability.
How Can Companies Improve C-Suites' Security Culture?
Engage Relevant External Organisations
More than 80% of corporate boards view cybersecurity as a business risk, instead of a strictly technical problem that falls within the purview of an IT staff. These businesses have better profiles for mitigating cybersecurity risk as a result. It is possible that these organizations succeed because they engage with external organisations to share incident information and are more likely to have established and empowered a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) who works cross-functionally on resolving the latest cybersecurity challenges.
Implement Security-Centred Culture
A security-centred culture that encourages collaborations across the organisation with public and private stakeholders is often championed by executives, the board, and senior leadership. Depending on the budget, organisations can lessen exposure and the associated impact of assaults by giving leadership teams and workers periodic cybersecurity training and basic threat detection capabilities. Through this awareness training, workers may improve password security and data privacy, while forming online behaviours that will benefit the company.
Making sure the C-suite is aware of existing security gaps and the risk they cause is one of the CISOs' top priorities. Risk must always be aligned with corporate strategy, or it will be seen as irrelevant. The risk register must also consider the organisation's risk appetite.
What new security risks exist? How could they affect us? Does cybersecurity factor into the value proposition of our brand? What are our short and long-term security goals?
Continuous Improvement on Organisational Security Programme
CISOs continue to lead the development of the organisation's security programme, defining the security mission and culture to ensure integrity throughout the entire process, from vision and development, to implementation and ongoing enforcement. In addition to ensuring disaster recovery, and incident response strategies are in place and routinely tested, C-suites should be tasked with heading security teams and programmes responsible for protecting all information assets.
The involvement of C-suite executives can also assist CISOs in concentrating on the most crucial security concerns, and adjusting the programme to ensure that it is in line with more extensive company plans and strategies, assisting in gaining more comprehensive support without compromising security. The Chief Operating Officer (COO) is a potential companion for this cross-departmental alignment.
The COO will have the authority necessary to promote security and how it can affect employees, customers, goods, and the organisation. A competent COO today needs to promote a corporate culture that fully supports security initiatives. However, other people must act as security advocates in addition to the COO. All C-level executives must play a significant part in building a solid security culture.
Having C-suites serving as role models at the top will help to highlight a company's overall commitment to cybersecurity. By doing this, employees gain confidence in their ability to play a part in maintaining the security of corporate data. To this end, it is critical that C-suite executives set the bar for security, especially given the current environment. The risk of data breaches and stolen information being sold on the dark web has never been higher due to the more sophisticated strategies used by cybercriminals. Senior leadership, middle management, and all other employees must collaborate to secure their workplace and to influence information security advancements.
About the Author:
Mosopefoluwa Amao is a certified Cybersecurity Analyst and Technical writer. She has experience working as a Security Operations Center (SOC) Analyst with a history of creating relevant cybersecurity content for organizations and spreading security awareness. She volunteers as an Opportunities and Resources Writer with a Nigerian based NGO where she curated weekly opportunities for women. She is also a regular writer at Bora.
Her other interests are law, volunteering and women’s rights. In her free time, she enjoys spending time at the beach, watching movies or burying herself in a book.
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Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.