infoTECH Feature

April 02, 2020

How to Make Cyber Security More Intuitive for Your Small Business

To Make Cyber Security Stick, Make it More Intuitive

There’s nothing simple about cyber security. But as integral as it is to your business, it’s imperative that you help your team understand how it works, why it matters, and what roles they each play.

Why Cyber Security Must Become a Priority

For small businesses, it’s easy to operate under the assumption that cyber security is an issue only large organizations deal with. But if you study the data and analyze the trends, you’ll quickly discover that small businesses are big targets.

According to one Ponemon study, nearly 70 percent of all small businesses experience a cyber attack in any given year. And the average cost for recovering data is somewhere north of $149,000. As a result, roughly 60 percent of small companies go out of business within six months of being compromised.

You don’t have the luxury of sitting back and making assumptions. Whether you realize it or not, you have a target on your back. And if you don’t proactively protect your business from external cyber attacks, you risk serious damage to your organization.

6 Ways to Make Cyber Security More Intuitive

Understanding the importance of investing in cyber security is one thing. Cultivating a culture that understands and embraces the right security strategies is an entirely different challenge.

The biggest key to success is making cyber security intuitive for all individuals and departments within the organization. If people understand cyber security, they’re much more likely to follow the guidelines that you put before them.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Create Analogies

Not every employee is going to understand the technical aspects of cyber security and why it matters. However, you can bet they understand physical security. This gives you an opportunity to explain cyber security through strategic analogies.

Explain to your employees how protecting a business is just like protecting a home. Much like they use locks, floodlights, alarm systems, safes, and cameras on their property, the business needs digital equivalents to safeguard against cyber criminals and other remote threats. Here are a few useful analogies:

  • Firewalls and passwords = door locks
  • Antivirus and security monitoring solutions = monitored alarm system
  • Encryption and network segmentation = safe for valuables
  • Network alarms and intrusion detection systems = dog
  • Security consultants = security guards

Feel free to expand these analogies and/or use different ones. The important thing is that you’re communicating on their level. Make it easy to understand and people will buy in.

  1. Use Visual Tools

Everyone processes information differently and acquires knowledge in unique ways. However, if your goal is to reach as many people in your organization as possible and leave them with a lasting understanding, visual aids are your best bet.

For those outside of the IT department, graphs, charts, and interactive graphics are all helpful in communicating big picture ideas. For those inside the department, strategically selecting the right security solutions will help ensure everyone is on the same page.

The Azure security platform is one example of a solution that features good visual tools. With powerful visualization capabilities, the framework instantly becomes more intuitive for everyone. This eliminates unnecessary friction and makes communication and collaboration less cumbersome.

1. Invest in Training

You understand the importance of training employees, but it’s important that you aren’t viewing it from a static lens.

“One of the most important concepts to grasp with cybersecurity is that maintenance is a constant job,” CoxBlue explains. “New attacks develop monthly, if not daily, and your approach to guarding against them can’t be limited to annual training.”

One suggested approach is to think about security training as “people patching.” You have to continually patch your people in order to avoid unwanted security vulnerabilities. This requires a shift away from static training and towards dynamic, ongoing education.

It’s also wise to consider how you’re educating your team members. The content needs to be engaging and practical. Find ways to develop hands-on systems that allow employees to be directly involved. Reducing the time between education and execution is vital.

2. Develop a Cyber Security Guide

Every business should have a cyber security guide in place to ensure everyone in the organization understands what to do in case of an attack or compromise. This guide – which should be documented and easily available – serves two distinct purposes:

  • It should explain how to implement formal security policies so that the organization remains protected.
  • It should outline an incident response plan with specific tasks and responsibilities.

Your cybersecurity guide needs to be printed in physical form, stored in digital copies, and archived via your company intranet. Accessibility is the name of the game.

3. Involve All Employees

You can’t pick and choose which employees and team members you educate on cyber security best practices and responses. All it takes is one uneducated employee to create a vulnerable point of entry for hackers. Everyone must be involved.

The best way to ensure everyone is educated is to make cyber security part of the standard onboarding process. Your people will be much more likely to take it seriously if it’s emphasized from the beginning.

4. Practice Simulated Attacks

Just like you’d never ask an employee to start using a brand new piece of software without first training them on the ins and outs, you shouldn’t expect your employees to handle a cyber attack or compromising situation without first having some hands-on experience.

Simulated attacks – whether you run them internally or through an outside partner – can help you prepare employees and identify weak spots. It also helps put legs to the concepts you discuss in theory.

Set Your Business Up for Success

A proactive and comprehensive cyber security strategy might not directly contribute to revenue and growth for a company, but it’s indirectly responsible for keeping the company afloat so that sales, marketing, and operations can continue doing what they do. It’s a supportive backbone in the digital age and must be taken seriously by all.

Now is the perfect time to refocus your energy on educating key stakeholders so that your organization can fully embrace a security-first mentality that addresses vulnerabilities and provides maximum protection.


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