Create a cyber security culture (CSC) from the start

Many organizations are being exposed to cyber risks every day, and their unpreparedness to deal with these digital threats has brought the need for practical and Implementable security practices to the forefront. 

Security is no longer a privilege but a necessity and most firms recognize this already. Creating and nurturing a security-first mindset might not be an easy task that will occur overnight or even in a week, but it is a reliable approach in the long run.

However, nurturing a security mindset is not just confined to the method of creating cybersecurity awareness. It also includes initiating a work environment where your organization actively seeks to maintain data security.

In simpler terms, a security-first mindset is not just about protecting your firm from the prospect of data breaches or other types of data security issues – but also includes recognizing the current relationship with data and valuing your integrity and your users’ privacy. A lasting cyber security culture is more than a single event. 

This article will enable you to understand the elements that go into designing a cybersecurity culture from the ground up and learn the best ways to maintain it.

What is the first step toward creating a company culture for security?

Working with teams with only fairly basic cybersecurity expertise is one of the most challenging components of building an overall security mindset. However, that shouldn’t be detrimental to your organization while prioritizing security.

If your team members are struggling with understanding the facets of cyber security investment due to a lack of experience, automated application security tools, specifically vulnerability scanners and security static code analysis tools, can be introduced. These tools can provide findings upon which your engineering team can act as a part of their routine defect management.

That said, it is not unlikely to encounter a few hurdles during the process, even while using automated tools. False positive encounters are one of the few things that can overwhelm your team while establishing a security-first mindset. Hence, it would help if you could employ someone with security domain expertise to overlook the findings. 

What is a Cybersecurity training program, and how does it affect security culture? 

Before planning the elements that will be needed while designing a cyber security culture, you must identify why your organization requires it to begin with. Most organizations agree that employees are one of the most vulnerable assets in a business, and by developing a solid cybersecurity culture, they can lay the groundwork for turning their personnel into assets rather than liabilities.

But where should you start? As we mentioned before, introducing the security-first mindset to your organization, including non-security professionals, is the first step. Then comes the framework of management, which includes assigning duties of responsibility to members. 

Someone must be put in charge of supervising and managing the training program with the backing of the organization’s top leaders. Once the framework is decided, you can start designing a security program with focused attention on the following elements; 

  • Setting the right goals 
  • Measuring the organization’s degree of security awareness and interest
  • Planning action points to meet set goals
  • Setting deadlines and creating a roadmap for activities
  • Defining metrics for success

The design of the security program should be developed, keeping in mind the willingness of employees to participate in it. A fun and rewarding cyber security training program will be more approachable for most team members, especially the ones who do not have a security background. 

3 ways to customize a security-first mindset for your organization

Building a security-first mindset is undoubtedly essential in the modern world, but are organizations doing enough to equip their employees with the information and resources they need to adhere to security best practices? 

As a professional, a security mindset is an asset that aids in protecting the sensitive data of customers, like their personal information. As a customer, it provides a sense of conformity to understand that the organization has effective security practices to protect data.

The question, however, is to understand how you can create a security mindset that is true to your organization. Below we have listed three ways you can streamline the process of establishing security practices and customize the culture of your organization. 

1. Conduct customer research 

The knowledge that most customers lack trust in the firms that collect their personal information is evidence of the need for a security mindset in organizations. Modern customers demand more control of their sensitive data, with numerous data security breaches coming to light. 

Every organization caters to different customers with different needs. Hence, conducting customer research will help you design a security culture that takes into account their preferences and deliver according to them. Not only will this initiate a sense of assurance among clients, but it will also increase customer satisfaction, resulting in organizational growth.  

2. Create a cyber incident response plan

Even though most organizations have put practices into place in order to train employees on cyber security, even one slip-up can cause damage. It can provide illegal access to someone you don’t want accessing your company’s confidential data.

Customizing your organization’s security culture will enable you to tackle this in a measured way. Create a cyber incident response plan and ensure every employee, stakeholder and partner are aware of it. A cybersecurity event can have a significant negative impact on your company, but having a plan can help you minimize the losses it causes.

3. Prioritize security investments 

Security testing techniques can range from basic to complex. Still, they all aim for the same thing: to systematically examine potential threats/attacks against your systems, applications, and assets from an attacker’s perspective. Creating a security culture for your organization that takes security investments seriously will prove to be a huge help in the long run. 

There are technologically advanced tools to aid, test or improve security which can prove to be quite an asset for any organization. The cybersecurity skills gap is only getting worse as technology advances and cyberattacks rise, and in order to sustain an advantage, it is essential to find, develop, and keep cyber talent from a variety of backgrounds.

What are the best practices for a healthy cybersecurity culture?

Unlike popular belief, simply developing a cyber security culture doesn’t necessarily translate to its success. To ensure that your organization and all your members are taking a concrete step towards establishing a security-first mindset, there are specific pointers you must consider. These pointers are as follows; 

1. Start early, even if you’re not a pro.

Implementing solid security measures sooner rather than later will help your organization expand in the future. Appropriately setting up these processes will also save your team time in the long run. For instance, if you’re in the final stages of closing a deal with a big firm, and they ask you to provide security proof, then having it on the go rather than planning it from scratch will save you time and resources.

2. Codify everything

When you’re pre-product and pre-customers, it might not seem like a good idea to codify procedures on the front end. However, as you expand, you’ll discover the importance of backfilling. This strategy has both operational advantages and secondary impacts. Establishing a security mindset with such processes benefits your business through a compliance certification audit or when a team member wants to check what happened before his involvement. 

3. Establish uniform protocols throughout the organization

If your organization establishes protocols for workers to follow from the start, individual security decisions won’t be mandatory. Cyber security culture requires management and employees to speak the same language and have a shared knowledge of their company’s business and goals. That is also why a cyber security culture must be established with people rather than imposed upon them. 

4. Centralize accountability

When establishing a security-first mindset across the organization, it is essential to be on the same page throughout departments. Segregation might be a quality for work, but too much fragmentation can lead to security failure. The more complex your technology stack and the more individuals executing diverse tasks within an organization, the more difficult it is to implement organizational-wide changes. 

5. Reward your employees

Rewarding your employees, they successfully finish the mandated security awareness program is a brilliant practice. It will motivate employees to share their victories and establish a harmonious relationship among team members. Another way you can utilize the reward system to progress security is to provide opportunities for team members to move into specialized security roles. 

6. Demonstrate your security with SOC 2

Pursuing SOC 2 is a best practice recommended for every organization looking to establish a healthy security culture. SOC 2 is an industry framework that demonstrates security to prospects and clients and allows you to communicate and verify to your customers that you’ve done your due diligence and have adequate security measures in place. You may also discover that SOC 2 standards are required when closing deals with enterprises, making it a necessity. 

Using methods like penetration testing or gap analysis to assess your cyber security culture, along with holding webinars and learning workshops to educate your employees about the correct security measures, are some ways your organization can enhance the security mindset. 

Make a security investment and partner with Scrut today! 

Establishing a security culture across your organization, training your employees, and demonstrating compliance with clients can be quite challenging but not impossible, especially if you make a choice to partner with Scrut. 

Scrut is an innovative and radically simple governance, risk, and compliance automation platform for growing startups and mid-market enterprises. With Scrut, compliance teams can reduce ~70% of their manual effort in continuously maintaining compliance towards SOC 2 as well as other standards such as ISO 27001, GDPR, PCI DSS, HIPAA, and CCPA. Schedule your demo today to see how it works.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

1. What do you mean by cyber security culture? 

The term cyber security culture (CSC) in this context refers to the culture where individuals prioritize data security in their organizations and educate themselves to form opinions, values, and assumptions on cyber security. 

2. What are some of the best practices for establishing a security-first mindset? 

There are several ways your organization can establish a security mindset among the employees, but the most common of these are continuous training, rewarding employees for completing training, codifying an extra layer of security, and appointing an official with adequate knowledge of data security. 

3. Who is responsible for overseeing cyber security in an organization? 

The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is a board member who is specifically appointed by many organizations to oversee their cybersecurity management strategy.

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