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How to make information security an integral part of your company culture

As news stories about the danger and destruction of data breaches appear more frequently, awareness of information security and security threats have grown. While the average person now likely has a basic understanding of the value of data security, that does not mean organizations have followed suit.

Security awareness alone will not protect your organization from data breaches and threats. Executives must actively cultivate a culture that values security. Being explicit about what is expected and creating clear and documented policies is a good start. Do employees know what to do when faced with a suspicious email? Are they having to make choices about which documents to shred and which to put in the trash?  Do they know what security threats look like and what the process is to report them?  If a leadership team does not arm their employees with the information and resources they need to keep their data safe, the security culture will suffer.

That said, there are simple, engaging ways to integrate security into an organization’s culture. By creating clear and concise policies and procedures, training staff regularly and having an ongoing review process in place a culture of security becomes much more attainable.

Get all leaders involved.

In general, change starts at the top. Your organization’s leaders need to understand why your security culture must be strong.  Your IT team should meet with your leadership to report on data security issues and weaknesses and explain why solving these issues is valuable to the organization.

Once executives commit to an improved security culture, all managers should be invested in following the path. Managers are the example for everyone else and set the tone for following proper security procedures. When leadership is unified and dedicated to protecting and securing data, the rest of the employees will be too.

Make security a team effort.

It may seem easy to give all the data protection responsibilities to the IT team, but without everyone’s involvement, you are left with big vulnerabilities. Explain to your team that security is a shared responsibility, and everyone has a stake in protecting the organization. Give everyone ownership over securing confidential information through clear and concise policies and watch your security culture strengthen.

In order to empower team members to take responsibility for data protection, integrate security into every level of your organization. From your mission and vision to each individual department, security should be included to make its impact over every aspect of the company clear.

Make education fun.

If your team members associate data protection with boring training seminars, they won’t necessarily be “fired up” to create a secure culture. But teaching your team about security can—and should—be engaging. Make your training a regular event worth looking forward to with interactive games or quizzes to encourage active participation.

You can give your security training events different themes and build activities around them. Kick off an event by debunking hacker movies or breaking into groups to see who can write the most ridiculous phishing email. When your team is excited about security, they will be far more likely to remember what they learn as well as incorporate it into their daily activities.

Have a data destruction process.

As your organization tackles new projects, old data becomes unnecessary—but that doesn’t mean it has no value. Your old data can be taken and used against you. When its time to discard data or technology, have a clear and set process for safely destroying it. No one at your organization should be confused about how to get rid of unneeded data.

Data Shield has secure information destruction and technology recycling services that can fit right into your security processes. Contact us to learn more about how we can make your whole organization safer.


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