According to the Information Systems and Control Association (ISACA), security culture is defined as:
"a pattern of behaviors, beliefs, assumptions, attitudes, and ways of doing things around the information security within an organization."
It impacts an organization’s knowledge base and perspective about the way they make decisions on everything:
- Your BYOD (bring your own device) policy
- Your patch policy
- Your hiring policy for the IT department
- Your purchasing policy for updating systems and technology
What does your security policy say about you?
The real purpose of creating a security culture
Why should you concern yourself with increasing security culture in your practice? Common sense says it’s to make technology more secure. But there’s more to it than that.
We need security to lower vulnerabilities and decrease risk. You’ve invested a lot into building a practice; you don’t want it all to disappear because of one weak link. A strong security culture defines the approach to solving problems and closing the door to the weakest link.
What is that weakest link? Humans. Technology does precisely what it’s programmed to do. People, however, have their own agenda and change their approach to using technology all the time. Even the most seasoned security officer can have a bad day, click the wrong link, and open up a can of worms.
How to shift mindsets
Because security culture is all about people, the first step is changing mindsets. This includes everyone in the organization, from the top on down.
If you want to make any cultural change, it’s more than holding a meeting and issuing new guidelines. It has to be a multifaceted effort that takes into account every aspect of the change.
It means setting policies and getting all management on board. It means creating a shared belief system and leading by example. It means creating a sense of ownership on all levels, empowering everyone to do their best at creating a secure environment.
Security awareness is probably the most tedious part of any organization. For most, it’s a matter of tacking a poster to the common area walls, and having people watch dull videos as a part of the process. No wonder people stay in the dark about where vulnerabilities truly lie.
Awareness should be a more entertaining process. It should be ongoing rather than one-time events. They should be used as teaching moments rather than looking for people who break the rules. Don’t hide this process under the rug. Make it something every staff member takes ownership of and is excited to participate in.
Can you do this all on your own? Probably not.
That’s why it’s essential to hire a team that can help you create a security culture that’s an integral part of your practice.