Cybersecurity is the name of the game for today’s businesses. Fail to establish a security-first culture, and you might be out of business faster than you know it. The National Cyber Security Alliance reports that 60% of small and midsize businesses that face a severe cyberattack go out of business within six months.
At NordPass, we firmly believe that good habits are the foundation of cybersecurity. We’re talking about the small and seemingly insignificant habits such as forgetting to look out for grammar errors in email messages. However, it is these small details that create the larger security picture. We regularly host awareness and training sessions to foster such habits and assess potential risks and vulnerabilities to understand where we can further improve. Today, we’re exploring effective practices you can apply in your organization to cultivate a security-first culture.
The importance of a security-first culture
People remain the weakest link in business security. The Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) revealed that 82% of breaches still involve the human element and that about 80% of hacking-related incidents entail weak, reused, or stolen passwords. Accenture reports that, while an understanding of where the risk lies exists among staff and leaders, the approach to combat those risks often falls short. With costs of data breaches skyrocketing, it is now more important than ever to have a team that is on the same page cybersecurity-wise.
Here are six simple yet effective things we do at NordPass to foster a security-first mindset within the organization. See if you can use any of these at your company.
Security awareness and risk training
At NordPass, we focus on educating all new employees about the importance of cybersecurity as soon as they join the team, which helps them foster good habits right from the beginning. The training phase consists of three separate categories:
Physical security entails educating new staff on the physical aspect of security, raising awareness about potential trespassing events and how that could affect the company, and ensuring that everyone understands why it is crucial to always lock their workstation or laptop whenever they leave their desk. Some organizations even opt for tests where strangers dressed in uniforms deliberately try to enter the physical premises and see whether any employees will react. It may seem like a very basic approach, but it is all about mastering the fundamentals.
Information security includes training sessions in which the staff learns proper security practices with regard to passwords, mobile devices, remote access, or anything else that entails digital information. The sessions include explaining what cyber threats are the most prominent and teaching ways to mitigate them.
Risk awareness is all about risk management and providing resources and pathways to report potential risks promptly. For instance, at NordPass, we have dedicated channels the staff can use to report suspicious activity and get immediate help from our risk team. The dedicated channels are open and transparent, meaning no issue is treated as a secret, allowing us to identify and act quickly on cybersecurity issues.
Internal phishing training
Phishing is the most widely used method that cybercriminals use to attack organizations of all sizes and industries. A recent report notes that 83% of organizations worldwide experienced at least one successful email-based phishing attack in 2021. Practical employee phishing training is key to cultivating a security-first company culture.
At NordPass, we believe that experience is the best teacher. Our security team runs phishing simulation training, where they stage phishing attacks on the entire staff. These carefully managed attacks allow our security team to understand the whole company’s security posture better. And for employees, seeing the results of such a simulation can be an eye-opening experience. Usually, this helps them to have a better sense of what a phishing attack looks like in the wild.
Secure development training
Securely developed code does not have to be a complex affair. At NordPass, we have achieved this by integrating secure development training, which has dramatically improved the organization's overall security posture.
The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a nonprofit foundation that works on improving software security and is a great starting point for secure development training. It offers educational and practical training, methodologies, and other approaches toward secure development for developers and technologists.
Once team members learn and practice secure coding, they're more likely to remember the fundamentals. In the long run, establishing a robust and secure code development approach in your team will grow into good coding habits throughout the company.
Everyday tools that boost security
Cybersecurity tools are a must-have for all businesses. At NordPass, all employees are equipped with a variety of the necessary security tools. The list includes NordVPN Teams, the NordPass password manager, and NordLocker for file access and management. These tools greatly help cultivate security-first habits among the team.
But before you equip your team with such tools, take the time to learn which ones are necessary for your business. In today’s internet-based environment, most companies can make use of a password manager, a VPN, and a secure file management system to mitigate the most common threat vectors.
Device security: mobile device management
Mobile device management (MDM) has become an increasingly important part of any business's security and compliance strategy. While mobile devices help increase efficiency and flexibility, many devices can be a cybersecurity risk. At NordPass, we manage mobile devices using a cloud-based MDM solution.
The number of devices and how your team uses those devices set the requirements for an MDM solution. Unfortunately, no single solution fits every organization. Before you choose one, carefully evaluate the specific needs of your company. Once you implement an MDM solution, the security team will have a clear picture of all the devices used in the company and their security state.
Establishing a security-first company culture is challenging, but it is critical for any organization that looks to succeed in today’s business environment.
You can successfully establish a security-first culture in several ways, but it all depends on your organization's specific needs and requirements. However, improved security starts with good habits, and fostering such habits is the organization's responsibility.
The outlined ways to promote a security-first culture in this blog post are great starting points for any organization, regardless of size or industry, but the key is continuity.
Once the entire organization is on the same page, the security will be more of a natural approach within the company.
If you are looking for a password management solution, schedule a demo call with our representative to see if NordPass is the right fit for your company.