It’s no secret that cyber security is a critical issue for businesses of all sizes. However, running a successful cyber security awareness campaign can be tricky. This blog post will discuss some tips for running a successful awareness campaign and some common mistakes to avoid.
What is a Cyber Security Awareness Campaign?
A cyber security awareness campaign is a concerted effort to educate employees on the importance of practicing good cyber hygiene and staying safe online. Most businesses take part in some sort of awareness campaign, often with the help of outside experts, such as infosec professionals.
While there are many benefits to running a successful cyber security awareness campaign, certain mistakes can put the entire program at risk. Common mistakes that companies make include the following:
- Failing to get buy-in from leadership;
- Not providing employees with enough opportunity to practice good cyber hygiene;
- Keeping the program too secret (or too public);
- Not holding employees accountable for their actions;
- Focusing too much on the negative consequences of failure instead of the positive consequences of success;
- Trying to do too much in too short a time frame.
How Do You Run a Successful Awareness Campaign?
While it’s certainly possible to create your own cyber security awareness campaign, there are many benefits to getting external help. Working with an expert can not only reduce the risk of mistakes but can also provide true insights on what works and what doesn’t work in the world of cyber security.
Here are some tips for running a successful campaign:
1. Get Leadership on Board
Leadership buy-in is critical for any type of corporate initiative, including cyber security awareness campaigns. Without leadership support, employees won’t take the program seriously and may even feel resentful about taking part in it. As previously mentioned, infosec professionals or other experts can play a significant role in helping to get your leadership team on board with the program.
2. Focus on Bad Employees, Not Bad Security
While it’s easy to focus all of the attention on the negative consequences that can come along with cyber security breaches, this approach can backfire. Instead, employees should be encouraged to take pride in doing a good job and staying safe online. Then, demonstrate how good practices not only protect businesses from cybercrime but also allow users to feel better about using technology.
3. Be Creative
To drive home your points about cyber security, you’ll need to come up with unique ways to engage different groups. For example, infographics effectively present data in an interesting format that encourages users to read them rather than just looking at pictures or graphs.
4. Make Cyber Security a Habit
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is not giving employees enough opportunity to practice good cyber hygiene. Without regular opportunities for employees to get into a rhythm of practicing good habits, your campaign will eventually fail. So, instead of holding multiple infosec awareness sessions, create a series of smaller activities throughout the year that allow employees to get used to doing things right from the start. In addition, you must provide enough time between activities so that minds can rest and reflect before moving on. In short – you want employees to have plenty of time to think about their actions before being tested again.
5. Be Transparent
While cyber security awareness campaigns can serve as training, businesses should make their efforts public and transparent. Whether writing educational blogs or responding to social media comments, sharing information helps improve your reputation. It also gives employees a chance to learn from each other. In addition, having an open dialogue about good practices builds trust within the corporate community and can be shared with customers who may be concerned about cybersecurity.
6. Do Not Punish Bad Behaviour
Demonstrate to employees how security is a shared responsibility and make them feel valued for their contributions. If you notice poor behavior, don’t ignore it; instead, give employees the chance to correct their mistakes by offering guidance or coaching. There’s no need to punish bad behavior.
7. Be Consistent
Just like your efforts must be transparent, they should also be consistent within your organization. Without consistency throughout all levels of management, infosec awareness campaigns will not be effective at improving cyber hygiene habits. For example, leaders should work with IT managers and other employees to create a comprehensive strategy. This effort should focus on condensing the important information that employees need to know into a manageable set of habits that can be integrated into their daily activities. Once a policy is in place, all management levels must adopt and enforce it as part of their existing responsibilities.
8. Track Progress to See What’s Working
One of the biggest challenges with cyber security awareness campaigns is measuring their effectiveness. If you don’t have a clear idea of how things are going, you can’t adjust your approach quickly to make it work better. Start tracking data from the beginning so that you’ll be able to measure which activities were effective and why. It’s okay if you’re not 100% accurate at first; as long as you’re constantly learning from your efforts, your next attempts will yield more positive results. You should be making adjustments frequently based on what works and what doesn’t. This will help ensure that users receive a steady dose of cyber security education.
9. Don’t Let Your Guard Down
To maintain effective cyber security awareness, you need to incorporate these efforts into your regular activities. Employees must be reminded about the industry’s latest developments, how it affects their work, and ways to better protect themselves online. Companies also need to educate users about new methods that attackers may use because they’re always coming up with new tricks. This means that employees should never feel like they’ve become too familiar with proper cyber hygiene practices. If you want the message about good habits to stick, then you’ll need to keep reinforcing them regularly. You can do this for instance by regular cyber security training, internal notes and cyber security posters in the office.
The ability to stay up-to-date on the latest cyber security programs while maintaining good cyber hygiene habits can feel like an uphill battle for many employees. However, if companies make these efforts a priority and follow the steps outlined above, they’ll be able to keep their organizations safe from attacks. At the heart of a training program is a solid understanding of your employees and what they need to know about infosec awareness. Find out more information on cyber security awareness by checking out our cyber security awareness training.