Creating Secure Company Culture and Preventing Human Error: Why Security Awareness Training Isn't Enough


Building a secure company culture includes both increasing awareness of potential threats and actively taking steps to combat them before they occur. Although companies that value security do prioritize teaching their employees about how to recognize and manage threats, this is not enough on its own because modern security threats have grown increasingly sophisticated in recent years. Companies that value a secure culture both raise awareness of potential threats and actively take steps to keep them from happening in the first place. Here is an overview of the importance of creating a secure company culture, as well as helpful tips for increasing the security of your company.

Connections Between Human Error and Security Issues

Although it may seem as though security issues are only the fault of a faulty or nonexistent security system, the truth is that businesses of all sizes have some element of human error that contributes to security problems. Although your firewall, data loss prevention solution or other security system can go a long way toward blocking security issues from reaching your accounts or computer in the first place, the attacks that make it through generally require a person to click on a dangerous link, unintentionally give out confidential information to the wrong person, or otherwise make an error in order to successfully compromise your device or access your company's data.

For this reason, creating a company culture that consistently values vigilance surrounding potential security threats is more likely to be successful than occasionally hosting some type of security awareness training that may not be remembered in detail for very long after the meeting, course or other training.  

Connections Between Ransomware and Email

Your company's email system plays a vital role in keeping your employees connected with one another and with your customers, and keeping it as secure as possible is a must. Although scammers can use a variety of methods to attack your company, email is one of the most common sources of phishing and other types of ransomware attacks. These attackers send emails containing dangerous links, often while pretending to be a legitimate company, which are designed to gain unauthorized access to your company's financial data, medical records, insurance details, or other sensitive personal information.

While you may consider the source of ransomware emails to be the biggest problem your company has to deal with, the reality is that approximately 85 percent of data breaches involve a human element of some sort. Phishing links need to be clicked on by a person in order to be effective, and your employees can easily be taught to recognize the signs of most types of phishing attacks in order to minimize this type of human error.

Sophistication of Phishing Attacks

That being said, phishing attacks are quickly becoming more sophisticated, and these emails are becoming increasingly difficult to recognize. Although many phishing scams follow one of a handful of recognizable patterns that are becoming easier to spot, some attackers are also coming up with new methods for fooling companies. For example, phishing scams that include multiple steps, such as a fake CAPTCHA page, look more convincing and are often capable of blocking security programs. In this type of scam, entering the CAPTCHA code is a well-disguised method of disabling the user's email security system. Fortunately, many security programs are also adapting to meet the new needs of this constantly-changing type of cyberattack.

Additional Steps to Protect Your Data

Taking additional steps that go beyond building awareness is a must when it comes to securing your data in the modern world. Here are three additional steps to implement that can take your tech and data security to the next level.

Train Your Staff to Recognize Potential Security Threats

Although recent data breaches and other security issues have shown that training your staff properly is no longer enough on its own and needs to be supplemented with other solutions, it is still an important step in building a company culture that thrives on building awareness of potential problems. There are several steps you can take to keep your staff alert to potential new threats and build a company culture that prioritizes staying vigilant. These steps can include holding regular training sessions and constantly seeking out reading materials for your staff that highlight the latest information surrounding protecting company data and avoiding cybersecurity threats.

Increase Accountability

Making sure your company's leadership and employees know exactly what they are supposed to be doing to protect against potential security threats on every level is a must when it comes to creating a culture that is capable of running every level of your security plans efficiently. However, simply knowing what steps should be taken is not enough because employees of companies that do not prioritize having a secure culture do not always stick to their plans.

Employees may unintentionally miss steps if they are not clear on what they are supposed to be doing or intentionally cut corners if they know there is little to no accountability within the company. If you have not already done so, now is the time to implement accountability standards to ensure everyone at your company understands the importance of working securely at all times. Simply knowing what potential threats exist and what should be done to prevent them is not enough...making sure your employees are actively doing their part is essential.  

Invest in Data Loss Prevention Software

Although keeping your employees on top of the latest security measures is a must, it is also a good idea to take additional steps beyond company training to protect your data. A secure cloud is an important step in helping both large and small companies protect their data from a wide variety of potential threats, although it still needs to be monitored regularly to make sure it is doing its job. Adding solutions like Zix Email Encryption, which includes a quaratine feaure to prevent unintentional data loss, is a simple step you can take to add an extra layer of security to any large or small company.

At Zix, we are here to help businesses of any size find and implement new methods of dealing with potential cybersecurity threats. Although the sophistication of these threats is higher than ever in 2021, striving to build a secure company culture that values actively taking steps to prevent cybersecurity problems before they occur can go a long way toward keeping your company's confidential data out of the wrong hands. Contact us today to learn more about our cybersecurity programs that are available to your business or to get started!