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Be Cyber Safe – Could Culture be the magic key?

Culture is key to being cyber safe
18iT News / Cyber Security

Be Cyber Safe – Could Culture be the magic key?

October is cyber awareness month, lets help get you cyber safe.

Cyber Awareness month, got me thinking, we should be addressing this topic more than just once a year.

For most of us, the Cyber subject matter is deemed a bit of a dark art, shrouded in mystery and often looked at as complex, time-consuming and expensive. It does not actually have to be this way. What if we were able to address things in a different way. A way that is inclusive and empowering.

Traditionally we are addressing these cyber attacks as a business issue often between Monday to Friday 0900 to 1700hrs being cyber safe.

Is this the only time we are at risk?

No. The truth of the matter is that we are at risk all the time, and not just at work. We are at risk a home as well. Using our computers to buy items, conduct internet banking, pay bills, log into accounts and portals.

This is why I believe we need to make changes in our culture to address the cyber risks. These should be looked at as “Life Skills” which we can and should use at home as well as in our working lives. Being cyber safe should be something we aim for across the board not just in the workplace.

I’m going to shift gears here and bring sports into the fold, to illustrate a point about how having the right culture can really change the game.

Culture is so important in sports. We hear it all the time about the big superstars joining the clubs and quickly settling into the culture.

What does that mean? – Let’s think about it for a second. They need to understand the processes of the new team, the “plays” that the new team has, the style of play for the team is different as well as the skills and personal around them.

In 2017 the All Blacks held a lifetime winning percentage of 77% – the highest of any professional sports team in the world.

  • How do they do this against larger countries with more resources and people?
  • How do they sustain this elite level of success?

Team culture is the Superpower that makes it all possible.

This is illustrated again in the following quote from All Black Rugby star Dan Carter.

“No one in New Zealand likes a big head. In the All-Blacks environment, there’s no room for it, and if there’s ever signs of it happening, you’ll soon be brought back down to earth. “

“From the very start, you learn humility. There are those structures in place, like the fact that we always leave the changing room as clean as it was when we walked in. So, you will often see the likes of Richie McCaw and the coach Steve Hansen sweeping the shed”

Dan Carter – All Black

For those not into rugby, Richie McCaw is another All Black legend, who cannot walk to the shops without being mopped for his autograph or a photo. Steve Hanson was the head coach for the All Blacks. Here you have two strong leaders who are leading by example of the cultures instilled within the team. They are living these values, Showing that no one person is bigger than the team. We all pitch in and get the results.

Culture Change

So moving back to the business side now, What does culture change look like for a business?

I was able to take part in a forward-thinking webinar recently where a company was able courageous enough to share its own experiences of a cyber attack in the efforts that it would prevent other businesses from falling foul, helping them to be cyber safe.

  • A company employee was overworked and working at various times over evenings and weekends.
  • This senior-level employee was working on a personal home computer.
  • The company suffered a breach through an unpatched home device that was being used to VPN into the office servers for official work purposes.

The company naturally updated and made changes to the technical aspects here, but the next steps below is where the magic happened, as they set about changing the culture so that they lowered the risk as far as possible.

  • They have a bi-monthly meeting at the board level. Made up of employees in a staff council format.
  • They now have a place to discuss and review reports, stats and questions from staff
  • A real positive that has come out of a difficult and troubling time for the company
  • The stuff of nightmares was how it was described.

There is a brilliant article out on the NCSC’s website – NCSC’s cyber security training for staff now available – NCSC.GOV.UK take a look at some of the steps you can do to start training staff.

Want to go deeper into the options and solutions?

We have a section on our website which starts to showcase some of the other aspects that we can bring to the table for you to help address some of these cyber threats and risks you face. Stopping Cyber Attacks Data Breaches in their Tracks – 18iT

Take-home points.

  1. There is no magic solution that will solve your challenges overnight
  2. Getting the culture right is a big step in the right direction
  3. Humans will look around and copy others if they don’t know what to do
  4. Create an inclusive culture and empower your staff
  5. Leaders should be leading by example and living the company values, Pitching in and getting involved
  6. No one wants to read a large PDF document and tick boxes. Make it interactive and people will remember more content.
18iT can help businesses with any aspect of this journey. Please do reach out to me –  and let’s use this culture key to really unlock things in your business. Making your data and that of your clients and suppliers a harder target.

Please note that is also important to know that there are not any 100% solutions that will stop all attacks. We can reduce and manage the risk thereby making you a harder target.