Enterprise organizations and government agencies worldwide are focused on strengthening their computer networks against the risk of a cyberattack. However, a cybersecurity program is only as strong as its weakest link – and that link is often an employee.

Yes, employees remain the biggest cybersecurity threat today. So, in addition to putting the right security controls and tools in place, your Information Security team needs to create a more risk-aware culture. To do this, they need to build internal awareness of the importance of risk management, as well as drive participation across the entire organization.

Here are some key steps to creating a more risk-aware culture:

Build a Dedicated Risk Intranet Site

Your company’s private network – its intranet – is a hub for every aspect of internal communication, from sharing documents to company updates to project notes and more. The “homepage” section of an intranet increases the visibility of information and important notices – including those relating to the organization’s security policies, processes, and programs.

Creating a dedicated governance, risk management, and compliance program (GRC) section that links directly to the intranet homepage will provide all employees with easy access to your security policies and training programs, while also providing your Infosec team with direct access to a Security Content Library that outlines the various standards and regulations relevant to your organization.

In addition, you can build an online Risk Resource Center where they can learn about the latest cybersecurity threats, as well as how to avoid them. You should also link key documents in your GRC section on the site to other intranet pages – for example, an online Company Policies and Forms repository.

Offer Comprehensive Training

Studies have shown that the majority of digital attacks on an organization are caused by human errors, which reinforces the need for continuous employee education on cybersecurity. This means no organization can afford to overlook the value of training its employees on the threats and best practices to counter cybersecurity.

Enterprise-wide security awareness training is a “must have” for all employees, as it provides them with awareness of the wide range of potential vulnerabilities and threats to the entire organization.

You should also consider creating job-specific training resources to supplement this type of program, to help individual employees better understand their responsibilities, accountabilities, and role-specific risks when using a computer on a business network. For example, someone in the finance department will have different levels of system access (and corresponding vulnerabilities) compared to a marketing person.

You should work with your HR team to incorporate security awareness training for all new hires, as well as create regularly scheduled refresher training courses. This will help eliminate risky behaviors while reinforcing company-wide best practices.

Obtain and Maintain Executive Buy-in

Getting your leadership team to understand why cybersecurity is important, and how their support is critical to success, is a foundation for building a scalable cyber risk management program.

In the past, achieving – and maintaining – this level of buy-in has been a challenge, as many executives prefer to believe an attack won’t happen to their organization. However, the steadily increasing number of cyberattacks on enterprises and government agencies – and the news headlines they make – is helping to change this situation.

An increasing number of customers and supply chain partners now expect you to incorporate cybersecurity and data privacy into your operations. So, if you can communicate to your executive team how a risk management program can enable your company to comply with these third-party requests – and subsequently help drive revenue – it’s likely they will listen.

Also, leveraging a modern GRC platform that provides executive-level insights and analysis (e.g., benchmark reports, peer group comparisons, and historical trends) will help reinforce the importance of a cyber risk program.

To learn more about ways you can create a more risk-aware culture for your organization, check out our latest webinar: Cyber Risk: Stay Ahead of Evolving Threats with Proactive Collaboration.

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