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10 Easy Steps To Building A Culture Of Cyber Awareness


Cyber attacks are a constant threat in today’s digital world. Phishing emails, malware downloads, and data breaches can all cripple businesses and devastate personal lives. Employee error is often the reason many threats get introduced to a business network and a lack of cyber security awareness is generally the culprit. It’s estimated that 95% of data breaches are due to human error.

But here’s the good news; these mistakes are preventable! Building a strong culture of cyber awareness in your workplace can significantly reduce the risks of cyber disaster. Think of your organisation’s cyber security as a chain. Strong links make it unbreakable, while weak links make it vulnerable. Employees are the links in this chain. By fostering a culture of cyber awareness, you turn each employee into a strong link. This makes your entire organisation more secure.

Easy Steps, Big Impact

Building a cyber awareness culture doesn’t always require complex strategies or expensive training programs. Here are some simple steps you can take to make a big difference.

1. Start with Leadership 

Security shouldn’t be an IT department issue alone. Get leadership involved! When executives champion cyber awareness, it sends a powerful message to the organisation. Leadership can show their commitment by:

  • Participating in training sessions
  • Speaking at security awareness events
  • Allocating resources for ongoing initiatives

2. Make Security Awareness Fun, Not Fearful

Cyber security training doesn’t have to be dry and boring. Use engaging videos, gamified quizzes, and real-life scenarios. These keep employees interested and learning. Think of interactive modules. Ones where employees choose their path through a simulated phishing attack. Or short, animated videos. Videos that explain complex security concepts in a clear and relatable way.

3. Speak Their Language

Cyber security terms can be confusing. Communicate in plain language, avoiding technical jargon. Focus on practical advice employees can use in their everyday work. Avoiding using tech jargon like “implement multi-factor authentication” for example. Instead, explain that staff can add an extra layer of security when logging in by using a code texted to their phone.

4. Keep it Short and Sweet

Don’t overwhelm people with lengthy training sessions. Opt for bite-sized training modules that are easy to digest and remember. Use microlearning approaches delivered in short bursts throughout the workday. These are a great way to keep employees engaged and reinforce key security concepts.

5. Conduct Phishing Drills

Regular phishing drills test employee awareness and preparedness. Send simulated phishing emails throughout the company and track who clicks. Use the results to educate employees on red flags and reporting suspicious messages.
But don’t stop there! After a phishing drill, take the opportunity to dissect the email with employees. Highlight the telltale signs that helped identify it as a fake.

6. Make Reporting Easy and Encouraged

Employees need to feel comfortable reporting suspicious activity without fear of blame. Create a safe reporting system and acknowledge reports promptly. You can do this through:

  • A dedicated email address
  • An anonymous reporting hotline
  • A designated security champion employees can approach directly

7. Security Champions: Empower Your Employees

Identify enthusiastic employees who can become “security champions.” These champions can answer questions from peers as well as promote best practices through internal communication channels. This keeps security awareness top of mind. Security champions can be a valuable resource for their colleagues. They foster a sense of shared responsibility for cyber security within the organisation.

8. Beyond Work: Security Spills Over

Cyber security isn’t just a work thing. Educate employees on how to protect themselves at home too. Share tips on strong passwords, secure Wi-Fi connections, and avoiding public hotspots. Employees who practise good security habits at home are more likely to do so in the workplace.

9. Celebrate Success

Recognise and celebrate employee achievements in cyber awareness. Did someone report a suspicious email? Did a team achieve a low click-through rate on a phishing drill? Publicly acknowledge their contributions to keep motivation high. Recognition can be a powerful tool. It helps reinforce positive behaviour and encourages continued vigilance.

10. Leverage Technology

Technology can be a powerful tool for building a cyber-aware culture. Use online training platforms that deliver microlearning modules and track employee progress. You can schedule automated phishing simulations regularly to keep employees on their toes. Tools that bolster employee security include:

  • Password managers
  • Email filtering for spam and phishing
  • Automated rules, such as Microsoft’s Sensitivity Labels
  • DNS filtering

The Bottom Line: Everyone Plays a Role

Building a culture of cyber awareness is an ongoing process. Repetition is key! Regularly revisit these steps. Keep the conversation going. Make security awareness a natural part of your organisation’s DNA.

Cyber security is a shared responsibility. By fostering a culture of cyber awareness your business benefits. You equip everyone in your organisation with the knowledge and tools to stay safe online. Empowered employees become your strongest defence against cyber threats.

ITM Tech

At ITM Tech, we prioritise proactive cyber security measures to safeguard the digital assets of Irish businesses against evolving threats. If you think you need help from the experts, don’t wait until it’s too late—contact us at 045 409984 or email info@itmtech.ie to learn more about how we can help your organisation.