According to the Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report 2019 – comprising stats from 5,400 small, medium and large businesses across Europe and America – 61% experienced a cyber incident in the past year. That’s up from 45% in 2018.
Amidst rising cyber threats, could your people be your best line of defence in the fight against future cyber incidents? In this article, we argue a resounding yes!.
There’s an ‘old school’ assumption in the IT world that people are the weakest link in any organisation’s cyber defences. Not only is this unfair (as Ciaran Martin, CEO of the National Cyber Security Centre puts it, ‘It’s a bit like saying the weakest link in a sports team is all the players’), it could be downright damaging.
This negative, blame-oriented language has no place in the modern cyber security sector. It puts distance between us and the organisations we serve, at a time when we should be building trust. It portrays people as a liability, at a time when we need them to feel empowered. It erects barriers, at a time when cyber security must be seamless.
To put it another way, staff need to feel comfortable reporting phishing attempts, data breaches and security holes. They won’t do that if they’re made to feel like a liability. Hence, the old ‘people are the weakest link’ line has got to go. It’s time we saw people for what they really are – a valuable cyber security asset.
If people are to be a true cybersecurity asset, security policies and controls must be designed with human factors in mind. Or, as Martin says, ‘Every solution must survive contact with the user.’ This means people should be able to do their work effectively as well as safely. What’s more, it’s essential that leaders at all levels follow the same security policies their staff are expected to follow.
Perhaps even more importantly, people must be trained to identify possible security issues, and feel comfortable asking cybersecurity questions, without being made to feel like a liability.
Train your people well, help them understand their role in being the strongest line of defence, and they’ll be your best cybersecurity asset. That’s what we believe at The RANt Group. Discover more about our people-oriented approach to cyber security.