Cyber security is a very real threat. What can you do to raise awareness in your workplace?

They do say that science fiction is a guide to the future. The imagination of Jules Verne, HG Wells and Arthur C. Clarke created a whole host of technological inventions we now take for granted. But, for many of those who hid behind the sofa when the Dr Who theme music played, there is a more ominous invention, that poses a real threat today, ‘Cybermen’!

Since 1966, the famed BBC Time Lord has been trying to warn us about the need for cyber security. Now in fairness, we don’t seem as yet to be facing the menacing creatures as envisaged by the programme makers, but cyber-criminals are real and very likely, mostly men. They may not look like their tv counterparts, but there is a real urgency to raise awareness of cyber-crime.

Organisations both large and small are being forced to consider their approach to Cyber Security. The risks, both financially and reputationally of being the victim of a cyber attack are simply too high to ignore. 

Even with the risks and impacts fully understood, employees are often not seeing their role in protecting the organisation against such risks. Much like safety, cyber awareness needs to be adopted as a cultural shift. Aiming to create the same attitude about walking down the stairs without holding the handrail to using a personal USB drive. 

If there is a need in your organisation to educate large numbers of people as to their role in protecting the business, then a recent experience of ours might provide you with some insight into how that can be achieved. 

We have been working with a client to help them bring Cyber Awareness to life. Although only at the beginning of this journey, this initial group were critical as they are leaders in the manufacturing part of the organisation so the first line of defence when it comes to keeping operations moving.

Move away from the technical

It is likely that only a handful of people care, or even understand the joys of anti-virus protection, firewalls and cloud-based monitoring. Focus on what they will care about – that the right people are looking after the right things and their role is to not add any other risks into the system.

Focus on the behavioural

Even with the best technology in the world, humans are still the biggest threat and the best protection. Use everyday examples to illustrate their role. Clicking links in suspicious emails, not checking payment details in person or leaving laptops in cars. Most people will have done all of these things without thinking about it so examples like this will make it all the more real.

Make it engaging

You would expect us to say this but there is so much scope to make this topic more fun and capture attention – Super Hero’s, Villain’s, Characters to explain the key risks, all lend themselves to being part of a cyber awareness campaign.

Reflect back on the successes of building a safety culture

Many organisations now have safety so well embedded in their culture that it is easy to forget how that happened. What worked in that case and how can the same principles be applied to cyber?

Make it personal

Like safety, there are impacts for people on their personal lives when it comes to being cybersafe. How can your organisation provide tools, information and advice which will help people both at work and at home? Kits to support conversation with children? Advice on anti-virus protection for home computers? All of this helps to provide valuable advice for people whilst achieving the goals of the organisation.

So, while for some of us, the anticipation of the new Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker, taking on the Cybermen is fraught with childhood nightmares, we would all be better off focusing on the real cyber criminals, who are far from fiction and waging war on our planet right now.

If you’d like to know more about how Purple Monster can help bring your cyber-security messages to life then get in touch with Danielle on danielle@purplemonster.co.uk.

In the meantime, those of you with too much time on your hands can answer this quiz question:

Which Monster team member appeared in Doctor Who? Answers on a cyber-postcard to info@purplemonster.co.uk.



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