Beyond IT: How to Create an Organization-wide Cybersecurity Culture

Posted by Laurie Okawa-Moore
on "April 02, 2019 8:53 am"

Use awareness and training to make cybersecurity part of your culture.
By Carlos Molina, CUNA Mutual Group Risk Management Consultant

Employees may unintentionally cause data breaches by clicking on a phishing email or inadvertently downloading a malicious document or access a link on their work computer that allows hackers access to your system. Faced with such challenges, credit unions must make cybersecurity part of the company culture. Consider these four essential components of a good employee-related cybersecurity plan:

Awareness
To help companies safeguard data, employees must first know what the threats are. First, help them understand data classification and the difference between public and confidential data. Then, from phishing emails to malware to social engineering, teach employees about the tools of cybercriminals’ trade. Communicate your cybersecurity efforts and encourage managers to reinforce cyber threats in their interactions with employees.

Checklists and “cheat sheets” may also help them understand the steps they can take to safeguard the organization from cybercriminals. CUNA Mutual Group’s Protection Resource Center has a variety of cyber risk and security resources available at cunamutual.com/prc (User ID/password required).

Training
Surprisingly, just 68% of organizations provide data protection awareness and training programs for employees [PDF]. This can be an invaluable tool in helping employees adopt better cybersecurity practices. Once employees have a foundational understanding of the threats, create situational or behavior-based training that improves their cyber-awareness.

Highlight scenarios that should be red flags, such as what to do if they receive an email message that invites them to click on a link. Behavior-based training can be as simple as teaching employees whom to contact to find out how to secure a new device in a “bring your own device” (BYOD) network environment.

Accountability
In addition to making cybersecurity training part of the onboarding process, include continuous cybersecurity-related activities even in performance evaluations. Performance reviews often are tied to bonus and compensation, so incorporating cybersecurity data or observed behaviors as a benchmark may compel employees to abide by the company’s best practices.

Vendors
Third-party vendors are a critical part of your team, but they also pose their own risks. In fact, 59% of organizations report having had a data breach caused by a vendor. Verify that organizations with which you do business have the same threshold of cybersecurity as your credit union.

To learn more about how you can mitigate your cybersecurity risks, see our new infographic and sign up for our 3-email educational series today.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is a risk management consultant at CUNA Mutual Group.