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February 18, 2021

The 4-Step Guide to Cybersecurity Human Risk Management

If you’re tired of harassing your team to care about your security initiative, we’ve got good news: you no longer have to!

Instead, you can spark lasting behavioral change by taking a more human approach to risk management. Human risk management is about creating a culture of psychological security within and outside of your organization—one that trusts your team has your security’s best interest in mind. 

If you’re sweating at the idea of trusting them with your security now, don’t worry! By moving beyond a tactics-based risk approach to one focused on building autonomy and education, you’ll soon turn your team into your greatest assets.

Here are four steps to get you there!

1. Identify Your Security Champions, Both Inside and Out

A traditional cybersecurity approach would say to start by identifying all your internal threat actors— or to point fingers at teams within your organization that could compromise your security— and focus your training there. Not surprisingly, this blame-based approach rarely works. While it is important to segment your departments and understand the role they play in your cyber protection, the better route is to position your teams as advocates of your security. 

In order to do that, you must not only identify your departments’ key players, but you must also understand the motives and goals that matter to them. This way, you can understand how to individually spark interest in your security. For instance, the way you get buy-in from your human resources team will be drastically different from finance or executive management.

Don’t forget to identify your external players too, like your customers, partners, regulators and government agencies. It’s crucial to understand the security risks of each and what support you’ll need to target them with proper awareness training.

Need help creating a positive culture around cybersecurity? Read more about a better approach to human risk management here.

2. Define Behaviors to Change & Processes

After you identify your security champions both inside and outside of your organization, it’s time to start looking at the different risks they all face. If you ran a penetration test, this is a great time to look at those results and see which departments or groups are affected by each risk factor.

After analyzing your risks, you’ll need to break your security goals down into clear actions or behavioral changes that’ll help reduce your company’s risks. List specific behaviors for each team, but be sure to chat with team leads and management about what behaviors you’re hoping to modify before settling on the right solution to uncover pain points you may have missed. 

For example, if you want to roll out a password management system, decide which teams will start the process. Next, decide what percentage of your employees need to be fully navigated by a certain date. By getting granular, you can make sure your initiatives have direct action items and goals.

3. Roll Out the Security Initiative

After understanding how each group contributes to your security culture and creating a plan of action, it’s time to seek the tools and assistance you’ll need to make your big changes happen! This means choosing a trusted cybersecurity awareness training partner or organizing a program yourself, plus getting additional resources for rolling out the lessons and training. 

Remember that at this point, the most important part is how you position your new initiatives to your target audiences. Instead of inducing fear or guilting teams into participating in your security improvements, create a culture where teams feel strengthened, supported, encouraged and motivated. Without this crucial buy-in, all your hard work could be for nothing!

Plan a better security initiative by taking a more human-approach to your roll-out. Download Forrester’s 2021 report to learn how.

4. Measure and Continuously Improve Your Security Program

How do you know how successful your security program is if you aren’t tracking its progress? Put key performance indicators and metrics behind each departments’ micro goals so you can see where improvements are being made and understand areas that may need more attention. With the right reporting and accountability, you can take ownership for your collective strides and reward groups for their positive impact on your security as well!

Having trouble identifying relevant and meaningful metrics to track? Consider measuring your increase in invitations to business meetings, reduction in fake-phishing fails, awareness training test results and other metrics that relate directly to your campaign.

As you see changes take place, you’ll have the insight you need to scale back on certain initiatives and redirect your attention to closing other higher priority security gaps! 

Don’t Manage Your Initiative Alone

Human risk management is a huge responsibility for one person or a small security team to handle. 

Luckily, with the right partnership, you won’t have to manage your security initiative alone. 

Program owners everywhere are grateful for the helpful resources inside our Campaign in a Box package, which includes instant messages, emails, and other pieces of content to roll-out monthly security awareness updates without the stress. Explore our neatly bundled security initiative resources, today.


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