How to Stay Cyber Secure - It's Not Just About Technology

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Heather Dailey 28 February 2024
How to Stay Cyber Secure - It's Not Just About Technology

Cyber threats are looming large and the stakes are higher than ever - for government organizations, there is no choice but to fortify their defences against digital menaces. The post-pandemic hybrid workplace while beneficial in many ways (such as enabling employees to be productive from anywhere and creating diverse talent pools with the appeal of flexible work) has also created endless opportunities for hackers and other cyber criminals to integrate themselves into the software of an organisation. But while robust technological solutions are essential, they’re only part of the equation - eighty-two percent of security breaches involve the human element, including social engineering attacks, errors and misuse.  

So how have governments attempted to aid the human element of cybersecurity on their side? Historically, government organisations have concentrated on tactical, episodic approaches with an ongoing stream of new policy mandates to ensure employees are made security aware – which is only one piece to the puzzle. A common denominator to this approach as well has been poor levels of engagement, carelessness and competing government priorities which have left holistic cyber security in the dust.  

The solution? In comes the implementation of security culture. More than just awareness and technological solutions, employees need complete understanding followed by appropriate action. Governments must recognize that effective enterprise-wide security requires a strategic, long-term approach, focusing more on communication and security culture. 

Buckle up and join us in discovering below how government organisations can instil cybersecurity behaviour and culture to stay powerful - and confident against the barrage of cyberwarfare. 

Leadership Communication: 

It starts with the leaders at the top. When executives prioritize cybersecurity and communicate its importance throughout the organisation, employees are more likely to take it seriously. First, clear and consistent messaging about the organisation's cybersecurity policies, expectations, and the rationale behind them will determine its initial success. Then, how effectively leaders can promote a sense of belonging and offer support related to security issues and incident reporting will ignite and unite the security culture horizontally and vertically. 

Comprehensive Training and Awareness Programs: 

Educating employees about cybersecurity risks and best practices is paramount. Government organisations should implement regular training sessions tailored to employees' roles and updated regularly to address emerging threats. Employees should also be regularly made aware of security policies as well as the unwritten rules of conduct related to security. These rules are an essential guide for employees’ behaviour to establish ideals and values, describing what is considered moral, ethical, and honourable within the organisation. 


Recognise and Reward Secure Behaviour: 

study on the role of user behaviour in cyber security found that a computer user's probability to fall victim to phishing attacks and other errors such as sharing passwords and installing updates depends greatly on their personality traits (procrastination, impulsivity, future thinking, and risk-taking behaviours). That said, if the reward for following certain cybersecurity policies and protocols is just that ‘nothing bad will happen,’ employees comply with procedures less, showing that concrete rewards should be used instead to increase security compliance. Governments should recognise employees who demonstrate exemplary cybersecurity practices, whether it's reporting a potential security incident or implementing innovative solutions to enhance security. Publicly acknowledging their contributions along with other rewards can inspire others to follow suit. 

Encourage Collaboration: 

The importance of collaboration in government has been a key theme to success across all sectors, especially recently – eliminate silos, increase communication, solve problems! It rings true when it comes to creating security culture. When leaders encourage cross-departmental collaboration, security gaps holistically will be identified. When clear channels across departments are established for reporting security incidents or suspicious activity this will ensure that employees understand the importance of timely reporting and its effects for government as a whole unit. 


Regular Security Assessments: 

We need to know how we’re doing, right? When organisations make sure to conduct regular security assessments, they can then identify weaknesses in current processes and technologies as well as gain feedback from employees on their experiences with security measures and areas for improvement. Cybersecurity assessments will determine where the government organisation is with regards to their overall security posture while making sure that they allocate resources more effectively to areas where they will have the greatest impact on reducing risk. All of which will increase resilience and confidence in their cyber strategy and organisation. 


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National Security & Public Safety
People & Culture
Australia Australia

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Heather Dailey Content Strategist, Marketing