Strategies to Build Security Awareness

Awareness is a Critical Tool to Reduce Security Risk

When it comes to protecting your insurance organization against security threats, having the latest security software, systems, and controls isn’t enough. As much as 88% of data breaches are caused by human error, and all it takes is a single malicious link or compromised password.

By building security awareness—arming employees with the knowledge to identify potential threats and practice safe habits—organizations can significantly reduce their security risk. The problem? Many security awareness programs fail to leave an impact on employees. Here are three strategies to help you ensure that yours is effective.

1. Use Emotion (The Right Way)

A common mistake some organizations make when attempting to build security awareness is to employ fear tactics. This involves focusing on the potential consequences of a security breach, whether for the employee, the company, or both. Rather than foster good security practices, this strategy tends to generate anxiety and uncertainty that leads employees to be less productive, and in some cases, less receptive to your awareness building efforts.

Effective awareness programs focus on positive emotions, not negative ones. They appeal to our desire to do the right thing, protect others, and be rewarded. Recognizing and praising employees who practice good security habits can prove effective, however, those needing additional training should never be shamed.

2. Employ Repetition and Review

Security awareness isn’t just about knowing but doing. It’s one thing for an employee to score 100% on an awareness test, but another for them to put that knowledge into action. An awareness program should seek to build muscle memory in employees, such that practicing good security hygiene and identifying potential threats is second nature rather than a set of procedures to be followed.

Holding awareness training just once a year isn’t enough. Communications about security should be regular, but concise, and should be combined with reviews and simulations to ensure that the knowledge is being retained and acted upon.

3. Keep it Relevant

Security awareness should never feel like “background noise” to employees. This tends to happen when communications are too frequent or too business oriented. Personalization is critical. Explaining how security threats can impact employees’ personal lives can help them better understand why security is important and encourage them to practice good habits both at home and in the workplace.

Timing is another key element. Communications shouldn’t feel random but should ideally be timed around global and local events or trends that relate to security risk. This could include a security breach experienced by a client or a new type of phishing that is on the rise.

Be Proud of Your Security Awareness ProgramBut Never Content

No security awareness program will ever be perfect, but it can always be improved. It isn’t enough to create an awareness program and then quit. Security risks are constantly evolving, and organizations need to keep their ear to the ground and adapt their approach accordingly.

At ReSource Pro, we have established several core standards that empower every employee to deliver outstanding service experiences to our clients. At the top of this list is “Trustworthy,” which sets the security expectations for our team members to ensure the safety of our clients’ data and systems. This includes knowing and following information security policies and procedures, as well as monitoring and coaching others to follow information security standards.

If you’d like to work with a business process management partner committed to safety and security, let’s talk.


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