How to create a cybersecurity program from scratch in 7 steps!

How to create a cybersecurity program?

How to create a cybersecurity program from scratch in 7 steps- Build your Wall - Photo by "My Life Through A Lens"

As the Chinese proverb says, the best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago. But the second best time is today! So if you’re looking to start your cybersecurity awareness program, look no further. It’s time to plant the seed!

We’ve been at this for years now, waging culture change and raising employee awareness across small town America all the way to the corner office in the Fortune 500. We can tell you it is all about promoting unforgettable experiences, changing employee habits and attitudes and winning minds and hearts. 

We say all that because we want you to know we’re here to help you build a kicka$$ cybersecurity program from scratch in just 7 easy steps (and not just help you do more death-by-powerpoint). 

First things first

Data is now considered the new market gold, so company's confidential data needs to be stored securely. However, before storing this data, it is necessary to organize it. Define the data levels across your organization (think about: employee social security numbers, financial transactions, supplier payments, purchase orders, health records, intellectual property, patents, contacts, leads, among others). It is your company's duty to protect this information! 

Second step

After organizing the information into classifications, you have to identify where this data and information is stored. Identify all possible devices in your company through which this data can be accessed: computers, tablets, phones, flash drives, etc. See which files, docs, spreadsheets, programs, and which file extensions the data is displayed in. This classification will help in the creation of processes to control the use of this information, storage, processing and transmission of data through company-furnished devices. 

Third step

Catalog all the hardware and software used in your company. Remember that hardware and software are often the doorways through which criminals attack, so it is necessary to have a complete record of each hardware and each software asset in order to respond quickly in identifying the contaminated environment, correcting it and updating it. A solid cybersecurity program consists of an accurate inventory!

Fourth step

When your company's data security structure is well defined, identified and cataloged, the next step is employee training. According to an IBM study, human error is the main cause of 95% of cyber security breaches. This is why cybersecurity awareness training is so important to your company.

Today, all company departments are digital, not just IT, so everyone who has access to the devices and software that receive, process and transmit confidential data and information from your company, needs security training.

Awareness about the responsibilities and risks of end users in proceeding with preventive actions must be like law within your company. Then, your cybersecurity program can raise awareness among all company employees of these security ‘laws.’

People need to know about secure password management, data system protection and how to identify and report phishing emails. How do I do security awareness training for my employees?

Fifth Step

New threats emerge as new technologies advance. A clear example is remote access. Accessing data remotely allows mobility and convenience; however, it creates new security risks. In this case, try implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to improve security for remote employees. 

Sixth Step

Hire a specialist or a specialized company to periodically audit your cybersecurity program. An external view helps to identify possible oversights in all the steps mentioned above. Calculating the Return on Security Investment (R.O.S.I.) is essential to assess the impact of your program on your company. Learn how to calculate the R.O.S.I. in this post.

Last, but not least!

Celebrate security with your employees by using game-based learning, immersive experiences and intuitive learning methods. Games are a fun way for employees to practice and learn about risks, without it costing real $$ from a data breach. We listed the top 10 cyber security awareness games in this post, check it out! 

We hope you get the idea that this is like building, brick by brick, a sturdy foundation for your organization. Resilient organizations have strong walls and multiple defenses - the BEST of which are people who are trained to respond quickly. 

If you want to learn more, check out our training philosophy and how we reimagine security for people!