Build Security-Mindedness in Your Organization

Throughout the RSA conference this week, there was a steady drumbeat calling out the need for building a security mindset in an organization. Many breaches are caused by people making mistakes in our work places. How can you stop breaches caused by the human factor? It is all about increasing awareness and actively making an effort to build security mindedness into everything we do.

During one RSA breakout session entitled, How One Smart Phone Picture Can Take Down Your Company, Dr. Larry Ponemon, Founder of the Ponemon Institute, describes how a hacker really only needs one piece of valuable information to unlock a large-scale data breach, which can be achieved by taking a snapshot of log-in credentials on a screen and other low-tech means.  In his research report, Visual Hacking Experimental Study, he cites how ‘certain situations are more risky. Documents on vacant desks and data visible on computer screens are most likely to be hacked.’ This research report was sponsored by 3M – which makes sense since they sell privacy screens for computers, iPads and iPhones.

What is really needed is to make teams aware of the risk and vulnerabilities through education and training, through policy definitions and enforcement, and through constant reminders from leadership.

One startup company, Apozy, took a novel approach using gamification to incentivize employees to incorporate best practices in their day to day routines. Informatica’s own CISO, Bill Burns, is using an internal competition between departments to motivate management to incorporate best practices.

While we continue to invest in technology to automate the implementation and enforcement of policies through controls, we also need to look at who we are hiring and incorporating the security conversation into the on-boarding process.

When recruiting, look to colleges and universities that offer courses and degrees in cybersecurity. (Check out the Ponemon Institute 2014 Best Schools for Cybersecurity).  Arnold Federbaum, Adjunt Professor of Cyber Security at NYU School of Engineering discusses Data Security Culture and Higher Education in a panel video recorded during the Informatica Secure@Source product launch.

If you unable to view the video, click here.

Even the IRS has great training videos and podcasts to build awareness on potential risks of identity theft.

As we continue to see more data breach related news, it will be important to emphasize a security mindedness in an organizations culture, build policies that make sense and that have the appropriate level of enforcement, and if it is critical to your business, prioritize hiring those with a formal education and background in cybersecurity.

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