Cybersecurity: Who Is Responsible?

Cyber security is a vital part of any organization – but who is responsible? The answer might surprise you.  

When it comes to cybersecurity, the sole responsibility does not rest on the shoulders of just one individual or even a single department. From the CEO, down to the interns, every member of your team plays a part in keeping your network secure.

Anyone who accesses your organization’s network has a certain degree of responsibility for keeping it secure against threats. Granted, some key personnel do have a greater responsibility, but everyone throughout your organization has a role and it is vital that each person understands what they need to do.

The danger of putting the whole of cybersecurity in a single department.

Yes, your IT department has somewhat more of a responsibility to keep your network secure, but everyone should be concerned with strengthening weak passwords, encrypting vital data, and securing files and folders containing client information and other PII (personally identifiable information). When you leave all of that on just a handful of people, there are bound to be gaping vulnerabilities that creep up.

And the larger your organization, the harder it is for one department to manage.

If the responsibility for digital security lies only with a few people things can go very wrong very quickly. If a problem arises, it could spread through a good portion of the organization before that department even becomes aware of it. A malware threat can cripple a business very quickly if the staff doesn’t know what to do or how to identify it. Additionally, when staff doesn’t know the basics of data security such as strong passwords, it can lead to a breach that could essentially cause detrimental harm to your company’s good name.

Getting your team on board.

Cybersecurity training should be a part of your onboarding process for all employees, including temporary staff, interns, and contractors. Creating an online course with a qualification test that each employee must pass will provide them with the necessary information while emphasizing its importance. You may even opt to issue certificates when employees pass the course.

Since different departments will likely have different levels of responsibility, you may have additional courses for employees who handle sensitive information or work with files and folders that have a higher security level.

The key is to make cybersecurity training a standard part of employment requirements for every staff member whether they have full access to your entire system or only work with email. That way, everyone knows how to create a strong password (you may even consider creating requirements for passwords to ensure strength), how to spot threats, and what they should and should not share privately or publicly.

Cybersecurity training for your entire staff is just good business.

Shared responsibility for cybersecurity empowers your team and gives them a sense of ownership in the company. They no longer “just have a job,” they have a purpose. Training all of your employees in the basics of cybersecurity is just good business.

When you get right down to it, cybersecurity is a form of customer service. Just as everyone in your company is responsible for providing great customer service, securing customer information and other vital data is a component of customer satisfaction. By protecting your customer account details from criminals, you provide a higher level of security and customer service which increases your customers’ trust in you.

People tend to not only stay with companies they trust. They also tell their friends about their great experience.

Putting a portion of the responsibility in the hands of the people who use the systems on a daily basis. This includes not only taking steps to ensure the system is secure but also knowing how and when to report vulnerabilities. It also means informing all personnel when new threats emerge and providing a clear plan of action for handling them.

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