Want Employee IT Security Compliance? Make It About Culture

Managers and business owners face big difficulties surrounding employee IT and data security compliance. When employees cut corners, use personal devices, and share information, they may complete work faster but at a high security cost. When you have sensitive data stored on the cloud or shared within the office, how can you encourage your employees to stay within your set of rules?

Security has to be part of the everyday tasks of the office. Establish safety measures into your work culture itself.

Understand How Employees Ignore Security

To truly communicate with your employees about how important data security is for your business, you need to know the ways they undermine or ignore your company’s protocols. From leaving Post-It notes with visible passwords to failing to lock device screens when they’re away from their desks, employees create many dubious situations. Collect your management team and your IT personnel and set out to discover the major ways your employees are disabling security, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Tackle these issues first.

Train Your People on Security Basics

Employee meeting and training
photo credit: WOCinTech Chat / Flickr

Set up quarterly training sessions for security compliance and new knowledge. Make your sessions more than just a list of measures employees must follow. Instead, take the opportunity to explain to employees why the topic is important to your company. Outline breaches that have happened in the past, whether to you or to similar companies. Give your employees a personal stake in protecting the company. Plus, if you reward them with a tasty lunch meeting or a half-day, they’ll look forward to training sessions.

Create Automatic Compliance

Get your employees used to compliance when you give them no other options. The parameters you use to protect logging into cloud sites and company programs help strengthen your overall protection. Make multifactor authentication an important step. Only authorize certain devices, and if employees want a personal device to have authorization, make them clear each device with IT. Make passwords expire every 90 days. When these factors are part of life at the office, employees get used to them fast.

Work From the Top

Business meeting

You can’t expect employees to comply with your rules and protocols if they see the management team bypassing important steps. Get management 100 percent on board with all measures, both so the top team can demonstrate what good practices look like, and so they can coach employees who fail to comply. When everyone works towards the same goal, that goal becomes a team effort. Management and IT shouldn’t become a police force looking around for rule-breakers, but compatriots who want the company to be safe.

When the largest, most lucrative companies get hacked each year, everyone in the business community pays attention. If a company with such expensive security systems isn’t safe, what can a small business expect? When each employee is a possible security breach, your best measures mean nothing if those employees don’t follow them. Safe office data comes down to the employees, and when they have an IT culture to depend on at work, they become your biggest security assets.