Are your employees reporting security issues promptly… or at all?

Ensuring that your team reports security issues quickly is crucial for your business, though it may not have been top of mind before.

You might believe that with numerous security tech tools, you’re covered. However, your employees are your first line of defence, and their role in spotting and reporting security threats is irreplaceable.

Consider this scenario: An employee receives a suspicious email that looks like it’s from a trusted supplier. It’s a classic phishing attempt (where a cybercriminal pretends to be someone else to steal your data).

If the employee dismisses it or assumes someone else will handle it, that seemingly innocent email could lead to a massive data breach, potentially costing your company a significant amount of money.

The reality is, less than 10% of employees report phishing emails to their security teams. That’s alarmingly low. Why? Because:

  • They might not understand its importance.
  • They’re afraid of getting into trouble if they’re wrong.
  • They assume it’s someone else’s responsibility.

Additionally, if they’ve been reprimanded for security mistakes before, they’re even less likely to speak up.

One major reason employees don’t report security issues is a lack of understanding. They might not recognize what a security threat looks like or why it’s crucial to report it. This is where education plays a key role, but it must be engaging and jargon-free.

Think of cybersecurity training as an interactive and engaging experience. Use real-life examples and scenarios to demonstrate how a minor issue can escalate into a major problem if not reported.

Simulate phishing attacks and show the potential consequences. Make it clear that everyone plays a vital role in keeping the company safe. When employees realize their actions can prevent a disaster, they’ll be more motivated to report anything suspicious.

Even if employees want to report an issue, a complicated reporting process can deter them. Ensure your reporting process is simple and straightforward, like easy-access buttons or quick links on your company’s intranet.

Make sure everyone knows how to report an issue. Regular reminders and clear instructions can go a long way. And when someone does report something, give them immediate feedback. A simple thank you or acknowledgment can reinforce their behaviour and show them that their efforts matter.

It’s all about creating a culture where reporting security issues is seen as a positive action. If employees fear judgment or punishment, they’ll stay silent. Leaders in your company need to set the tone by openly discussing their own experiences with reporting issues. When top management talks openly about security, it encourages everyone else to do the same.

You might even consider appointing security champions within different departments. These individuals can offer support and make the reporting process less intimidating. Keep security a regular topic of conversation so it remains fresh in everyone’s minds.

Also, celebrate the learning opportunities that arise from reported incidents. Share success stories where reporting helped avoid a disaster. This not only educates but also motivates your team to stay vigilant and speak up.

By making it easy and rewarding for your employees to report security issues, you’re not just protecting your business; you’re also building a more engaged and proactive workforce.

Encourage open communication, continuous learning, and avoid shaming anyone for their mistakes. The faster issues are reported, the easier and cheaper they are to fix, keeping your business secure and thriving.

This is something we regularly help businesses with. If we can assist you too, get in touch.