People-powered cyber resilience: 5 key strategies to strengthen your security and privacy maturity

July 27, 2023

We talk about cyber resilience a lot here at Onwardly—because it’s more than a buzzword, it’s central to business continuity. Cyber resilience is the ability to withstand, recover from, and adapt rapidly to cyber attacks or data breaches. By continually improving your cyber resilience, businesses can better protect their sensitive data, maintain operational continuity, and safeguard their reputation.

At the heart of cyber resilience is people. To lift your organisation’s security and privacy maturity, it requires a team effort. In this blog post, let’s explore the 5 ways to build better outcomes for your cyber resilience whereby everyone in the org understands their role and its importance to growth, trust and sales.

People-centric security and privacy policies

Acknowledge the impact of employees on cybersecurity in your organisation. Create policies that consider human factors, such as human error, awareness, and adherence. By involving everyone in the policy creation process and providing clear guidelines, businesses can empower their teams to actively contribute to building and maintaining robust security and privacy practices.

Empower employees through awareness training

By educating employees about the latest threats, social engineering techniques, and privacy practices, organisations can foster a security-aware culture (more on this later). Employees that are both knowledgeable and vigilant on cybersecurity become an indispensable part of your defence against threats, therefore significantly enhancing your overall maturity.

Risk assessment with people in mind

Understand that humans = your greatest risk. What is the true impact of employee behaviour and awareness on potential vulnerabilities and threats?

Human behaviour can be both an asset and a liability when it comes to cybersecurity. Employees may inadvertently fall victim to phishing attacks, disclose sensitive information, or unknowingly introduce malware to the network. On the other hand, a well-informed and security-aware team can serve as an effective line of defence, swiftly identifying and reporting any suspicious activity. It’s important that your risk profile considers all of this—not just the technical aspects of security.

Recruit a collaborative incident response team

At Onwardly, we believe that security is a team sport. Your incident response team should be cross-functional and involve stakeholders at all levels. Effective incident response requires clear communication and coordinated efforts. By involving people from different departments, you’re better prepared to be able to respond with pace and precision.

Cultivate a security-conscious culture

A security-conscious culture is one where everyone understands their role. Continuous monitoring and security governance are not the sole responsibility of IT. Amongst everything mentioned in this blog post, here’s how you can ensure cybersecurity is top-of-mind in your organisation:

  1. Leadership: Leaders in the business must walk the talk and demonstrate a genuine commitment to building cyber resilience.
  2. Rewarding security-conscious individuals: Recognise the efforts of employees who make security awareness a priority, and even consider how you can incorporate into performance evaluations to further encourage a more resilient security culture.
  3. Open communication and reporting: Ensure there are clear channels to report security concerns or incidents without fear of retribution.
  4. Gamification and simulations: Make it engaging and interactive to be a security superhero in your organisation. Use simulations and tabletop exercises to test responses to hypothetical cyber scenarios.
  5. Transparency: In the event of a security incident, be transparent with your employees. Show learnings from past incidents organisation-wide to help prevent similar mistakes in the future.
  6. Community: Establish a cross-functional risk and governance group where employees can share insights, experiences, best practices, and progress. A collaborative approach strengthens the collective knowledge and effectiveness in addressing cybersecurity challenges.

Building cyber resilience in any organisation, regardless of size, hinges on recognising the role of people in the process. A people-centric approach to security and privacy is crucial to strengthen defences, mitigate risks, and respond effectively to cyber threats.

Unbeatable cyber resilience 🦹

Winner of 2021 iSANZ Best Startup

"We wanted a solution that was fit for purpose, reflecting our age and stage, while delivering the outcomes we wanted for our customers and people. After looking at what was available, Onwardly stood out as serving this purpose perfectly."

Kendall Flutey

Founder & CEO