Are Your Employees Reporting Security Issues?

Posted June 25, 2024

Ensuring your employees report security issues swiftly is crucial for your business. It might not always be top of mind, but it’s a critical aspect of maintaining a secure environment.

You may believe that having an array of security technologies in place is sufficient. However, your employees are your first line of defense. Their ability to identify and report security threats is irreplaceable.

Consider this scenario: an employee receives a suspicious email that seems to be from a trusted supplier. It’s a typical phishing attempt, where a cybercriminal masquerades as someone trustworthy to steal your data. If the employee ignores the email or assumes someone else will handle it, it could lead to a significant data breach, costing your company substantially.

Surprisingly, less than 10% of employees report phishing emails to their security teams. This low figure is concerning. Why does this happen?

  • They may not understand the importance of reporting.
  • They fear repercussions if they’re mistaken.
  • They believe it’s someone else’s responsibility.

If employees have been reprimanded for security errors in the past, they’re even less likely to report issues.

One primary reason employees don’t report security issues is a lack of awareness. They might not recognize security threats or understand the importance of reporting them. This is where education becomes vital, but it needs to be engaging and accessible.

Cybersecurity training should be interactive and relevant. Use real-life examples and scenarios to illustrate how minor issues can escalate if not reported. Simulate phishing attacks and explain the potential consequences. Make it clear that everyone plays a crucial role in maintaining security. When employees see how their actions can prevent disasters, they are more likely to report suspicious activities.

 

Even when employees are willing to report issues, a cumbersome reporting process can hinder them. Ensure your reporting process is simple and straightforward. Implement easy-access buttons or quick links on your company’s intranet.

Ensure that everyone knows how to report an issue. Regular reminders and clear instructions are essential. When someone reports an issue, acknowledge it promptly. A simple thank you or acknowledgment can reinforce positive behaviour and show employees that their efforts are valued.

Creating a culture where reporting security issues is seen as a positive action is essential. If employees fear judgment or punishment, they will remain silent. Leadership must set the tone by being transparent about their own experiences with reporting issues. When top executives discuss security openly, it encourages everyone else to do the same.

Consider appointing security champions within different departments. These individuals can serve as points of contact, providing support and making the reporting process less intimidating. Keep security a regular topic of conversation to keep it fresh in everyone’s minds.

Celebrate the learning opportunities that arise from reported incidents. Share success stories where reporting helped avert a disaster. This approach not only educates but also motivates your team to remain vigilant and speak up.

By making it easy and rewarding for your employees to report security issues, you’re not only safeguarding your business but also fostering a more engaged and proactive workforce.

Encourage open communication, continuous learning, and avoid shaming employees for mistakes. The quicker issues are reported, the easier and cheaper they are to resolve, keeping your business secure and thriving.

This is an area where we regularly assist businesses. If you need our help, please get in touch.