Security as a Culture
We can admit it – nobody likes to talk about security. It inevitably leads to cost and liability discussions that don’t make for pleasant conversation, especially when that time can be used for more profitable endeavors. Everybody understands the danger that ignoring security considerations brings, however, and we see the true cost of this every day, borne out in lost market share and, perhaps more importantly, loss of consumer trust.
Now, what once used to only impact businesses with large user bases is increasingly targeting smaller and smaller companies and organizations. The safety of being surrounded by bigger and more enticing targets has been eroded, and targets of all sizes are now routinely exploited.
Not all hope is lost, however. Security practices have become increasingly robust and have evolved at each step to combat these threats as they become more and more complex. People are more aware of the need to secure their sensitive data and maintain the security of the data they encounter daily. More than ever, there are myriad ways to develop and deploy security protocols, but every new preventative measure has its own implementation and experience friction to overcome.
Security is a framework
Optimal security requires buy-in from everyone involved, and everyone has a role to play. From IT Directors and Administrators to staff to the Executive Team, anyone that interacts with or has access to sensitive data is a link in the chain and has a responsibility to handle this data in a secure and thoughtful manner.
Each group experiences their own friction, whether that’s increased complexity to access or as an extra consideration or hurdle when developing and launching new services. And they’re correct if security technology and processes aren’t defined and consistent. There is no common ground and no way to reinforce good habits over bad if there isn’t a bedrock of behaviors and technology to rely on.
When thought of as a framework that’s comprised of both technology and process, however, security eventually becomes second nature. It becomes a de facto part of every service delivery – everything should plug into your security framework to ensure processes remain in alignment across the organization. When elevated to this level, far beyond a line item on a requirements checklist, it becomes much easier for everyone to remain thoughtful and considerate of security concerns. This becomes your bedrock and ensures a common experience for every person and process moving forward.
Refine your security experience
Habits aren’t always easy, however, and security processes can provide their own level of frustration that makes habit-building difficult. It is important to continually refine this experience for users to ensure the right balance of security and ease-of-use. More and more options are available to help simplify processes, from password managers to biometric authentication, and new trust agents are being developed at an increasing rate. These options should be evaluated against your framework as they arise, to ensure you’re maintaining the balance of security and experience.
For security to have any chance, it must be second nature for everyone. That won’t be accomplished in a day or a week or a month but is a continually evolving process that gains more traction the more consistent and expected your framework becomes. And that’s the key to making security part of your culture – everyone already understands the necessity and value, they just need it to be consistent and adoptable. Having a common framework makes this possible, and elevates security to your culture, where habit-building is natural.
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As a Technology and Business Analyst for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Chris Rochford leverages a diverse background in web development and technology consulting. His role involves managing Boomer Consulting, Inc.’s internal technology, as well as researching how new and emerging technologies can be leveraged internally and for our external clients.
Before joining Boomer Consulting, Inc., Chris spent 15 years in tech, doing web development for state and local government agencies and commercial clients.