Building a Security Culture

Kai RoerLast month I had the great pleasure to speak at the 2014 ISACA Nordic Conference, where I shared my passion for security culture and how to build it.

In my view, security culture is, simply, about building and maintaining measures to help your employees feel safe and free from danger.

But let’s back up a bit to get a clearer picture. It helps to understand the origins of this culture. In this sense, culture is the collected security information in a society that is passed from one generation to the next. It can consist of norms, knowledge, tools, etc.

Naturally, this culture can be modified and transformed to suit each organization. Norms—the regulations, policies and other rules (written or not) that regulate how people in your organization function, from when and how they drink coffee to how they interact with their passwords—are malleable. They work best when they are adjusted for each enterprise and each situation.

Tools used with computers, information systems and software are most commonly considered “technology.” Much like their ancestors, such as the hammer, technology tools make it easier to reach a goal, such hammering a nail or ensuring proper security within a system.

Knowledge is the third piece of the puzzle, binding technology and norms together. Knowledge guides people in interacting with technology in the right manner. Knowledge enables people to understand why norms force them to do things according to the rules.

Culture is a critical part of society. It helps define a people. This holds true within the narrower scope of security culture. By taking what you have already—technology and norms—and adding knowledge to your organization, you are moving in the right direction. You are moving to a security culture.

Kai Roer
President of Cloud Security Alliance Norway Chapter
Founder of the Security Culture Framework
Member of the Security Culture Framework Community

[Source: ISACA]

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