Not everyone is experienced in or knowledgeable about security. But as organizations put more emphasis on risk mitigation, your IT staff should at least have a core understanding. Armed with the fundamentals of security and risk, they can then help all employees understand the steps necessary for keeping data safe.

Here are three security essentials IT can work to ingrain into company culture and use to inform security strategy.

  1. Risk is always evolving.
    Once you’ve invested in the right tools and techniques to prevent breaches, get ready: It’s time to refresh your strategy and investment again. The risk landscape is always changing, and most security leaders admit that criminals have a big advantage over defenders. In fact, research from the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and industry analyst firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) found 91% of security professionals believe most organizations are extremely vulnerable, or somewhat vulnerable, to a significant cyberattack or data breach.
    Spending on security has increased annually, with worldwide spending on information security products and services forecasted to grow 8.7% to $124 billion, according to Gartner. Yet despite this growth in spending, breach rates continue to rise. Two-thirds of organizations experienced an average of five or more security breaches in the past two years, according to Forrester.
    With figures like these, it is easy to be discouraged. But persistence, vigilance and education to stay on top of the latest risk factors and attack techniques are critical for all IT staff.
  2. Security is everyone’s business.
    While many employees still regard security as an IT responsibility, it is now shared by all. IT must work to change the mindset and impart a message to employees that security is everyone’s business and everyone’s responsibility.
    This means everyone has a role to play. With so many opportunities for criminals to breach sensitive assets, IT requires an “all hands on deck” approach when it comes to keeping an eye out for potential vulnerabilities and attacks.
    Employees need to understand that they are first line of defense and learn to identify what risks they face on the job daily. Security hygiene is a priority and that behavior comes from the top down. IT staff must lead by example.
  3. Awareness is integral to shoring up defenses.
    Giving employees the tools for security awareness is paramount because human error is one of the top contributing factors in breaches and security incidents. Recent data from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) finds the most common causes of unauthorized exposure of regulated data are unintentional or inadvertent mistakes.
    Perimeter-only security is a thing of the past. Criminals are using employees on the inside with the hope that they will trip up and click on a bad link or download a malicious file. Most employees do not even realize they are doing anything wrong when they engage in an act that later cases a data breach.
    It is crucial for IT staff to educate employees about what to guard against with regular awareness training and information. This foundation relies on your team building IT security expertise in general.
    As businesses worldwide ramp up investments in security priorities, every IT professional should make security part of their skill set.