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23 ways to help your employees follow IT security policies

The key to ensuring that you don’t become a victim of a hack is to put as many measures in place to secure your networks. Employees can be a bit difficult when it comes to the rolling out of new IT security policies and processes. You may encounter situations where your employees display a lack of interest, time, technical knowledge, or simply, disdain for following the rules.

So, what can you do to combat these challenges, ensure a smooth roll-out of new IT procedures in the workplace and facilitate data security best practices? Keep reading to find out more about 23 ways to help your employees follow IT security policies!

1. Lead by example

Be an exemplary role model to your employees. By leading by example, you’re demonstrating to your team that you comply with the cyber security practices of your firm – which gives them no reason not to. 

If you ask your employees to do something that you’re either not comfortable doing or just not willing to do, this will lead to them questioning why they should do it in the first place. Walk the walk, and talk the talk!

2. Set milestones

Communicating an IT management plan to your team will prevent them from being bombarded with too many changes and to-dos all at once. 

In addition to communicating the timeline of the new implementation of the new measures, let them know exactly what each measure is all about and why it’s so important. You’ll find that when your team understands what’s going down and why, they’ll be more inclined to support the process rather than hinder the roll-out.

3. Leverage trends

When certain practices and protocols become widely adopted – such as DMARC email records for enterprise – this acts as a window of opportunity to ask that your company complies. You’ll be able to show a good reason for this, and the truth is, it’s generally a good thing to be up to date with the latest standards.

4. Explain why IT security policies are important

For each measure you seek to implement, be sure to explain why it is so important (as many times as you need to!). Give your employees a clear cut reason as to why their support is required. It’s worthwhile to put in the time and effort in explaining the measures at the outset to prevent delays and non-compliance. 

5. Make it an HR thing

Partner up with your HR department (sooner rather than later). Human resource professionals are adept in effective communication and understanding employees on a deeper level, hence making them better equipped to handle any counter arguments that may crop up.

6. Provide active help

Not everyone knows their way around complex IT systems. Remember that what may seem simple to a professional with IT management skills will probably be something totally new to others. By providing active help, you’ll be showing your employees exactly how to go about implementing your new policies and you’ll even help those who may feel a bit insecure to ask for assistance.

7. Mind the knowledge gap

Make sure your IT documentation is written and illustrated in an easy-to-understand style for non-technical readers, with relevant IT security policies templates. This way, everyone will be able to understand and follow through with your request without any IT jargon getting in the way. For most people, VPN is a stretch too far already!

8. Explain the consequences

Without a secure IT network, you’re at major risk of being targeted by hackers and giving them open access to sensitive information. Be open with your employees about what’s at risk if these security policies aren’t implemented and things go south. It’s ok to sometimes share some concrete examples to help make your point! 

9. Reward compliance

Who doesn’t love a good reward? Figure out what type of prize your employees would appreciate the most and use it as an incentive for the fastest person to implement a particular security measure. Some employees may appreciate an extra lunch hour while others would love a free drink or two (after hours that is).

10. Be aware and open to advancements

It’s better to not have any security protocols in place than to have ones that are outdated and useless. Establish a control process to monitor the effectiveness of the measures in place. If they prove inefficient, keep an eye out for any new security measures that you could replace them with. If you don’t roll with the punches, you’ll soon find yourself joining the ghosts of companies past!

11. Train, train, train

Make use of the variety of training methods available to educate your employees about the new security measures. Some of the methods that work well are e-learning, workshops, Zoom calls, events and blog posts. It’s best to facilitate these training initiatives regularly as opposed to once off in order to help employees retain the information.

12. Train the trainer

Make sure that whomever you appoint to facilitate the training initiatives is well-versed in these security measures and the material they’re training on. Having an ill-experienced trainer who doesn’t fully understand the security policies will do more harm than good and should be avoided at all costs.

13. Use the “wow” effect

Technology is pretty cool and there are so many ways to take advantage of this when trying to get your employees on board. By using edgy safety methods like fingerprint logins and screen privacy filters, your employees are bound to find it cool and be happy to comply.

14. Request feedback on cyber security policies

There is no better way to improve your roll-out than to listen to your employees’ experiences and act accordingly. If they claim that a specific protocol was difficult to understand, make it a priority to explain the next measure in more detail and in simple language.

15. Have a back-up plan

In the event of an employee’s non-compliance or inability to carry out a measure by a specific deadline that’s urgent, make sure you have an IT strategic management process in place to prevent them from being stranded outside the intranet. 

16. Involve IT management

Be open with your CTOs and CISOs! They should definitely be aware of instances such as a majority of employees being non-compliant with security policy roll-outs. CTOs and CISOs are also answerable to their bosses, to whom it is paramount to deliver accurate information.

17. Enforce the easier path

Simplify the process as far as you can. The less complicated the process, the more streamlined your roll-out will be. Smart IT managers should use better design and tools for their protocols to speed up the implementation and make it as seamless as possible.

18. Be empathetic

Be understanding and empathetic in your approach. For staff outside IT, things like the top 5 data security protocols are not easy to get into. Your employees will appreciate the effort you make to show you understand the inconvenience they’ll be put through (albeit a slight one at times).

19. Check out the laggers

It’s only natural for a small complement of your workforce to face some challenges in implementing your new security protocols. Have respectful and constructive discussions with them to go over problem areas and offer as much help as you can.

20. Maintain your documentation

Keeping accurate and updated records of your security protocols is so important for many reasons. One of the most common reasons happens to be if someone new joins the IT team and needs to get up to speed with the processes in place ASAP. An example of records that should be filed are cyber security policies examples of what’s been implemented. Rather safe than sorry, because inaccurate records are bound to land you in the hot seat!

21. Think UX

Map out every step of the implementation process from the start when rolling out new security policies. This works wonders in ensuring they go about it without any unnecessary delays or obstacles.

22. Get marketing to sell it for you

Having your firm’s marketing team on board to help you “sell” the idea to your employees could be quite useful when rolling out new security protocols. Oftentimes, marketing teams will benefit the most from new upgrades and tools at their disposal. They’d be more than happy to help if there’s something in it for them!

23. Master the online help

To improve the process for both your IT team and your employees, create relevant, up to date and easy to access online content that will help them navigate any issues they may encounter. By mastering the art of covering all your bases there, you will help your colleagues to help themselves, making your life easier eventually.

Are you ready to roll-out those cyber security policies?

There you have it – 23 practical and easy methods to help your employees adhere to IT security policies. With these measures in place, IT managers are on the right track to mastering IT policies for companies both big and small!

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