People-Centric Cybersecurity​​

People-Centric Cybersecurity begins by understanding the technological limitations. As threat actors launch more sophisticated attacks, traditional technology-based cybersecurity improves, and the stack just gets bigger. However, people are still the most vulnerable link in cybersecurity.

In recent years we’ve seen a dramatic rise in phishing and social engineering attacks. Phishing attack makes up for 80% of reported security incidents. So the question remains: how to mitigate this issue? A solution to the problem is to adopt People-Centric Cybersecurity.

What is People-Centric Cybersecurity?

People-Centric Cybersecurity focuses on making humans the center focus on cybersecurity. Where the traditional methods of implementing it revolved around technology, the people-centric approach focuses on human involvement in systems and processes. It is an approach that highlights people as a crucial element to the security perimeter.

It is the understanding that since humans are both the makers and users of technology, they should remain at the center of all designs and efforts both at a behavioral and cognitive level. With humans as an integral part of the security chain, the people-centric cyber security model, therefore, works to introduce steps to mitigate the inherent threats and risks occurring due to human involvement. 

People-centric cybersecurity enables each employee to have autonomy in data handling, either by allowing multiple devices or adhering to particular security principles. In short, it focuses on making people aware of their role in maintaining cybersecurity. 

However, while the people-centric approach does promote the idea of trust and shared responsibility, it doesn’t eliminate the need to have a strict check and balance of security measures. Following the carved out pathways of traditional cybersecurity measures, the people-centric approach also works on a zero-trust model, giving employees access to certain necessary information only. 

The only difference remains that the people within an organization are more aware of the possible vulnerabilities, security incidents, and consequences, and they are ready to take responsibility for their actions.

Why do organizations need People-Centric Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity frameworks have long since relied on perimeter-based security strategies since organizations adopted on-premises IT infrastructures. Security relied on integrating network, endpoint, and access management solutions to ensure protection within the organizational framework. 

While this perimeter-based security has proved helpful for almost a decade, the shift in the cyber threat landscape demanded a new approach to the cyber security model. 

Recently, cybercriminals have increased their reliance on phishing and social engineering campaigns and carrying out targeted attacks such as whaling or spear phishing. Amidst this, it has become crucial for organizations to realize the threat unaware employees pose to their corporate space’s integrity and safety. Thus the need for a people-centric approach to cybersecurity grew. 

Apart from that, the over-tipped ratio of available cybersecurity professionals to the volume of cyberattacks requires the availability of a much more granular approach to cybersecurity. By implementing a people-centric framework, organizations can cope with failing security infrastructures. 

Moreover, people-centric cybersecurity will also relieve the staff shortage of cybersecurity professionals as people become more aware of cyber attacks and take responsibility for their actions. By making people the very central part of cybersecurity infrastructure, organizations can eliminate the possibility of minor phishing attacks, insider threats, and human errors.

How to build People-Centric Cybersecurity?

Building a people-centric approach to cybersecurity involves imparting knowledge and awareness to the people within an organization. Its framework requires the following implementation considerations:

Spread awareness and knowledge on cybersecurity

An unaware employee can lead to catastrophic damages to the organization. They may be easy to fool and thus more likely to fall to social engineering and phishing tactics. It is, therefore, crucial to spread awareness and knowledge on rising cyber-attacks. 

The employee should also be made aware of the best practices they should adhere to in reaction to a cyber attack. The employees should have a space for communication and a call-to-action drill to follow in case of falling victim to a cyber attack. Here, compliance awareness, deployment and training take center stage in a more cyber educated workforce.

Establish accountability across the organization

The best way to ensure that an employee is serious about the organization’s security is to integrate a sense of responsibility. Employees must realize the role they play in maintaining and securing the organization from possible threats and attacks. 

For that, the CEOs and CISOs need to promote a healthy communicative culture for the employees. In case of falling victim to a cyberattack, the employees should have a communicative channel to inform the security teams without the fear of layouts, ensuring a timely awareness and response to each cyber attack. 

Focus on training programs that work

An essential element to implementing people-centric cybersecurity is allowing employees to make informed decisions. However, as more responsibility translates into more productivity, training becomes mandatory.  

With training that addresses individual and organizational needs, with features like gamification and simulations, employees have the opportunity to come across real-life incidents and take up challenges that would help them understand their role in maintaining cybersecurity within the organization.

Introduce customized cybersecurity framework 

The employees should be made aware of a custom-created cybersecurity framework within the organization. That framework should contain the best practices that the employees must follow while spending their time on social media platforms or dealing with corporate information. 

Such a framework would provide the employees with relevant guidelines to follow and thus maintain cybersecurity within the organization. Apart from that, to integrate the sense of responsibility, any employee ignoring the cybersecurity framework and guidelines should face strict punishment to incorporate accountability.

Final Words

People-centric cybersecurity calls for a more robust and practical solution to implementing information security. Since employees are a crucial element of the organization, ignoring them allows threat actors to exploit them.

At Right-Hand Cybersecurity, we provide learning solutions to spread awareness and learning, enabling organizations to integrate people-centric cybersecurity approach.

How to put employees front and center in cybersecurity? We have a couple of ideas.