Build a Security Culture (2015)
CHAPTER 8: TIME IS ON YOUR SIDE
You have successfully reached the end of this book on security culture. You have learned what security culture is and how it relates to security awareness. You have tapped into social sciences with a focus on psychology, so we can better understand how people interact, behave and inform their actions. This is knowledge that is important to have when bringing about cultural change. You have also read about security culture metrics and how to use the Security Culture Framework to build and maintain security culture.
There are a few final things I need to share with you.
Reading this book does not make you an expert on this topic. Even writing this book, I do not consider myself the one know-it-all – there are so many different aspects of culture, people and behaviours that we still do not understand. That is one of the reasons I am back at the University of Oslo where I am reading psychology. I want to help the industry by building a body of knowledge on security culture. I am dedicating my time and resources because I believe it is important for us as an industry to understand people for real, if we want to bring about change.
However, reading this book shows that you, just like me, are interested in this topic. Hopefully that means you will bring about positive change in your organisation now and later. I also hope you find it interesting to learn more about culture, diversity, learning and communication. There is an abundance of topics related to security that is not directly to do with malware, firewalls and pen testing. These topics are not at all new. Since the dawn of human existence we have built security culture into our societies. I see no end to the need for understanding how we can become even better at this.
Changing culture takes time. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. Scientists disagree about the reasons and the methods. There are an unknown number of unknown factors that may or may not apply to your success. One thing is for sure, though: if you are not in charge of the culture yourself, culture will be in charge of you. Set your goals, and work towards them. Small steps does it.
My experience shows that a structured approach is more likely to yield success than any of the happy-go-lucky approaches I’ve seen. A programme that brings about change also plays with all elements of culture: technology, policies and people. Sometimes they succeed right away, and other times they need a number of tries.
What I see in the programmes we run is that time is an important asset. Have a long perspective. And by long, I mean 3-5 years’ time. Longer if possible. Create a vision, or big goals for that period, and break it down into smaller targets you can use as milestones. Have at least one yearly target, and work to reach that one. Adjust your course as you learn more. And never settle down!
Building and maintaining culture is not something you do once and then you’re done. It’s an ongoing, never-ending process. Either you are in charge of it, or it controls you. Think of culture as a constant feedback loop creating a mutual change-cycle. You are part of the culture, part of that feedback loop, feeding it with your own behaviours, ideas and customs. The more of you who join forces and feed it with common behaviour, the more the culture will impact the others too. Use it to your benefits!
I welcome your insights, ideas and thoughts on the Security Culture Framework community at securitycultureframework.com. Let us join forces and build better security culture!
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