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  • 15 August 2023
  • 6 min read

What is a good security culture?

What constitutes a good security culture, how to foster it, and the powerful impact it can have on safeguarding your organisation's digital assets.
FAQ what is a good security culture

Security should be everyone's responsibility - from the ground up and top down.

A cyber-savvy workforce will help deliver growth by building digital trust, improve an organisation’s reputation with customers and build employee pride by encouraging individual development. A good security culture creates an environment where upright cyber hygiene becomes standard practice, thus allowing the whole organisation to operate more securely with less effort and more efficiency, freeing up time and energy for core business activities.

At face value, a good and effective security culture means:

  1. Understanding that effective security is critical to business success and reputation.
  2. Encouraging positive security practices among employees and leaders.
  3. Aligning security with regulations and industry standards.
  4. Positioning cyber security as a core value for every employee rather than as an obligation or a burdensome one-off responsibility.

In this blog post, we will delve into what constitutes a good security culture, how to foster it, and the powerful impact it can have on safeguarding your organisation's digital assets.

Defining a strong security culture

Security culture is not just a set of security practices, protocols, and physical networks; it is a mindset, a shared understanding between employees and employer, and a collective commitment to protecting sensitive information and digital assets.

A good security culture extends beyond simple compliance with policies, procedures, and regulations. Compliance is a minimum, whilst a good and trustworthy security culture is brimming with both short term and long-term benefits.

A strong security culture is a dynamic blend of consistently outlined safe behaviours, attitudes, and threat awareness that permeates every level and department of your organisation. A strong security culture encourages employees to recognise their role as active defenders against cyber threats and empowers them to make informed decisions that prioritise security and safety.

Nurturing a robust security culture

1. Leadership and tone at the top: Leadership commitment is a cornerstone of a strong security culture because security culture starts at the top. Leaders must embody security consciousness and consistently communicate its importance. When leaders champion security practices and actively participate in training and awareness initiatives, it sends a powerful message throughout the organisation. This top-down approach demonstrates that security is not just an IT concern but a fundamental organisational value. If employees want to stand out in their organisation, especially to leadership, emulating and adopting behaviours they see at the top is a sure fire way to show you are buying into the company ethos and security culture.

2. Behavioural models and organisational norms: People tend to conform to perceived norms – this is no different in your organisation. Utilise this principle to shape security behaviours and norms within your organisation. Leveraging behavioural models like the Theory of Planned Behaviour, you can influence security-related decisions. How can you use the Theory of Planned Behaviour? Let us look at how it works outside of cyber security; if you believe that important people in your life would disapprove of you smoking cigarettes, you will be less likely to smoke cigarettes and subsequently less likely to buy cigarettes. In society, smoking cigarettes used to be quite common but a combination of social disapproval and education on the ramifications stamped out consumption across the world. Encourage positive security behaviours by highlighting the benefits of adherence to best practices, such as preventing data breaches and protecting personal information, and these will become the social norms.

3. Engaging training and simulations: Interactive training that mimics actual cyber threats helps employees develop practical skills and enhances their security awareness. A good security culture is one that tests and assesses employees through engaging training and simulated gamified scenarios, thus constantly keeping employees on their toes and the aura of cyber threats in the present psyche. Employ other engaging and immersive training methods, such as interactive team activities, manager masterclasses and quick webinars to make the most of every single communication channel available to you. These hands-on experiences not only educate employees but also equip them with the skills to identify and respond to actual threats.

4. Open communication and reporting: Creating an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting security incidents is crucial for early threat detection and mitigation. It is no use installing the best-in-class hardware and the most engaging training and awareness programme if you are not encouraging and opening communication channels for easy and seamless incident reporting. Promote a culture of open communication by encouraging employees to report potential security issues without fear of repercussions. Establishing clear reporting channels and acknowledging employees' contributions fosters a sense of ownership in security matters. This means valuing every single report from employees and making sure there is no friction between your various departments and the security team.

The 3 big benefits of a good security culture

A well-established security culture yields tangible benefits, including:

  1. Reduced risk: A security-aware workforce serves as a formidable defence against cyber-attacks, minimising the risk of breaches and data leaks. And as the cost of data breaches increases year on year, the benefit of reduced risk cannot be overlooked.
  2. Mitigated insider threats: When employees are invested in security, the likelihood of insider threats diminishes significantly. This means a significant reduction in mistakes and incompetence in your workforce as well as malicious insiders looking for a quick win.
  3. Regulatory compliance: A strong security culture facilitates adherence to data protection regulations and industry standards, especially when those regulations and standards are prone to changing and being updated. For instance, for many years, UK organisations that handled customer and client data needed a Data Protection Officer (DPO). However, following the UK’s departure from the EU, that all changed with the DPO requirement making way for a Senior Responsible Individual (SRI) instead. A good security culture is one that reflects changing regulations and requirements thus keeping your safety up to date and your employees aware of new risks and threats.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does a security culture influence employee behaviour?

A security culture influences employee behaviour by shaping their attitudes and perceptions about security. When security is ingrained as a core value, employees are more likely to make security-conscious decisions. If you have a comprehensive security induction, you can inject your security culture and behaviours into new starters from the get-go, achieving instant buy-in.

Q: Can a security culture prevent all cyber incidents?

While a strong security culture is a powerful defence, it cannot guarantee the prevention of all cyber incidents. However, it significantly reduces the likelihood of successful attacks and minimises their impact in terms of cost, reputation, and fallout.


A good security culture is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

As DPOs, CISOs, and security decision makers, your role in fostering this culture is pivotal. By leveraging leadership commitment, behavioural models, engaging training, and open communication, you can create a security-conscious workforce that fortifies your organisation's defences from within.

Remember, a strong security culture is an investment that pays dividends in the form of enhanced protection and resilience against cyber threats.

If you would like informationabout how The Security Company can help you to formulate a cyber security training and awareness program for your organisation and how we help support security leaders in setting up a fresh cyber security awareness framework ... please contact our Head of Business Development and Sales,  Jenny Mandley.

The Security Company's vast library of customised and non-customised products and services are tailored for small, medium and large organisations and are available in a variety of languages. We also offer bespoke solutions for organisations that desire training and awareness materials built from the ground up.

Written by
Nas Ali
Cyber security and awareness content creator focused on emerging threats and the next wave of cyber security risks like AI, deepfakes and tech 4.0 initiatives in order to build towards a more secure organisational culture.
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