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Jun 27 2022 | by Krishnaprasad Bannanje

The Vital Role of the People Function in Enterprise Cybersecurity

HR is thought of as a staff function, and understandably so. However, its role in cybersecurity remains unsung and unappreciated. There is no doubt that the CISO team plays the central part in securing data and systems in the enterprise. But HR has the next most significant role in ensuring that the staff is well-versed with the enterprise's security measures. 

This article explores how effective linkages between the HR function, both in terms of policy and development, are vital to effective cybersecurity and offers an approach on how best to implement such linkages. But before that, let's understand the workplace-related challenges organizations face in the post-pandemic era and how they affect the cybersecurity strategy as well as the people function. 

Cybersecurity in the Workforce - Current Scenario 

Organizations face several challenges when it comes to ensuring overall cybersecurity against malicious incursions, including supply chain attacks, cyber warfare, ransomware, phishing, etc., and operational complications such as skills shortage, inadequate training, etc. 

One of the biggest challenges is ensuring security within the hybrid work model that's the new normal. This includes setting up remote security policies and managing security issues over home networks. But this also means sufficing the needs of in-office operations. As such, security admins are routinely tasked with these jobs to maintain the cybersecurity posture.  

But the challenge remains that organizations have to ensure both remote security systems and in-office security protocols. This can be tricky, especially if employees have little understanding of security threats to the organization, including the company's data, even if they are aware of the basics of cybercrime. 

The Importance of the HR Function in Cybersecurity 

The role of HR in cybersecurity is essential as it helps bridge the gap between the complexity of cybersecurity policies and the mainstream, simplified understanding of the staff. Following this approach not only helps organizations get their employees on the same page with regard to security but also ensures their compliance with various security policies set at organizational and individual levels. 

Establishing Robust Screening Procedures 

HR can play a decisive role in ensuring the proper screening of employees. Corporate surveillance has undoubtedly increased, and complexities around the post-pandemic situation continue to abound.  

In such a scenario, thoroughly screening employees is imperative. To that end, HR can check the references and background of each employee and any contractor. This kind of background check would typically include the evaluation of credentials, identity, and criminal background, if any.  

HR managers need to know about the compliance issues arising from such checks and ensure they are not breaching any regulations. Usually, the process of screening includes routine checks to ascertain educational background and qualifications. It also consists of an employment reference check. Nowadays, it is also common to do a social media background check to negate any offensive behavior online.  

Training Staff Around Security, Compliance, and Best Practices 

Once HR ensures that proper screening processes have been followed, the employee is now set to be onboarded. Routine training should be complemented with training around security threats, compliance issues, risk factors, as well as best practices to follow.  

Regarding compliance issues, systems can be suitably configured to respond to non-compliant connections and behavior. Novigo Solutions provides several options to mitigate compliance risks by preventing the escalation of such instances.  

The tech experts will continue to own the training material. However, HR can ensure the planning and execution of these training sessions, creating a robust strategy and ensuring that it is adaptable and evolving to the organization's needs. HR can also implement appropriate data permissions for employees, depending on skill level and grade, as well as seniority in the organization.  

Interfacing Between IT Security and Staff 

As elucidated above, HR represents the interface between employees and IT security. Therefore, its role is vital in assuring that proper cybersecurity measures are in place in the organization.  

While IT security teams can lay the protocols in place, HR clarifies such policies, provides resources to employees, and works behind the scenes to preempt and anticipate potential security issues that may arise within the organization.  

HR can also routinely create regular security awareness campaigns to make employees feel involved in the process. These include awareness of malware and virus exploits, data breaches, social engineering attempts, and various vulnerabilities that can target the organization if not careful. Keeping employees motivated and alert about such risks can be invaluable in preventing major crises later on. 

Besides, HR can ensure a crowdsourced initiative within the organization wherein employees can safely report any security suspicions, even among their colleagues or peers. This is especially vital these days when many employees are working remotely. This way, the HR professional would be better equipped to ensure that company data is protected and the operations adhere to legal regulations. 

Novigo Solutions - Supplementing the Strategy with Proactive Monitoring Solutions 

The best initiatives need a measurable action plan to monitor progress. Solutions such as Darktrace Antigena from Novigo Solutions provide an autonomous response to any cyber threat. Darktrace, in particular, is a self-learning, dynamic framework that determines appropriate responses to attacks.  

Often, security admins struggle with insider threats within the organization. These include interruptions of malicious insiders as well as unexpected loss of data. Cyber threats often target IoT devices. In such cases, it becomes imperative to stop the attack from spreading and prevent the extrication of sensitive data from these devices. For such scenarios, Novigo Solutions provides reliable solutions tailored to challenge organizational-specific cyber threats.  

Altogether, as remote working becomes the norm and multiple devices are used in and out of the office, HR plays a key role in ensuring that security and compliance policies are adhered to. Cyber threats are becoming more personalized, adaptive, and sophisticated, necessitating a collaborative effort between HR and IT security departments. 

In that light, it's best to leave the task of cybersecurity solutions to the experts. Get in touch today

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