Tech and Community

Community Involvement is the Answer to Cybersecurity

By Laura Baker, Executive Director of CyberWyoming

I've only told this story twice and the second time was on the SBDC podcast, so I guess the secret to my motivation is out.
Laura Baker
CyberWyoming

Multidisciplinary Influences

Social Work and Mental Health

In 1999, I was driving to a meeting of the minds between Denver area community mental health centers, representing Jefferson Center for Mental Health’s systems development department.  I was a business analyst, which meant that I was the liaison between the counselors, social workers, and program managers and IT.  I translated their system needs from ‘mental health business’ to ‘tech’.  The Denver area community mental health centers had a strong collaborative background, especially when it came to systems support, design, and technology, so I was attending the meeting.

As I was driving North to Adams County, a major traumatic event was occurring at Columbine High School and I was listening to it unfold on the radio.  As I reached the meeting, we were all stunned.  The school shooting was evolving.

You have to remember that Golden, CO housed the first Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) in the nation.  Jefferson county was progressive.  Our law enforcement in the different cities in the county were cooperative, open to training on mental health issues, and hell bent on protecting our kids. School shootings shouldn’t happen here!

But it did, and the community reacted, including Jefferson Center for Mental Health.  They lived and breathed community support.  It made a huge impression on me.  

While working at Jefferson Center, I learned constructive conflict techniques, social work theories of behavior change, and positive interventions.  All of these influence what we do at CyberWyoming.

The answer to managing cyber risks is the business community.  It is your accountant tightening up your accounts payable processes, your attorney reviewing your employee manual that includes your security policies, your insurance agent clearly explaining what this cyberliability policy helps you with, your PR/marketing firm that does your website designing it securely and checking out all those Word Press plug ins and APIs, your employees understanding that they are responsible for protecting your information, and your company leaders clearly communicating that it is always okay to ask questions when you think you are being phished.

Plus Marketing

Marketing has served me well my entire career.  If you know your audience well and fit a solution to their problem, you will be successful.

Businesses understand marketing, so why not use this technique to train employees about cybersecurity issues that are faced in each workday?  Most often, human decisions are what cause data breaches.  So, borrow CyberWyoming’s no-think internal marketing and awareness campaigns or make your own, but use it to change your company culture to become more security aware.

Plus Psychology

Psychology makes cybersecurity meaningful to us as individuals.  In a book called Human Hacking, individual risk factors are discussed and we use those to make cybersecurity training and awareness campaigns that make sense.  

If you are a productive, extraverted, conscientious problem solver, then you are more at risk for clicking when you shouldn’t.  And the top 5 breach sources each year are usually human based.

It doesn’t really matter what antivirus software is used if the people in a company don’t know what their data care responsibilities are.  

From the 2023 Oh Behave! The Annual Cybersecurity Attitudes and Behaviors Report by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and CYBSAFE

Plus Linguistics with Tech

We address tech terminology with the field of linguistics.  This is another part of really understanding your audience and using the right words.

An intern recently asked why Multi Factor or Two Factor Authentication wasn’t just “double” authentication.  It is a brilliant example of how the tech world has over complicated concepts.  You sign in two different ways – double authentication.  So much simpler!

Understanding technical terminology is like learning Spanish.  You may know a few words, but when you get down to Mexico you may feel too shy to speak it or maybe the Mexicans are speaking too fast and you don’t understand.

Demystifying the technical terms and including practical business applications is what business leaders need.  They don’t need to know how the network works, but they do need to know that risky devices should be kept off of it.

And it works!

So, when we focus on understanding the community, the person, the language, and apply business concepts, Wyoming business leaders gain a lot of confidence.

We invite you to join us for Wyoming’s Cybersecurity Competition for Small Business in 2024.  Pre-register by October 31 and you’ll receive cookies from Laramie’s Golden Prairie Bakery.  Register today or find out more: https://cyberwyoming.org/programs/competition/

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