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  • Inside Out Communications Consulting

How to stay safe online

Our founder, Danielle Phillips, talks about the importance of cyber safety and the launch of our new programme campaign

As modern organisations, we have a number of threats and risks that we have to manage everyday and cyber attacks are one of those. As leaders of those organisations, it’s our responsibility to give our people the tools, the skills, and the information they need to be able to manage those risks and to understand how they can protect themselves and the organisation against cyber crime.

CyberSafe, our new cyber safety communications and behaviour change programme, aims to help people in bite-sized chunks and through regular conversation, understand what the threats are, and how they can help themselves, and protect themselves and your organisation from those threats.

Why we focus on cyber safety

I’ve worked in internal communications for the majority of my career. It’s a role that gives you a strategic view over the entire organisation, and it’s a privileged position to be in. You can very quickly spot areas that need extra support.

I have worked with colleagues in IT for many years now and could see how concerned they were about cyber security. More and more, cyber security has grown to become one of, if not the, biggest risk facing a number of companies and teams I’ve worked with.

Alone, my IT colleagues weren’t able to get the support they needed from the business to drive awareness of cyber safety and really change peoples’ behaviour - and that’s where I stepped in to support from a communications and engagement perspective.

When it comes to something as big, broad and sometimes scary as cyber security and understanding the risks and threats at play, you need to work in partnership with communications, HR, training, learning and development, strategy, and the IT team. CyberSafe aims to bring all of that together for you.

Why should organisations prioritise cyber safety more

What’s become more apparent over the last couple of years is that the threats are more broad, and they’re no longer focused on financial services or the technology sectors. They’re targeting anyone and everyone.

The Higher Education sector in particular now faces a lot of threats around malware and ransomware, and that’s because research within Higher Education is a highly prized entity. Whether that’s medical, scientific, or other research, it’s a huge asset that criminals want to get their hands on. Organisations have to be mindful of how they protect their information and make sure that it's behind a locked door and people can’t get hold of it.

Similarly, data on individuals and from SMEs is a massive prize. We’ve seen breaches that mean organisations have to pay large sums of money out to ensure that this data isn’t released. And for SMEs, it can mean that they’re often unable to trade whilst this is happening, and it’s costing them hundreds of thousands in some instances. The price is so high for everyone that we’re at a point now where we have to do something about it.

We believe that equipping your teams, employees or students with the knowledge and the information that they need to be able to fight these criminals is the best form of protection. After all, knowledge is power and this is the best way to give your people the power they need to thwart these criminals and stay safe.

The approach we take at Inside Out

CyberSafe focuses on three core areas:

1. Raising awareness of cyber safety through engaging, targeted communications.

2. Developing the skills to be cyber safe through interactive learning.

3. Ensuring sustainable ways of managing cyber safety by embedding it into the fabric of your organisation.

Earlier in my career, I was heavily involved in helping people understand health and safety in the workplace through internal communications and engagement. I saw how valuable and how important it was to make health and safety real to people by telling stories about individuals that they knew, or that did similar jobs, and outlining the sorts of issues that they faced and how others had overcome them.

It made it real, and it made people recognise that this could happen to them too. That was when the change happened. The difference in people’s belief, spirit, their commitment to the organisation, their understanding of health and safety hugely increased, I would say it was a seismic change.

I believe this same approach can be applied to organisations going through technology change and digital transformation and to highlight to employees the real threats that cyber attacks pose and how to prevent them.

My top three cyber security tips to live by

1. Get a Password Manager

Developing strong passwords and changing them regularly is important but it’s also important not to use the same one for every login. I’m not expecting anyone to remember them all, so a password manager downloaded on your phone and other devices can take care of that for you.

2. Have a healthy scepticism

Having a very healthy scepticism over text messages and emails that I receive is important. If I don't know the sender, typically I don't open the email. Now, obviously, there are times when we do get emails from organisations that we don’t know that we must open. But what I often do in that instance if I’m not familiar with the name of the organisation is I’ll Google it. Or if I get a text message from a number I don't know I'll Google it, that’s one thing I can do to stay safe.

3. Schedule your updates

When you get an update reminder on your phone to say ‘your software needs to be updated’, I think we all roll our eyes and think ‘I haven’t got time for this now’. What I do then is I set a diary reminder for myself to do it that night, so when I plug my phone in I start the update. Or similarly if it comes onto my computer during the day when I’m working, and clearly in the middle of a call or something, then I’ll set it to auto-update when I know I’ll be finished working, and I’ll keep the computer on and plugged in. So for me it’s about not putting it off until tomorrow, but making sure that I’ve scheduled it.

Let us do the work

Our cyber safety communications and behaviour change programme, CyberSafe, contains everything your people need to know to keep themselves and your organisation safe online. It follows science-backed change management and behaviour change methodologies, proven to support long-term behaviour change.

Getting your people on board and engaged with cyber safety is key to keeping your cyber security high, and your cyber security investments worthwhile. We’d love to talk to you about how we could put our knowledge and expertise to good use to keep you and your team safe from cyber criminals.

Feeling stuck or need help bringing your communications ideas to life? Curious about what CyberSafe could do for your organisation? Send us an email or visit our website


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