24.02.2022 / Article

Cybersecurity-related communications challenges

According to current studies, cybersecurity is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses, and a decisive key in the fight against cybercrime is the human factor. Read this article to find out how to not only inform employees, but also ensure their participation in the fight against cybercrime.

The threat of cybercrime is growing

According to recent studies1 cybersecurity is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses. The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) assesses the situation as “serious to critical”, while some areas are already classified “code red”. The threat of cyberattacks has reached an all-time high.

According to industry association Bitkom, 86 percent of companies say they have suffered damage as a result of a cyberattack in the past year – and the trend is rising. Bitkom estimates that cyberattacks inflict €223 billion2 in damage to the German economy annually – and this trend is also rising. The rising utilisation of home office and remote work has increased the risk even further, as employees work outside protected IT environments.

The challenge for companies: informing and activating employees

In most companies, the IT department usually takes care of technical IT protection. However, the main gateway for cyberattacks is people. Some 95 percent of IT security breaches are caused by human error.3 This should not lead to finger-pointing: no one is immune from cyberattacks, because they are becoming increasingly sophisticated and ruthless. It should result in providing employees with targeted information, creating awareness and generating concern.

This is exactly where the internal communications campaign, which SKM Consultants is currently implementing for a large German energy supplier and distribution network operator, comes in. The multimedia campaign is designed in three steps: in the first step, a common foundation of information is established; step two creates awareness among employees as to the extent and nature of the threat; and the third and most important step is to specifically generate concern among employees.

Based on core messages that run as a common thread throughout the campaign, videos featuring management and those affected by cyberattacks are used, as well as video interviews with well-known IT security experts. The simulation of an actual hacking attack helps to create more awareness of the threats, while a series of articles also accompanies the campaign. An evaluation takes place in the form of an anonymous employee survey.

The aim is not only to sensitise employees to the threats, but also to activate them emotionally and thus ensure their participation. The aim is also to strengthen the digital competence of the workforce – from the gate to the executive level – and to provide suitable assistance that is informative and entertaining, for example in the form of checklists, an animated explanatory film or daily cybersecurity tips.

 

1
Allianz Risk Barometer 2022
Communications Trend Radar, Akademic Society for Management and Communication

2
Press release from 05.08.2021, digital association bitkom

3
15 facts about Cybersecurity, Cybersolutions
Information of the german 'Bundesamts für Sicherheit und Informationstechnik (BSI)
'

 

picture credits:
@TheDigitalArtist
Pixabay

Would you like to create more awareness among your employees when it comes to the topic of cybersecurity?

Please feel free to contact me.

Dr. Thomas Daubenbüchel
+49 211 557945-0