Why a supportive security culture will bolster disaster recovery efforts during a cyberattack
Posted: Monday, Sep 25

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Why a supportive security culture will bolster disaster recovery efforts during a cyberattack

In today’s complex and fast-moving threat landscape, cybercriminals continuously adapt their tactics to breach systems and gain access to sensitive data. Therefore, building a strong security culture of awareness, trust and openness has become critical to mitigating breaches and enhancing disaster recovery efforts during cyberattacks.

Understanding security culture & avoiding the pitfalls

Security culture encompasses an organisation’s employees’ collective security knowledge, attitudes and behaviours. It extends to all aspects of security, including cyber security, information security and physical security. Additionally, it encompasses organisational elements such as policies, procedures and governance.

One of the common pitfalls in security culture is a punitive workplace environment, where employees are reprimanded or punished for unintentionally contributing to a cyber breach. This type of blame culture discourages open communication and hinders incident reporting, leading to more severe consequences in the event of a data breach. 

Employees may need more personal buy-in to the organisation’s security measures and might not prioritise cybersecurity, assuming it is someone else’s job. This mindset can have disastrous consequences as it creates gaps that cybercriminals exploit.

What causes a poor security culture?

A punitive regime leads to a poor security culture and these rigid fear-based work environments provide cybercriminals with exploitable opportunities. This type of organisational culture inadvertently aids cybercriminals in their nefarious activities by allowing them to capitalise on human error and psychological vulnerabilities.

  1. Increased Leverage on Human Error: Punitive cultures breed fear and anxiety among employees, making them more susceptible to mistakes. A stressed and paranoid workforce is more likely to commit errors, such as clicking on phishing links or falling victim to social engineering tactics. Exploiting these lapses in judgment allows cybercriminals to gain unauthorised access to sensitive systems and data.


  1. Suppressed Reporting of Security Incidents: In a punitive environment, employees are often afraid of reporting potential security incidents, fearing severe consequences or even termination. This reluctance to come forward with security concerns delays the detection and response to cyber threats. As a result, cyber-attacks can go unnoticed for longer periods, allowing malicious actors to freely operate within the organisation’s network and wreak havoc.


  1. Escalation of Cyber Threats: Delayed reporting and response to security incidents enable cyber threats to spread and intensify. What could have been a minor breach if detected early may evolve into a full-scale data breach or system compromise in a punitive organisation. This escalation leads to more substantial data loss, prolonged disruption of operations and increased damage to the organisation’s reputation.


  1. Long-Term Financial Consequences: Cyber-attacks not only cause immediate damage but can also result in long-term financial repercussions for the organisation. In punitive cultures, the fear of punishment may lead employees to cover up incidents, which can worsen the attack’s impact and result in more significant losses. Additionally, regulatory authorities and compliance bodies may penalise the organisation for failing to report breaches promptly, leading to hefty fines and legal liabilities.


  1. Insider Threats and Sabotage: Punitive environments may create disgruntled employees who feel undervalued, unfairly treated, or unappreciated. In some cases, these employees might seek revenge through insider threats or sabotage, collaborating with external cybercriminals to carry out attacks against the organisation they perceive as hostile.

The Role of a Supportive Security Culture in Disaster Recovery

To counter these vulnerabilities and protect against cyber threats, organisations must build a culture of openness, trust and proactive cybersecurity awareness. Encouraging employees to report potential security incidents without fear of reprisal allows for swift responses to cyber threats, limiting their impact and reducing the likelihood of successful attacks. 

Ultimately, fostering a positive and collaborative work environment can significantly strengthen an organisation’s cybersecurity posture and resilience against escalating cyber threats.

Cyber training is not enough

Facilitating regular training sessions on cybersecurity processes and policies, conducting frequent mock phishing tests to assess employee awareness and regularly engaging employees in the wider cybersecurity conversation can strengthen the cybersecurity culture in a company. This awareness can empower employees to recognise and avoid common cyber threats, making them the first line of defence against cybercriminals.

While cyber training is helpful, other safeguards should be in place to identify and prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to an organisation’s IT environment. When employees can recognise phishing attacks and understand the importance of strong passwords and multifactor authentication (MFA), the organisation is much more challenging to breach.

With cybercriminals increasingly targeting human vulnerabilities, organisations must focus on empowering analysts to investigate authentication fatigue and provide meaningful training based on lessons learned.


In the battle against cyber threats, everyone within an organisation plays a critical role in safeguarding its people and data. The burden of cybersecurity should not rest solely on the shoulders of the cybersecurity team.

Organisations can significantly reduce the likelihood of costly breaches by fostering a supportive security culture that encourages all staff to report cyber incidents without the fear of personal consequences. 

Embracing a security culture of trust, collaboration and empowerment will enable organisations to enhance their disaster recovery efforts and better protect themselves against cyberattacks in this ever-evolving digital landscape.

Alex Tilley
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