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Research: Cybersecurity Awareness Month participants show 33% higher trust in employer's security stance
New research from CybSafe has found that workers who participate in Cybersecurity Awareness Month (CAM) are significantly more likely to support their employer's cybersecurity efforts. 

The study, which asked 1,000 office workers across the UK and US about their awareness of, participation in, and opinions on the annual awareness month found 93% of those who took part in CAM believed their employer saw cybersecurity as an important issue, while only 60% of those who didn't partake in activities felt the same. 

Awareness of CAM remains low 

Only 23% of respondents were aware of CAM's existence, and of those, less than half (42%) knew it was held in October. Furthermore, only 15% of respondents reported their organization actively engaged them with activities and information during this month.

The findings indicate that many organizations do not prioritize CAM as an essential part of their security culture, potentially affecting employee awareness and involvement in cybersecurity initiatives.

CAM participants report significantly improved security behaviors

Employees who participated in Cybersecurity Awareness Month reported significantly improved security behaviors. Workers from organizations that actively participated in CAM were more likely to notice and report its positive impact, compared to the expectations of non-participating organizations. When respondents who don't participate were asked if their organization's participation in CAM would improve security behaviors, just over half (55%) believed it would. However, among those who participated, a significant 80% affirmed that CAM had improved security behaviors within their organization. This underscored the event's effectiveness in uniting employees around cybersecurity.

Interestingly, the improvements in behavior were not the only noteworthy outcome. The study also investigated the reasons why employees were motivated to participate, shedding light on the underlying drivers of engagement during Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

The impact of CAM on communal responsibility

Respondents who hadn't participated in Cybersecurity Awareness Month tended to view cybersecurity from a personal perspective, with 76% motivated by personal data protection and 55% concerned with organizational data protection.

In contrast, those who had participated showed a broader perspective. While 80% were concerned with personal protection, nearly as many (76%) were motivated by protecting the organization's information, highlighting a stronger sense of communal responsibility.

Additionally, over half (56%) of participants were motivated by compliance with company policy, and half were driven by a desire to excel in their roles. This broader desire to protect not only themselves, but also their organization, was significantly more common among CAM participants, suggesting that Cybersecurity Awareness Month effectively fostered a positive security culture in the workplace.

Reacting to the research, Dr Jason Nurse, Director of Science and Research at CybSafe, said: "It is clear that when it comes to employee opinions on their organization's cybersecurity stance, actions speak louder than words. The most striking aspect of the research is the profound impact of communal responsibility evident in the responses from those who participated in Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Not only do security behaviors improve, but the research also shows how leadership openly discussing and learning about cybersecurity permeates throughout the workforce. 

"People want to be part of the solution. When they are given the tools to improve, the results are undeniable. What we need now is greater awareness of the event and increased participation from more organizations."

To read the full report on the opinions and impacts of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, visit: www.cybsafe.com/press/who-cares-about-cybersecurity-awareness-month 

Published Wednesday, June 05, 2024 9:24 AM by David Marshall
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