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What is Adaptive Human Security?

What is Adaptive Human Security?

Responding to human risk
Max Kurton, CultureAI
By Max Kurton
9th May 2023
Security Awareness Pros

In the long term, adaptive human protection aims to offer greater freedom for employees. At the same time, the widely accepted cyber security mantra asserts that "security is everyone's responsibility," and adaptive human protection seeks to move beyond this.

This journey begins by instilling a security culture, eliminating unnecessary compliance activities, and introducing capabilities that make it challenging for humans to make wrong decisions.

This approach allows us to envision a future where previously required practices can be safely abandoned as they become redundant. Once cyber security is no longer everyone's responsibility, employees can focus on their daily tasks and achieve their goals, all while remaining protected from cyber threats—even if they make a mistake.

Adaptive human security isn't just about keeping your organisation safe; it's about making security a seamless and integral part of everyday life.

Adaptive Human Security Defined

In a nutshell, adaptive human security involves seamlessly guiding employees' actions in an appropriate and timely manner while also adapting technology to prevent security lapses without necessitating conscious decisions from individuals.

Traditional security awareness and training programmes often focus on providing employees with the necessary information about potential threats and best practices to follow. While this is certainly important, adaptive human security takes things further by incorporating key principles that promote a more proactive, resilient, and adaptable response to security challenges.

These key principles include:

  1. Personalisation: Adaptive human security acknowledges that every individual is unique in their understanding of and response to security threats. By tailoring training and education to suit each employee's needs, organisations can ensure a more effective and engaging learning experience.

  2. Continuous learning: In the ever-evolving world of cyber threats, static one-time training sessions are insufficient. Adaptive human security encourages ongoing learning and development, providing employees with regular updates, refresher courses, and opportunities to expand their security knowledge.

  3. Contextual awareness: Rather than simply teaching employees about potential threats, adaptive human security emphasises the importance of understanding the context in which these threats may arise. This helps employees make informed decisions and respond appropriately in real-life situations.

  4. Behavioural change: Ultimately, adaptive human security aims to inspire a lasting change in employee behaviour. This approach focuses on empowering individuals to take ownership of their actions, promoting a sense of personal responsibility for the organisation's overall security.

By adopting these principles, adaptive human security becomes an integral part of employees' everyday work lives. It encourages a culture of vigilance, where individuals are not only aware of potential threats but also equipped with the skills and confidence to respond effectively. In this way, adaptive human security goes beyond mere awareness; it fosters a mindset that prioritises security, leading to a more resilient and secure organisation.

How Cyber Security Is Evolving

Employees are constantly juggling numerous tasks and responsibilities, and while security is undeniably important, it can't always be at the forefront of their minds. This is where the evolution of cyber security and the adoption of adaptive human security come into play.

Current security awareness and training methods often fail to capture employees' attention, as they can be seen as outdated, dull, or just another item on an already lengthy to-do list. Static training materials, infrequent sessions, and a lack of personalisation contribute to a sense of disconnection from the training content. With the rapid pace at which cyber threats are evolving, it's more important than ever for organisations to invest in effective and engaging security training methods that resonate with employees.

Enter the world of adaptive human security, an approach that takes the evolving nature of cyber security into account and recognises the need for a more dynamic, data-driven, and personalised way of addressing security challenges. By utilising patterns of behaviour through data, organisations can better understand their employees' strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to tailor training and interventions accordingly. This not only keeps the content relevant but also ensures that employees remain engaged and invested in their security education.

Just-in-time interventions play a vital role in adaptive human security by providing real-time feedback and guidance when an employee encounters a potential security threat. This allows individuals to learn from their mistakes and improve their security awareness in a practical, hands-on manner. Security nudges, such as reminders or prompts, can also be used to gently steer employees towards more secure behaviours, making security an integral part of their daily routine.

When it comes to incident response and remediation, adaptive human security emphasises the importance of learning from security incidents and implementing improvements based on the lessons learned. This proactive approach ensures that organisations are continually refining their security measures and staying one step ahead of potential threats.

How cyber security is evolving

In essence, the evolution of cyber security necessitates a shift in the way organisations approach security awareness and training. Adaptive human security bridges this gap by leveraging the power of data, personalisation, and real-time interventions to create a more engaging, effective, and ultimately, secure environment for employees. By embracing this approach, organisations can ensure that security becomes not just another item on the agenda, but an essential aspect of their employees' day-to-day work lives.

The Long-Term Vision of Adaptive Human Security

As we've explored the concept of adaptive human security and how it's shaping the cyber security landscape, it's time to take a step back and consider the long-term vision behind this approach. With the ever-changing nature of security threats, it's crucial for organisations to adopt a forward-thinking mindset, ensuring that they remain ahead of the curve in their security efforts. The ultimate goal of adaptive human security is to create a resilient, security-conscious culture where individuals feel empowered to take ownership of their digital security and safeguard their own data and privacy.

First and foremost, it's essential to acknowledge that security threats are dynamic and multifaceted, meaning that a one-size-fits-all approach simply won't cut it. As technology advances and cyber criminals become more sophisticated, new threats will inevitably emerge. By adopting adaptive human security, organisations can ensure that their security strategies remain agile and responsive to the ever-evolving landscape of cyber risks.

Cultivating a security-conscious mindset is another crucial aspect of the long-term vision for adaptive human security. This involves moving beyond simple awareness of potential threats and embracing a proactive, vigilant approach to digital security. By fostering a culture where individuals take responsibility for their actions, organisations can create an environment where security is a top priority for everyone, rather than just the responsibility of a dedicated security team.

{The long-term vision of adaptive human security}

Empowering individuals to take ownership of their digital security is a central tenet of adaptive human security. By providing employees with the necessary tools, resources, and support, organisations can ensure that each person feels confident in their ability to recognise and respond to potential threats. This not only bolsters the organisation's overall security posture but also leads to a more engaged, motivated, and security-conscious workforce.

Finally, safeguarding one's own data and privacy is a critical component of the long-term vision for adaptive human security. With the increasing prevalence of data breaches and privacy concerns, individuals need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to protect their personal information. By promoting a sense of personal responsibility for digital security, adaptive human security encourages individuals to take an active role in safeguarding their data, thereby contributing to the organisation's overall security efforts.

How to Start Managing Human Risk Now

While the long-term vision of adaptive human security is undoubtedly ambitious, it's essential for organisations to take practical steps in implementing Human Risk Management to overcome the current shortcomings of security awareness and training. By laying the groundwork for a culture of security, you can start to create an environment where individuals are empowered to play an active role in safeguarding the organisation from security threats.

The importance of addressing human risk today cannot be overstated. As cyber threats continue to grow in sophistication and frequency, relying on outdated security awareness and training methods leaves organisations vulnerable to breaches and attacks. Furthermore, the consequences of security incidents, such as reputational damage, financial loss, and regulatory penalties, can be devastating for businesses. It's no longer sufficient to focus solely on technological defences; organisations must invest in their most valuable asset – their employees. By proactively managing human risk and cultivating a security-conscious mindset among staff, businesses can bolster their overall security posture and build a resilient organisation that is better prepared to face the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats.

Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your organisation's adaptive human security culture. The journey towards a more secure and resilient workplace will require time, effort, and commitment from all levels of the organisation. However, by taking these initial steps, you'll be well on your way to creating a strong foundation for the long-term vision of adaptive human security.

Focus on Building a Cyber Security Culture

One of the most crucial steps to managing human risk is building a culture of cyber security within your organisation. This involves going beyond mere awareness campaigns and creating an environment where security is present in employees' minds as they go about their day-to-day tasks. By fostering a strong security culture, you can encourage staff to be vigilant and proactive in identifying and addressing potential threats.

To avoid security fatigue, it's essential to strike a balance between keeping security top of mind and not overwhelming employees with constant reminders and alerts. The key is to integrate security seamlessly into their daily routines, ensuring that they remain vigilant without feeling burdened by it. Regularly sharing relevant security updates and best practices can help to maintain this balance, as well as promoting open communication channels for employees to report concerns or incidents.

Relevant training plays a vital role in building a cyber security culture. Tailor your training programmes to suit the specific needs of your employees, taking into account their roles and the unique security challenges they may face. By delivering engaging and personalised training, you can ensure that employees remain invested in their security education and are better equipped to respond to potential threats.

Gamification can also be a powerful tool in promoting a culture of cyber security. Implement leaderboards and rewards systems to recognise and celebrate employees who exhibit exemplary security behaviour. This not only encourages staff to take security seriously but also fosters a sense of healthy competition and camaraderie within the organisation.

By making security present of mind, avoiding fatigue, providing relevant training, and leveraging gamification strategies, you can cultivate a security-conscious workforce that is better prepared to face the challenges of today's cyber landscape.

Broaden Your Definition of Risky Behaviour

To effectively manage human risk, it's essential for organisations to broaden their definition of risky behaviour. Traditional approaches to assessing risk often focus on past behaviour, surveys, or a limited set of factors, which may not provide a comprehensive understanding of an individual's security habits. By considering a wider range of factors and behaviours, organisations can better identify potential vulnerabilities and tailor their security strategies accordingly.

One key aspect of broadening your definition of risky behaviour is recognising that there are more than 40 different behaviours that can contribute to security incidents. These behaviours can range from the more obvious, such as clicking on suspicious links or sharing passwords, to the less evident, such as posting PII in public channels or logging in from an out-of-date device. By taking a more holistic approach to evaluating risk, organisations can gain a deeper insight into the complex interplay of factors that contribute to human error and security breaches.

Utilising relevant data from the tech stack within an organisation that employees use every day can provide valuable information about potential risk factors.

It's also important to recognise that risky behaviour is not static and can change over time. As employees' roles and responsibilities evolve, so too can their exposure to different security threats. To account for this, ensure that your risk assessments are updated regularly and reflect any changes in employees' work environments or duties.

By broadening your definition of risky behaviour, you can create a more nuanced and accurate understanding of human risk within your organisation. This, in turn, enables you to implement targeted and effective security strategies that address the specific needs of your employees. Ultimately, a comprehensive approach to risk assessment is a vital component of managing human risk and fostering a strong cyber security culture.

Educate & Train Your Employees

An essential part of managing human risk and fostering a strong cyber security culture is the education and training of your employees. Providing relevant, engaging, and adaptive training content not only equips your workforce with the necessary skills to identify and respond to potential threats but also instils a sense of personal responsibility for maintaining the organisation's security.

When providing training programmes, focus on short, interactive modules that are tailored to the specific needs of your employees. By creating content that is relevant to their roles and the unique security challenges they may face, you can increase engagement and ensure that your training sessions are both meaningful and effective.

One way to personalise your training is by leveraging behaviour measurements to adapt content to each employee's risk and behaviour profile. By doing so, you can provide targeted training that addresses the specific vulnerabilities and areas of improvement for each individual. This not only makes the training more impactful but also helps employees understand the importance of their actions in contributing to the organisation's overall security posture.

To encourage training completion, implement custom automated reminder workflows that gently remind employees to complete their modules. By integrating these reminders into their daily routines, you can ensure that security training remains present of mind without overwhelming or hindering their day-to-day tasks.

Finally, invest in easy-to-understand, shareable dashboards that allow for reporting on compliance and training engagement. These dashboards can help you monitor the progress of your training initiatives, identify areas where additional support may be needed, and demonstrate the value of your security education efforts to stakeholders within the organisation.

How CultureAI Is Moving Towards Adaptive Human Security

As we've explored the concept of adaptive human security and its importance in managing human risk, it's time to look at how CultureAI is implementing this approach and helping organisations move towards a more secure future.

At CultureAI, we champion the importance of Human Risk Management which is the next logical step towards true adaptive human security. By providing a platform designed to improve cyber security behaviours and reduce security incidents caused by employees, we're committed to making adaptive human security a reality for organisations worldwide.

Our platform incorporates the key steps discussed throughout this blog, ensuring that organisations can effectively manage human risk by:

  1. Focusing on building a cyber security culture, where security is seamlessly integrated into employees' daily routines and consistently present of mind.

  2. Broadening the definition of risky behaviour, taking into account over 40 different behaviours and a wide range of factors to create a more comprehensive understanding of human risk.

  3. Providing relevant, adaptive, and engaging training content that caters to each employee's unique risk and behaviour profile, ensuring that security education is both effective and meaningful.

By utilising the CultureAI platform, organisations can not only benefit from our expertise in human risk management but also gain access to a suite of tools and resources designed to help them cultivate a strong cyber security culture. From personalised training modules and automated reminder workflows to easy-to-understand, shareable dashboards, our platform empowers organisations to take control of their human risk and build a more secure and resilient future.

Adaptive human security will be a vital component of any organisation's cyber security strategy, and CultureAI is at the forefront of this movement through human risk management. By partnering with us, organisations can leverage our expertise and innovative platform to manage human risk effectively and work towards a more secure future for all.

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