In September, LORIC’s Open Data Analyst gave a presentation at the Lincolnshire Women Entrepreneur’s Brunch on cyber security and how lessons learned from the home can carry on in the workplace. Katya, who is finishing her PhD in Intergenerational Perception of Risk and Trust in Social Media Technologies, demonstrated how the core principles of trust and mutual respect carry into the world of work, helping companies protect their assets and manage risk online:

  • It’s important to trust your coworkers and partners on social media/the online world in general
  • Everyone is worried about abuse, cyber crime, inappropriate content, saying the wrong thing and losing all your business contacts
  • “How do we even use this?” – everyone is anxious about doing the right thing

Looking at popular headlines, it’s easy to assume that cybersecurity must always be outsourced and delegated. In reality, though, the online world concerns us all, since it is the place where we: find clients , make sales, design our products, test out new ideas, learn about new trends, put our virtual storefronts, build trust, develop relationships with our clients, learn about cool events, watch our inspirational TED talks, pick up new techniques, learn about new products, do market research, scope our competition, pay our taxes, manage our money, and more.

At the end of the day, we can all contribute to our companies’ cybersecurity by:

  1. Staying informed about the topic.
  2. Talking to people about the things that worry you.
  3. Collaborating on solutions (i.e. This scam email almost got us, what do we do so that this doesn’t happen again?)
  4. Leading with curiosity: What about this appeals to us as a business? What about this repeals me? (Social media marketing? Having a website? Scoping the competition?) Is it something you can research?
  5. Maintaining healthy scepticism instead of making unreasonable demands.
  6. Modelling the behaviours you want to see from your employees and business partners.
  7. Managing how much you share.

Most importantly, you need to think about why you trust someone. Are they someone you know? Someone you respect? Are they a person whose judgement you rely on? We tend to put a lot of trust in mutual connections – even friends-of-friends – and we tend to put a lot of effort in maintaining those relationships, but it is important to think critically about the information you share in these situations and whether it is useful to the company in the long term or not.

In business, quality matters – including the quality of our connections. Transparency also matters – even if it is transparency about “We’re not big on social media, but here’s our website, we’d love it if you dropped us a line.” Having boundaries is important – it means we can manage risk better. And trust is crucial because we can approach problems as a team and work autonomously when the work is going well.

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