Cyber Security: How to Provide a Safe, Secure Space for People to Work

October 20th, 2020

Creating a Culture of Education Around Cyber Security

When it comes to cyber security training, less is more. Determine what is necessary and make it mandatory compliance training. The balance can be subtle and served through a variety of media. Ideally, it will not even feel like training. For example, record a brief video, narrate over a few PowerPoint slides, or host Q&A sessions for any cyber security questions.

It is no longer realistic to base cyber security standards around employees keeping their personal and professional activities separate. By educating employees about digital security in their personal lives, it will extend into their business activities. Additionally, employees will appreciate the trusted guidance.

Another of my training philosophies is having open communication absent of shaming. When someone is the victim of a cyber security scam, they feel shame. We need to move past this. If an employee reports being tricked by a suspicious email, link, call, etc., thank them and encourage them to share their experience with employees. This helps others protect themselves and your business.

Lessons Learned from the Unlikeliest of Places

In 2016, I joined the Cyber security team after two years of international travel. Together with my husband, we bicycled from Seattle to Singapore. The lessons I learned along the way were surprisingly relevant to my work in cyber security.

  1. Learning to communicate when you don’t share a common language was key for me both in work and in life. Professionally, I was able to translate cyber security or any tech speak to something employees could understand and relate to their daily responsibilities. More broadly, as our environment grows more diverse, we will continue to find ourselves interacting with people from different geographies, cultural backgrounds, and native languages. It is increasingly important for us to effectively communicate with our global citizens whether personally or professionally.
  2. Change has become the new normal. Being in a different location and needing to find food, water, and shelter each day forced me to live with change and uncertainty. Within a few weeks, it became normal and much less stressful. I became comfortable trusting that things would work out.

Agent of Influence Episode 12, Featuring Kristin Walsh

Areas of Cyber Security Focus in the Biotech Sector

Great cyber security is boring and some media have done a disservice to the industry by making it flashy and scary. Cyber security is about doing the preparation to provide a safe, secure space for people to work. Three main areas I would focus on are:

  1. Equipment Maintenance: Everything runs off software. Ensure the software is current with security patches applied. It can be a difficult balance between business and security when you need to take a money-making instrument offline to do a security upgrade. Having excellent cross-functional relationships so you can have those tough conversations is critical.
  2. Data Privacy: Ensure your systems are secured from the outside and you have alerting and monitoring mechanisms in place should the worst happen. Prevention only goes so far. You need to be prepared and practiced for what to do in the event of a breach. The speed to recognition and recovery is more important.
  3. Audit Trails: Ensure that the right information and the right discoveries are attributed to the right people. Audit trails are also key in cyber security investigations. When you are trying to determine whose PC or which server or what part of the network was infiltrated, that audit trail and an environment with open communication allows you to conduct a successful investigation.

About Kristin Walsh

Kristin Walsh has over 20 years of experience in roles covering program, project, and construction management, internal communications, and operations in logistics, biotech, and pharma companies ranging from very small companies to Fortune 500. She has been responsible for information security strategy and cyber security program development, disaster recovery, business continuity, facility relocations, and M&A planning. During her two years of traveling (www.twofargone.com), she gained a new perspective on communication, leading change, and being comfortable with uncertainty.


The views presented by Kristin are those of her own and do not necessarily represent the views of her employer or its subsidiaries.

Kristin Walsh

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