What is a Nudge Security Strategy?

A nudge security strategy is an approach that leverages nudges to create behavioral changes in employees to implement cybersecurity best practices.  Nudges are simple reminders or prompts that encourage or remind users to address security vulnerabilities that they control.  For example, a user password may be flagged as being weak, or a message might point out that multi-factor authentication is not enabled for a SaaS application.  The theory is to leverage employees as the first line of defense and building a culture of security that goes beyond the traditional methods for tracking and assessing a company’s security posture. 

Designing and implementing a nudge security strategy requires robust SaaS discovery and risk assessment that translates security shortcomings into actionable tasks for an average employee. Much of the work also involves creating the appropriate nudges, since users will respond differently.  For example, for some users a simple pop-up message may suffice, while others may need multiple email or other messages that include graphics and information about the consequences of bad cybersecurity practices. Given human nature, a nudge security strategy where user action is not mandatory may have limited effectiveness.  

Though building a more security-oriented culture is important, it is unknown whether a nudge security strategy can achieve it.  Nudges, by definition, are simple, unobtrusive, and not mandatory.  This means that users still have a choice.  The behavior is not changed by implementing restrictions.  Instead, the user is educated and encouraged to modify their behavior for greater cybersecurity.  

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