The human connection to information security : A qualitative study on policy development, communication and compliance in government agencies

University essay from Högskolan i Skövde/Institutionen för informationsteknologi

Abstract: The human factor and insider threats play a crucial role in information security. In today’s digital age, protecting organizational data requires a deep understanding of human behaviour and its impact on information security. The increasing volume of electronically stored data has led to a rise in cyber threats and breaches, necessitating effective information security policies and regulations. This study focuses on the experiences and perspectives of employees and top management in government agencies regarding the development, communication, compliance, and attitudes towards information security policies and regulations. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants from both top management or information security officers and regular employees, which allowed for an in-depth exploration of their experiences and perspectives. The findings show that government agencies systematically develop policies by engaging stakeholders, ensuring accessibility, and adhering to legal frameworks. Addressing the human factor involves training, awareness programs, and top management support. Policy development and implementation include risk assessment, stakeholder identification, objective setting, continuous review, and integration into daily operations. Communication channels such as intranets, training, coordinators, and awareness events are utilized, but their effectiveness is not directly measured. Proposed improvements include enhancing accessibility, improving policy document management, and using clearer language. Employees generally possess a positive attitude towards information security, though their understanding varies, and challenges to their understanding include complex language and unclear instructions. Compliance also varies, with difficulties arising from technical terminology and information overload. Enhanced compliance can be achieved through simplified language, providing better resources, and top management support. Proactive incident management focuses on learning and risk minimization. The human factor and insider threats remain significant concerns, which emphasizes the need for further education, awareness training, and motivation. 

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