What is Your Security Culture?

Tasha D. Dyson Security Program Development


These two signs provide the same basic security advice. What makes them different? The culture of the organization.

signs-culture

The sign on the left appears in parking decks owned by the City of Raleigh. Similar signs are found in other municipal, government, and public parking lots and decks. “Lock-Take-Hide” is a good, quick reminder to protect vehicles and property in parking lots. The message is direct, simple, and efficient.

The sign on the right appears in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel. It says essentially the same thing as “Lock-Take-Hide” but in a much different way. The sign is also direct, simple, and efficient, but it is “neighborly” and friendly. It uses a different font and a color scheme that matches with the company brand.

Security Culture

The design of these signs is intentionally different, and they’re also a metaphor for how different organizations view security.

When you think of security, do you think about guards, locks, badges, and bars? Do you think about protecting assets?

When providing security information, do you demand that people follow policies and procedures? Do you encourage good security practices? Do you allow security procedures to be circumvented or ignored?

When thinking about critical events, do you think “it could never happen here”? Or do you think “it’s only a matter of time before that happens here”?

Every organization has security concerns that need to be addressed, and there’s always more than one way to solve a problem. Security measures will be more likely to succeed if they consider the culture of the organization.

Imagine these signs in the opposite locations. Picture “Lock-Take-Hide” at Cracker Barrel and the “neighborly reminder” in a municipal parking deck. Based on the culture of each organization, would the switched signs be as effective?

Never underestimate the importance of culture when developing security solutions.