Celebrate Earth Day 2023! Cyber security professionals are recognizing the role that they can play in supporting environmental sustainability initiatives and realizing how sustainability intersects with cyber security.
In considering the environmental impact of security-related initiatives, cyber security professionals can not only contribute to a more sustainable future, but also enhance the overall security and resilience of their organizations.
In this article, we’ll explore 10 actionable tips that can assist cyber security professionals in supporting environmental sustainability while also elevating their cyber security posture and advancing resilience capabilities.
1. Conduct an audit. As a cyber security professional, review data security policies and procedures to ensure that they’re aligned with environmental sustainability goals.
For example, consider reviewing data retention policies and then recommend changes that could minimize the energy and resources required to store data over time.
2. Green your IT infrastructure. Seek out ways to optimize your IT infrastructure for energy efficiency. This could include using virtual servers, upgrading to more energy-efficient hardware and reducing paper usage.
3. Promote energy conservation. Implement power management policies for equipment by setting up automatic power-saving modes and scheduling regular shut-downs, which can reduce energy consumption. You can also encourage employees to turn off computers, monitors and other office equipment when the equipment is not in use.
4. Encourage green procurement. Encourage the procurement of environmentally-friendly products and services. In addition, work with vendors to adopt sustainable practices, including prioritization of sustainable sourcing practices.
5. Leverage virtual meetings. To offset the carbon footprint that derives from travel, use video conferencing and other virtual meeting tools to communicate (if you’re not already doing so).
When meeting virtually, secure your meetings. Ensure that your team’s meetings are secured with passwords and that only authorized participants are able to join. Encryption can protect the confidentiality of meetings, helping ensure that sensitive information is not leaked at a later point in time.
6. Encourage recycling. If working from a physical office, ensure that it’s easy for employees to recycle paper, plastics, and old electronic equipment.
7. Delve into data center details. Consider conducting data center energy assessments to identify areas in which energy usage can be reduced. This may involve identifying equipment that is not energy efficient, optimizing cooling and power management systems, and reviewing data center policies — all in an effort to reduce the resources required to operate the data center.
8. Promote sustainable supply chain practices. Encourage your organization’s suppliers to adopt sustainable practices, to adhere to ESG frameworks, and to reduce their environmental impact.
9. Measure progress. Establish metrics to measure the success of sustainability efforts and report on progress to management and stakeholders. Work with internal ESG managers to identify KPIs that align with the organization’s environmental and sustainability goals.
Develop reporting mechanisms that provide regular updates on your progress towards meeting sustainability objectives. Set up dashboards or other reporting tools that provide real-time data on environmental impact.
10. Educate employees about the importance of both cyber security and sustainability. Cyber security professionals can play a role in promoting cyber security and sustainability awareness among employees.
Consider providing practical training and resources that highlight the connection between cyber security and environmental sustainability. In addition, share relevant news articles, case studies and best practices to help employees stay up-to-date on these topics.
By following these tips, cyber security professionals can not only promote environmental sustainability, but also enhance the overall security and resilience of organizations, contributing to a more sustainable and secure future.
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