Culture is one of those omnipresent concepts that is both totally obvious and yet often tough to define. You hear about it all the time, and feel like you know it, but trying to pin it down and explain it in words is a Sisyphean task. As a trained anthropologist, I have been trying to define the concept and its different iterations for over 10 years in many different geographical, digital, and organizational settings. While I still haven’t settled upon a final all-encompassing definition, I have noticed the recurrence of four underlying foundations that many of the most productive and inspiring organizational cultures have in common.
The foundations of a strong culture include:
- Shared experiences
- Shared knowledge
- Shared goals
- Shared norms
Building a Culture of Trust Around Cloud Security
Given the four foundations above, it stands to reason that if you want to foster a specific culture, for example around cloud security, you should provide experiences, knowledge, goals, and norms designed to enhance what you are trying to build. Here at Virtustream, our Trust team’s motto is “Security is Everyone’s Job,” but this only works if our entire team internalizes that information, experiences it, and understands how it can help us and our customers succeed. We believe that the vehicle of culture is the ideal way to accomplish this.
The Building Blocks
As a company predominately consisting of a remote workforce that is distributed around the world, reaching everyone is not easy, but we make it work. We provide shared experiences with competitions that promote security awareness or by sharing interesting case studies. We consistently share knowledge in our internal newsletters, during lunch & learn calls, by organizing eLearning classes, and through robust documentation. When a team member is not following a security best practice, we take the time to explain why this behavior goes against our shared norms and provide more direction. Finally, any time we communicate with other teams we reiterate our motto to establish a shared goal. After all, if we want to continue as an industry leading, mission-critical cloud service provider, then we need everyone to believe that “security is everyone’s job.”
A Strong Culture Benefits Your Company’s Customers
At Virtustream, we believe our relationships with customers and their experiences are the ultimate differentiator and the foundation for our success. Core to our relationships, we are constantly striving to provide the highest level of trust for our customers, which is not only inclusive of security, but also compliance, privacy, and transparency. There are no shortcuts when it comes to building an organizational culture of security and the cultural cultivation architects must adopt a measured and deliberate approach to ensure successful implementation. This process takes time, honesty, effort, and patience.
There will certainly be challenges along the way, but instead of being daunted by the scope and complexity of the work at hand, Virtustream team members lean in and embrace the inherent challenges that can arise in fostering a security-centric culture that helps protect our customers valuable data with the confidentiality, integrity, and availability it requires. As we look to the future and continue to grow, we never lose sight of the fact that a culture of security and transparency will remain a critical component of our company’s and our customers continued well-being and success.