Spreading information security

Spreading information security

It’s the one bug you do want to catch: new research has found a culture of security in an organisation can be contagious.

Researchers from RMIT Vietnam found staff who already have a high awareness of information security can play a crucial role in elevating the organisation’s Information Security (InfoSec) culture, simply through social influence.

The research suggests workplace culture plays an important part in protecting an organisation’s data, alongside more technical strategies. 

RMIT Vietnam Lecturer Dr Duy Dang-Pham led the project alongside senior researchers Professor Karlheinz Kautz, Dr Siddhi Pittayachawan and Dr Vince Bruno from the School of Business IT and Logistics at RMIT in Melbourne.

Professor Karlheinz Kautz (left), Dr Duy Dang-Pham (centre) and Dr Siddhi Pittayachawan (right) worked with an industry partner on the research project.

The project investigated the creation of an InfoSec climate inside a large Vietnamese company and analysed the perception of security issues among the employees as well as their social relationships and socialising patterns, such as advice sharing.

This allowed the research group to track and chart the changes in perception and socialising patterns over a three-month period.

“We’ve found that employees increase their information security awareness as a result of increased socialising with colleagues who have a high awareness of InfoSec issues,” said Duy.

“In other words, information security is contagious.”

The project started with internal training on information security issues and identifying the key influencers in the InfoSec culture within the workplace.

These influencers were staff members at different levels and in different roles, but who were all informally providing information security advice across the network.

As part of the project, the research group also took part in the design and implementation of structural changes to improve InfoSec awareness among company staff.

“The partnership between the academics and the organisation allowed for a practical research project with immediate impact,” Duy said.

The study ‘Explaining the Development of Information Security Climate and an Information Security Support Network: A Longitudinal Social Network Analysis’ has been published in the Australasian Journal of Information Systems.


Story: Matt Kelly and Jasmijn van Houten


  • Research
  • RMIT Vietnam
  • Society
  • Business
  • Industry
  • Future World of Work

Related News

Weaving quantum processors out of laser light

Researchers open a new avenue to quantum computing with a breakthrough prototype: a large-scale quantum processor made entirely of light.

Better wages, better care: improving the aged care sector

In her submission and evidence to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, RMIT’s Professor Sara Charlesworth urged the Federal Government to address wages and working conditions.

Meet Ari, the smart bike that helps you catch green lights

With more bikes than ever taking to the city streets, researchers have designed an e-bike that could help riders cruise the ‘green wave’ while also improving trust between humans and machines.

RMIT takes out top honours in national defence awards

RMIT researchers have been recognised for their work in defence research, with one taking home the top prize of Scientist of the Year.

Subscribe to RMIT NewsSubscribe
Flag Image One Flag Image Two

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.

More information