User Adoption in Security: Why it’s Important & 5 Ways to Increase It

You’ve probably heard of the term user adoption but why should you care?

Take a moment to imagine this scenario:

Last month, you rolled out a new secure file sharing solution at your law firm. You expected all your attorneys and support staff to use it. However, today you discovered that only 30% of your employees were using the new solution. The remaining 70% were still using non-secure methods to share confidential information.

This answers the question of why user adoption is so important in security. It doesn’t matter how “secure” your new security tools are if nobody is using them.

Since we don’t want you to ever be caught in a situation that could lead to a potential data breach, here are 5 tips to help you increase user adoption:

1. Choose the right tools

User adoption begins with the tools. Choose the wrong ones and a high user adoption rate will be very difficult to achieve.

Aside from a high level of security, there are a couple of other things you should consider when searching for new security tools to implement:

  • Simplicity – the tools can’t be too complex. There should always be a nice balance between security and ease-of-use. The simpler the tools, the smaller the learning curve and the more your employees will appreciate it and be willing to adopt.
  • Features – the tools should include features that increase productivity and not prevent it. If replacing existing tools, the new ones should have most or all of the features of the previous tools, otherwise, your employees may revert back.
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2. Announce on multiple channels

Awareness is a significant component of high user adoption. Your employees can’t adopt something they don’t know about now can they?

Don’t just rely on a single channel to inform employees of the new initiative.  A simple email blast may be a simple way to notify your employees but there’s a good chance that many of them will miss the email. Instead, use multiple channels to maximize awareness. Here are some ideas:

  • Team meetings
  • Group chats
  • Bulletin boards
  • Training sessions

3. Provide ongoing training sessions

Take your employees back to school!

Training sessions are great in that they help with a smoother transition to new tools. As a dedicated space for employees to gather and learn together, you can teach in-depth lessons and use-cases.

You’ll also provide your employees with the opportunity to ask any unanswered questions.

4. Encourage the adoption

We deliberately say “encourage” instead of “enforce.” Employees that are encouraged tend to make their own decisions. In this case, you want them to consciously decide to use the tools on their own so they’re more likely to stick to them.

  • Stress the importance of the new tools – show what incidents could happen if they’re not used
  • Reveal the benefits – employees are more attracted to solutions that benefit them
  • Lead by example – if your employees see you using the tools, they’re more likely to follow along

5. Find “champions” to spread awareness

If you implement the right security tools, it’s very likely that at least one or more of your employees will fall in love with them. These are your “champions.”

Champions believe in the tools and are more likely capable of influencing others to use them. They will literally increase user adoption rates for you!

Follow all of these tips and it won’t be long until you’re able to influence high user adoption rates for all the security tools you implement!