Technical writers are a key part of a business’s IT team. When an organization changes existing cybersecurity practices or implements new ones, the technical writer will create pamphlets or guides for employees to follow. Technical writers also document the changes per cybersecurity compliance regulations.
However, this isn’t everything that a technical writer can do for a business. A technical writer can also improve an organization’s cybersecurity policies and practices.
In this guide, you’ll learn why it’s important to have a technical writer on your team and how they can help improve your cybersecurity. You’ll also learn why it’s important to continue to maintain and advance your cybersecurity protocols.
How Technical Writers Can Improve Cybersecurity?
To understand how technical writers can improve an organization’s cybersecurity, it’s necessary to know what it is and its importance. Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting networks, data, and devices from unauthorized access. It ensures that personally identifiable information (PII) is kept confidential across all platforms, including third-party vendors.
Protecting PII from hackers is a legal requirement. Any company that handles, manages, sends, or stores data that is deemed to be private must be protected by adequate cybersecurity protocols. These practices must also be maintained and updated on a regular basis. Failure to do so will result in non-compliance penalties that range from monetary fines to prison time.
Penalties are not the only reason businesses want to meet regulations and stay in compliance. Security breaches can also affect a company’s relationship with its customers. A loss of trust between the business and consumers is a common result of a security breach. Over time, this can affect the company financially.
Even businesses with IT teams can find it difficult to keep up with technology that is always advancing. New weak spots in security systems are a constant possibility and hackers are always looking for ways to exploit any vulnerabilities. One effective and efficient way to keep your cybersecurity policies and practices current with the latest threats is to hire a technical writer.
A technical writer will make sure that employees understand how to implement cybersecurity protocols. The guides and manuals created by a technical writer will also ensure that these security practices are properly maintained.
How a Technical Writer Can Improve Your Cybersecurity Practices
There’s more to cybersecurity than just writing and implementing code. It must be maintained and updated as threats change. You could have a technical writer create the protocol and leave it up to your IT team and other employees to implement. This is easy if they understand the technical language. If not, a technical writer will need to come back in and create a guide or manual.
This is one way that a technical writer can improve cybersecurity practices. They can ensure that employees understand the cybersecurity policies and practices. While communicating the changes to staff is vital it’s not the only way a technical writer can boost your cybersecurity practices. Here are eight additional ways.
- Communicate new protocols
Technical writers are able to simplify the language so others can understand the software’s practices. IT personnel will need to know how to implement security protocols and maintain them. The guides and/or manuals technical writers create are easy for employees to understand and follow, saving companies time and money training staff on the new protocols.
It’s not easy to communicate complex cybersecurity concepts to an audience that isn’t well-versed in technical jargon. A technical writer is not only familiar with the concepts and protocols, but also their audience. They can create content that is accurate and easily understandable to anyone with limited technical knowledge.
- Provide a unique opinion
Sometimes a vulnerability might not be apparent to you but a technical writer has a “fresh set of eyes”. They can spot errors or outdated code that could put the network at risk for a breach. Professional tech writers do not have a “stake” in the technology, nor do they interact with it on a daily basis. This degree of separation allows writers to see the network in its entirety instead of only from the inside.
Technical writers can provide unbiased feedback on current cybersecurity practices. They can create new protocols that are better adept at meeting threats. If the writer is involved in the project up to its completion, they can continue to provide valuable feedback on proposed improvements.
- Devote all their time to the project
If your business handles PII in any form, nothing is more important than maintaining your cybersecurity. Unless it’s a large corporation or conglomerate, your IT team is probably already overwhelmed with current projects. Taking someone away to act as a tech writer could put your current cybersecurity practices at risk.
It takes time to research, organize, and write manuals and other documents. All of which needs to be done when cybersecurity practices are changed. It takes time to research, organize, and write manuals and other documents. All of which needs to be done when cybersecurity practices are changed. Even if you have someone on your IT team that can write the guides and documents, you are still overextending your staff and potentially leaving your network open to security breaches.
- Produce documentation
Whenever a change in cybersecurity protocols is implemented, there must be supporting documentation. Documenting maintenance and any changes is a requirement for cybersecurity compliance. How the documents are formatted matters, and a professional technical writer is equipped to produce the correct ones.
Documentation can also aid a company’s cybersecurity team in the maintenance and when checking for vulnerabilities. Having a clear understanding of how and when the changes were implemented, along with their function, will help personnel better understand what could be a potential vulnerability.
- Lower cybersecurity support costs
A technical writer is already familiar with the organization’s cybersecurity practices. The writer can create a user’s guide that contains all the information necessary to support the new changes. The information is clearly outlined in the manual and placed in a logical order so system user’s can find it quickly and easily.
Being able to find bugs in the system or software and fix the vulnerabilities without contacting outside support staff will save businesses time and money.
- Ensure cybersecurity protocols are properly implemented
Cybersecurity practices that protect PII aren’t effective if they’re not properly implemented. One of the tech writer’s skills is being able to clearly explain how to install and maintain security protocols.
Professional writers are able to alert users if they are implementing the protocols incorrectly or not performing all the steps necessary to maintain cybersecurity. This will help keep your network secure from breaches, which also helps you meet compliance standards.
- Increase user efficiency and the safety margin
An experienced technical writer will be able to create a comprehensive guide detailing all aspects of the company’s cybersecurity policies and practices. Since one of a tech writer’s skills is being able to organize information, system users will find it easy to find the section in the manual they need. This will allow them to access PII without creating any vulnerabilities in the system.
Being able to quickly access information without compromising security is the goal of most businesses. This practice does save time and money, while also applying several compliance strategies.
- Advocate for system users
Tech writers not only create content, but they are also advocates for system users. Their goal is to write content that simplifies complex technical concepts and make it easy for a layman to understand. This requires research and testing of the security protocols to ensure the design and implementation is adequately protecting PII.
As advocates for system users, a tech writer creates content that best applies to the scope of their job in a language they can easily comprehend. This reduces the frustration that system users can feel when they’re learning new protocols. It also helps to ensure that the system stays secure during the “change-over” period.
Professional technical writers can help boost cybersecurity practices but it’s also important that a company hires the right one. Some technical writers might not fit with your IT team or clash with the terms of the project. Be clear on what you expect from the writer and you will also want to check references and samples of their work.
Tips on Working with a Tech Writer
There are a few things businesses need to consider when they start working with a technical writer. It will help the writer effectively perform his/her job quickly and thoroughly. Here are a few tips to help businesses have a successful relationship with their tech writer.
Provide complete access to systems and employees
It will be impossible for a technical writer to perform their job if they don’t have all the necessary information. Often this means giving the writer access to all employees that use the system. There are a few reasons why this is important.
- Employees are the system users and the audience the writer will be creating content for.
- Not every employee understands the system in its entirety. This also applies to developers that are often only familiar with the component they designed.
The tech writer needs to be able to ask employees questions pertaining to their use and understanding of cybersecurity protocols. This information is necessary when the writer is creating the user manual. They need to know how much explanatory information needs to be included to ensure the protocols and practices are correctly implemented and maintained by system users.
Having complete access to the system allows the tech writer to examine it in its entirety. This is crucial if a company wants the guide or manual to cover all aspects of the system. Missing information can lead to a security breach due to improper practices.
Review all created documents
Many companies do not have the time or resources to devote to proofreading all of the documents created by a tech writer. However, this is an important step in maintaining adequate cybersecurity and a good working relationship.
Technical writers can have errors in their submitted documents. While the writer should always proofread their content, mistakes can hurt their career, it is also the responsibility of the business. Often, the errors are minor and do not put security at risk. However, sometimes the mistake in the content can create a potential vulnerability in the system. If the vulnerability is not noticed and repaired in time, it can lead to a compliance violation.
Even though it will take added time for the project’s completion, it is worth it to both parties to proofread all documents.
Following these tips, along with having all project details clearly outlined at the start will help ensure that the technical writer will be a successful fit in your company.
Improve Cybersecurity Practices with a Technical Writer
A technical writer can improve cybersecurity protocols but companies need to be willing to provide complete access to their system. Without it, the writer won’t be able to create comprehensive and usable content.
At RSI Security our certified specialists can help you create the technical content your employees need to implement and maintain cybersecurity protocols.