National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Becoming a Pro at being Proactive
Many instantly associate the month of October with pumpkin spice lattes, sweater weather, and football games – but is that all that October has to offer? We often overlook an important message that is communicated during this time of the year, Cybersecurity.
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness month, also referred to as NCSAM. In 2011, the U.S department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance shared a common goal to help raise awareness of the dangers that can result from inadequate cyber protection. With the combined efforts of government and industry, the NCSAM was born. This month emphasizes the importance in taking proactive steps to ensure that your personal information isn’t compromised. How can you do this? The key is to be proactive, and take preventative measures that lower the risk of you and your business from being the victim of a cyber-attack. The theme promoted this year from the NCSAM is, “Own It. Secure It. Protect it.”
“Owning it” refers to the term accountability. This means that you are responsible for your own online privacy. Be sure to limit the amount of information shared online and be cautious of what you’re posting on social platforms. Be clever with your choice of passwords, and use distinctly different passwords for each social platform. For businesses, consider using password managers to generate random passwords and secure them safely.
“Securing it,” means to take preventative steps to assure that your online information is safe and secure. Helpful tools like multi-factor authentication add additional protection layers for your accounts when logging in. Along with hardware and software protection, it is vital to provide your employees with the proper training needed to identify suspicious online behavior. We all know that humans are flawed, but did you know that 95% of all security breaches occur from human error? Hackers know this – and will exploit this weakness at all costs. Many small businesses lack the proper security training for their employees, which puts them at a greater risk of experiencing a cyber-attack. QualityIP offers a Security Awareness Training Program (SAT) that shows users how to spot a phishing attack before it occurs. These programs can significantly decrease your chances of being involved in a data breach, and are highly recommended for the cyber safety of your business.
“Protect it” refers to being proactive by putting safety measures in place that make it nearly impossible for cyber criminals to access your information. Think of your online information as your house, would you ever leave a door open in your home making it easier for intruders to enter? So why leave doors open when it comes to your online security? Be sure that your software is updated to the latest version to prevent cyber criminals from exploiting an outdated version. For example – Windows 7 end of life support is on January 14, 2020. This means that after January 14, Microsoft will no longer be patching security holes within the Windows 7 operating system. This will leave those who still utilize the system unprotected and vulnerable to hackers, which is why QualityIP encourages those to update to Windows 10 before the end of life support date. Cyber criminals will always exist – but luckily, there are simple steps we can take like implementing tech safeguards and updating our software to defend ourselves against them.
Data breaches are becoming more and more frequent today. In fact, three data breaches occur every day and over 4 million have been reported so far just this year. Cybersecurity is detrimental to a business’s IT infrastructure, and taking proactive safety measures will result in a safer and more secure workplace. The month of October is dedicated to raising awareness for cybersecurity, but a conscious effort should be made to combat cyber threats throughout all times of the year. Always remember to “Own it. Secure It. Protect It” and be proactive when it comes to cybersecurity.
Learn more about how to become a pro at being proactive with cybersecurity by giving us a call at 833-KNOWS-IT (833-566-9748) or shooting us a message!
We’re happy to answer all of your IT security questions.
Written by Jeanine Hasan, Marketing Coordinator at QualityIP.