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Written by Shaina Vellone on 20 October 2021

Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Whether you're browsing LinkedIn, fielding webinar invites or getting invited to your company's latest lunch and learn, chances are you've heard October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. But what does that mean, and what is its impact on individuals, businesses and other organizations?

What is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

Observed annually in October, Cybersecurity Awareness Month is an international campaign aimed to equip individuals, businesses and other organizations with the resources to assess their cybersecurity risks and take steps to mitigate them. Originally started as a public-private partnership campaign between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") and the National Cyber Security Alliance ("NCSA") in October 2004, Cybersecurity Awareness Month is now in its 18th year of observance.

Until 2018, the overarching theme for Cybersecurity Awareness Month was "Our Shared Responsibility," to increase accountability among entities to take ownership of their digital assets – e.g. passwords, credit cards and databases. Keeping with the theme of empowering individuals and organizations to take ownership and be proactive, the theme in 2021 is "Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.”

Who Does it Impact?

Cybersecurity Awareness Month was created to help anyone who uses the Internet learn about the importance of cybersecurity to take steps to protect themselves and their data.

Even as work and school slowly start to return to 'normal,' the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant shift towards working, learning and socializing predominantly online. And with this – your private health information, financial details, sensitive work data and more continue to be vulnerable to cybersecurity risks. According to Forbes, 76% of Americans have used mobile banking in the last year, and 90% of them plan to continue even after the pandemic pandemonium decreases.

Although most Cybersecurity Awareness Month content is directed towards increasing individual accountability on information and data security, businesses benefit significantly from auditing and improving their cybersecurity best practices. Smaller companies, in particular, may not have a robust security training policy, mobile device action plan or comprehensive disaster recovery or business continuity plan.

What can you do to enhance cybersecurity?

Start With the Basics

  • Change your passwords regularly, and don't re-use them across different sites.
  • Implement multi-factor authentication using biometrics, one-time passcodes to your mobile device or security-check questions
  • Update your software regularly to reduce vulnerability to malware

Own Your Data

  • Regularly back up your data on another device, such as an external hard drive. Even if you accidentally get infected with malware or ransomware, having another copy avoids the need to pay a ransom to get your data back.
  • Configure your privacy settings on every account, app and device. The default settings may often lead to sharing more information than is preferred. Audit your setting a few times a year to ensure there haven't been any changes

Privacy First

  • Limit your use of public hotspots and wireless networks. Other devices on public networks can often see your activity as you use them. If you must use public wi-fi, avoid logging into your bank account, email client or other apps with crucial personal information.
  • Consider what you're posting online and what insights it offers to those who can see it. Although it can seem harmless, social media overshares can lead to giving out personal health information, details about your finances or other private data.

Interested in getting advice on how you can take steps towards better Cybersecurity? Contact us today and find out how our professional cybersecurity services can help you protect your business, strengthen your security posture and meet compliance requirements.

 

Learn more about our services here.

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