October is a busy month. Between pulling out your Halloween decorations and sipping on your pumpkin spice latte, you might not realize it’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
This year marks 20 years since the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance joined forces to launch National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
The cybersecurity landscape has changed since 2004. Technology has evolved and is now critical for most business functions. In 2023, we’re seeing increasing threats and more incentives for cybercriminals.
We get it, there might be more exciting things to celebrate this month. But even if you’re not a technology professional, it’s easy to get involved.
2023 Cybersecurity Awareness Recommendations
Previously, the National Cybersecurity Alliance provided a weekly theme with resources to help promote the month. This year instead of themes, they’re focusing on promoting four key behaviors to take.
#1 Recognize and Report Phishing
Phishing scams are running rampant. You’ve probably come across one by now. Pay more attention to the messages that come through your inbox. Always think before you click.
This includes looking for signs such as unexpected requests for personal information, urgent or threatening language, and generic greetings rather than personalized ones. If you see something that doesn’t look right, report it.
#2 Use Strong Passwords
With the expansion of our online presence, we now have to manage more passwords than before. According to the NCA, some individuals may have to keep track of over one hundred passwords. It’s important to make sure passwords are strong and unique to each account.
Avoid using guessable information such as your name, birthdate, or common words. Instead, consider using a passphrase that is easy for you to remember but difficult for others to guess.
Additionally, consider using a password manager to store all your passwords in one place. By using strong passwords and managing them effectively, you can help protect your online accounts from unauthorized access.
#3 Turn On Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a security measure that adds an extra layer of protection to your online accounts. It requires you to provide two or more forms of identification, such as a password and a code sent to your phone, before granting access to your account.
Despite the ease of use, according to an NCA survey, only 57% of respondents are aware of MFA. Enabling MFA on your accounts can reduce the risk of identity theft and protect your sensitive information from cybercriminals. So, if you haven’t already, turn on MFA for your accounts today and stay one step ahead of potential security threats.
#4 Update Your Software
Hackers frequently exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software. Therefore, it is crucial to keep your software up to date and install updates as soon as they are available. According to NCA, nearly 40% of survey respondents occasionally, infrequently, or never install software updates.
That’s concerning, as most software updates include security patches that address known vulnerabilities. By using outdated software and old technology, you’re leaving an open door for hackers.
Ways To Get Involved
Building a solid cybersecurity foundation takes time, layered defenses, and ongoing vigilance. You can’t expect to tackle all this in a month. However, you can begin to go after the low-hanging fruit.
Now is the perfect time to review your security policies.
Do you know where and how your data is stored? What security measures is your business already taking? Where are your weak spots?
Before it gets put on the back burner, reach out to a third-party provider, and get a security assessment on the calendar.
Send out an email to your team. Let them know it’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month and remind them of cyber-hygiene best practices. Ask them to carefully review any business communications that come through and to make sure their passwords are updated.
You most likely aren’t keeping up with the latest cyber and technology trends. This month you could conduct cybersecurity awareness training within your team. Cybersecurity awareness starts with leadership but extends to every employee.
Don’t overthink it.
Be A Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champion
Cybersecurity isn’t optional. You owe it to your customers, employees, and yourself to take it seriously. Every business, regardless of its size can take steps to be more secure. If the thought of all this is overwhelming, we’d be happy to help you figure out your next steps.
Just Solutions is proud to be a Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champion. Our goal is to help contribute to a safer and smarter way of doing business.