We all have responsibilities to keep information secure — as consumers, as employees, as businesses and as citizens in the global digital economy. Every October for the past 15 years, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCAM) has shined a spotlight on these responsibilities.
Here are a few tips on how to do your part for information security, corresponding to NCAM’s four weekly themes:
Make your home a haven for online safety
- As a consumer, treat personal information like money. Value it. Protect it. Information about you, such as purchase history or location, has value — just like money. Threat actors thrive on capturing this information. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it is collected by apps, websites and all connected devices.
- Think before you connect. Pay attention to the WiFi router in your home, use a strong password to protect the device, keep it up to date and name it in a way that won’t let people know it’s in your house. Do not connect to unknown, generic or suspicious WiFi networks. Use your mobile carrier’s data plan to connect instead. If you have to access public WiFi, use a VPN. Remember to turn off WiFi and Bluetooth when not in use on your devices.
Educating for a career in cyber security
- As an employee, seek out exposure to the cyber security field. Attend conferences, online discussions and social media communities to further your knowledge and see whether a career in cyber security may be the right fit for you.
- Don’t be afraid of a career transition. Embark on an adventure. There are many opportunities for cyber security professionals that include financial rewards, career advancement and professional development. Cyber security is a high-growth area that can accelerate your career.
It’s everyone’s job to ensure online safety at work
- As a business leader, protect your assets. Your goal should be to build a culture of cyber security where employees know how to protect themselves and their business. You must understand the cyber risks as your business grows or adds new technologies or functions. Don’t forget that sharing USB drives poses a risk to your computer, data and business infrastructure.
- Learn to identify threats. Phishing attacks and ransomware are common practices for cyber criminals who want to steal your data or gain access to your identity. All employees should receive training on identifying threats and avoiding costly mistakes.
Read more tips on ensuring online safety at work.
Safeguarding the nation’s critical infrastructure
- As an organization, go digital safely. Digital technologies such as internet of things (IoT), mobility, blockchain and cloud can help drive growth, but they can also create opportunities for cyber criminals. Organizations must often change business processes to digitally transform; make sure practices and systems for securing applications, managing identities and monitoring suppliers are constantly up to date.
- Ensure that you’re covered. While there is a growing focus on prevention and detection, it is equally important to be ready to respond when cyber incidents inevitably strike. Cyber insurance allows businesses to cope with the costs in managing a cyber incident and in dealing with its post-incident impact.
Cyber security awareness requires constant vigilance from all parts of the enterprise. In addition to creating a culture of awareness, good security practices should focus on managing identities, detecting and responding to incidents, and quickly recovering to normal operations.
Learn more about how to protect yourself and your business during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.