October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
The National Cyber Security Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have declared every October National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). To increase understanding of the critical importance of maintaining strict IT security practices for online safety, NCSAM strives to educate both public and private sectors.
Besides offering comprehensive education on safe computing practices, this program focuses on encouraging collaboration between businesses and government agencies. Such an interface between public and private entities makes it easy for any size organization to understand and deploy IT security practices to protect data from theft, loss, or scams.
Initially founded in 2004 and originally focused strictly on simple actions like keeping security software updated, NCSAM has grown in scale and reach through the years. In 2011, weekly themes were added to the month’s highlights of essential security practices, including areas of interest such as critical infrastructure, cybercrime, mobility, and more.
This October, the focus is Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT—with particular emphases on areas such as eCommerce security, citizen privacy, and consumer devices.
Cybersecurity Awareness Best Practices to Follow
Cybercrime is on the rise. In fact, in 2018, the cost of cybercrime worldwide had risen beyond $600 billion. Thirty percent of consumers were affected by data breaches that year, and 29 percent of businesses report that cybercriminals damaged their internal records.
Alarmingly businesses saw a fourfold increase in cyberattacks between January 2016 and October 2017.
Despite the increase in cybercriminal activity, numerous practices can help increase the security of your network and secure the critical data it contains. Among the most common are the following.
Employ Strong Passwords and Beware Phishing
It might seem like a simple thing, but having a strong password is essential to a robust data security program. Here are a few things to do to keep your password practices on the safe side.
- Don’t use the same password for multiple logins
- Use a password system so you can remember passwords without writing them down
- Update your passwords regularly
- Don’t check the “remember me” option
- Don’t store passwords in your browser
- Don’t email passwords
- Don’t share passwords unless you trust the person with whom you’re sharing
After you’ve got your passwords locked down, encourage safe email practices. Much of today’s ransomware is spread via email with clickable links that lead to a disguised—and malicious—URL.
An email that looks as if it’s from a reputable source is often used to lure users into divulging personal or company information, a practice known as “phishing”.
To protect your business from this kind of scam mail, ensure that everyone on your team knows not to click on suspicious emails that ask for personal or critical company information and not to download email attachments from an unfamiliar source.
Protect Your Data
The primary way to protect sensitive and vital information is to ensure data is backed up and the backups are kept in a different location from the original files. Periodically testing your backups is recommended to ensure they are usable in case of catastrophic loss.
For critical files you need for daily work, be sure that protected storage options, such as a secure Cloud or hard drive, are used.
Protect Your Computers, Printers, and Copiers
In today’s world of connected office equipment, the latest security patches should be installed as soon as they are released to protect your system from vulnerabilities. It’s also important to keep current with the latest machines since newer hardware and software often comes with better and more sophisticated protection.
While the largest ransomware vector is email, cybercriminals target machines with known software vulnerabilities to download and install their malware. Keeping your software up to date is an absolute necessity to protect yourself from this kind of cyberattack.
If you don’t know how to keep things up to date, employ a company who can manage this for you.
Kelley Connect – Your IT Security Experts in Portland, Oregon
Kelley Connect’s IT Security team understands the latest cyber threats and knows how to bring cutting-edge security technology to businesses in the Portland, Oregon area.
Their decades of experience in developing secure networks and protecting vital data offers assurance that you can rely on their state-of-the-art knowledge for superior protection.
If you’re ready to take your IT Security to the highest level of protection for your business and the data you manage, get in touch with one of Kelley Connect’s IT Security consultants today.