Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Boost Your Team's Defense with Essential Cyber Hygiene

Empower Your Team to Stay Secure and Vigilant in the Digital World

As technology keeps getting better, it's really important to pay more attention to keeping things safe. This means taking steps to protect our important information.

Sometimes, cybersecurity can sound tough, but it's not just something for the tech experts. Everyone can help keep their organization's data and their own information safe.

In October, we have Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which is a good time to remember that there are lots of simple ways to protect data. Just following some basic rules can make a big difference in keeping your network secure.

What Is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

Cybersecurity Awareness Month, also known as CAM, happens every year in October. Its main job is to help people learn more about staying safe online. CAM wants to give individuals and groups the tools and knowledge they need to defend against cyber threats.

At first, CAM was just in the United States, called National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. But then it became a worldwide thing. The two main groups behind CAM are the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

A lot of different people and organizations get involved in CAM. Government folks, business leaders, and experts in cybersecurity all team up. They want to make sure people understand the risks of cyberattacks and how to stay safe online.

This Year’s Theme

This is the 20th year of CAM, and to mark this special occasion, the theme is all about reflecting on how much progress cybersecurity has made and what challenges lie ahead. This year, CAM is all about four important things to do for staying safe online.

Here they are:

  1. Using multi-factor authentication: This means having more than one way to prove it's really you when you log in to an account.
  2. Having strong passwords and using a password manager: Your passwords should be tough for others to guess, and a password manager helps keep track of them.
  3. Keeping your software up-to-date: It's important to make sure all your computer programs and apps are the latest versions because updates often have important security fixes.
  4. Recognizing and reporting phishing: You should learn how to spot fake messages or emails that try to trick you into giving away your personal information and report them.

Now, let's dive into these four important ways to practice good cyber hygiene.

Essential Cyber Hygiene: 4 Keys to a Strong Defense

Just like we take care of our physical health by brushing our teeth every day, Cybersecurity Awareness Month reminds us to follow good hygiene practices for our online safety.

These practices are like the strong base of a fortress that keeps cyber threats away. They are important for both people and organizations.

Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is like adding a super-strong lock to your online accounts. Most of the time, even if a hacker knows your password, they can't get in if MFA is turned on.

Microsoft says that MFA can stop 99.9% of attempts by cyber crooks to break into accounts. That's why it's a smart idea for everyone to use MFA for all their logins.

Strong Passwords & a Password Manager

Even though we have fancy things like fingerprints and face recognition, passwords are still really important for keeping our online accounts safe.

It's important to remind your team to use strong and unique passwords for each of their accounts. That means not using things like birthdays or easy-to-guess names.

Companies can help out by making strong password rules. This means they can set up a system that only accepts passwords that are:

  • At least 12 characters long
  • Have at least 1 uppercase letter (like A or B)
  • Have at least 1 lowercase letter (like a or b)
  • Have at least 1 number (like 1 or 2)
  • Have at least 1 special symbol (like ! or $)

Having strong rules like these make it much harder for bad guys to guess passwords and get into accounts.

Updating Software

When we use old software, it often leaves big holes in our security that cybercriminals can sneak through. So, to keep our digital world safe, it's super important to keep everything up to date. That means updating your operating system, apps, and even the firmware on your devices to get the latest security fixes.

To make sure updates happen on time, you can set them to be automatic. For companies, they can use software like Microsoft Intune to handle updates on all their employees' devices. It makes the whole process easier and boosts security for all devices.

Recognizing and Reporting Phishing

Phishing attacks are sneaky traps, and it's crucial to teach your team how to spot them. You should be on the lookout for emails that seem fishy, links that look suspicious, and attachments you didn't expect. It's a good idea to check the sender's email address and never give away important info unless you're sure it's safe. 

If in doubt, reach out to the person or organization through a separate and trusted channel, like a phone call or a known email address, to verify if the message is legitimate or not.

But watch out! Phishing isn't just in emails. Text messages and social media messages are also used to trick people.

And if you think you've spotted a phishing attempt, report it. This helps everyone else stay safe, and the IT team can take action to stop the threat. Make sure your team knows how to report a phishing email when they see one.

We Can Help You Put the Best Cyber Hygiene Practices in Place

Cybersecurity Awareness Month (CAM) gives us a great chance to remember just how important cybersecurity is. It's a time to put those essential cyber safety habits front and center. Creating a culture where everyone on your team is aware of cybersecurity is a big deal. It can mean the difference between being at risk and being strong.

If you want some help to make your future more secure and solid, we can guide you through the basics. Once you've got those down, your organization will run smoother and be a whole lot safer.

Contact us today to get started! 

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Boost Your Team's Defense with Essential Cyber Hygiene
Surf City Systems, Ash Carter October 4, 2023
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