Cybersecurity is a constant in our increasingly digital world. While its importance cannot be overstated, businesses also have other focuses, such as sales and marketing or hiring the best employees.
The challenge to keep cybersecurity prioritized is especially acute for small businesses that have limited resources. Sixty-six percent of small business owners are concerned about cybersecurity risk. Yet 47% have no understanding of how to defend against cyberattacks, and even more haven’t budgeted for them.
These types of statistics are why Cybersecurity Awareness Month, observed every October, was created as a timely reminder to apply the basics of good cyber hygiene.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a collaborative effort aimed at raising awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and promoting best practices for staying safe online. This initiative was launched by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2004.
Throughout October, various organizations, government agencies, and cybersecurity experts come together to share valuable insights, resources, and tips to help individuals and businesses strengthen their online security posture. The overarching goal is to educate, empower, and inspire everyone to take proactive steps to protect their digital lives.
Businesses can leverage this initiative to renew discussions with their employees about good cybersecurity practices. Well-trained employees reduce the risk of falling victim to a costly cyberattack.
This year, the focus of Cybersecurity Awareness Month is about applying the basics of good cyber hygiene. Often, it’s not doing the simple things that can cost the most.
For example, the use of weak or reused passwords is one of the biggest causes of data breaches. Over 6 in 10 people admit to reusing passwords for more than one account.
Four key behaviors can make a big difference in how secure your company is from a cyberattack. Promote these in October to help strengthen your security posture and promote good habits.
Strong, unique passwords are your first line of defense against cyber threats. Regularly update passwords, use a mix of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters, and avoid easily guessable information like birthdays or names.
Make passwords at least 12 characters long. The longer the password, the harder it is to breach. Passwords with only 6-8 characters can be cracked by hacking software much more easily than longer passwords.
Consider using a reputable password manager to securely store and generate complex passwords. Password managers provide consistency and help organizations ensure all employees are adhering to password security best practices.
Some of the benefits of password management software are:
Enable MFA wherever possible. This additional layer of security requires you to provide multiple forms of verification, such as a password and a temporary code sent to your mobile device, making it significantly harder for unauthorized individuals to access your accounts.
The few seconds it takes to receive and enter an MFA one-time passcode can help prevent 99.9% of fraudulent sign-ins. If you’re worried about the inconvenience, investigate a single sign-on (SSO) solution. These platforms enable teams to complete MFA just once to access all their business tools.
Be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. Cybercriminals often use phishing emails to trick you into revealing sensitive information. Verify the sender's identity and scrutinize the content of such messages.
It’s also important to remember that phishing is very sophisticated these days. It can look identical to a company’s branded emails.
Reporting phishing is key to helping everyone in the organization stay safe. If colleagues know that phishing has been spotted in someone’s company inbox, they’ll be on alert and can potentially avoid falling for the attack. Companies should make sure they tell employees how to report phishing and remind them regularly during ongoing cybersecurity training.
Keep all your devices and software up to date. Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated systems. Enable automatic updates whenever possible, and regularly check for updates on your devices.
Using managed IT services is another great way to ensure all systems are being updated. We’ll handle all the updates for you and your team so you can focus on what you do best.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month is the perfect time to perform an annual cybersecurity assessment to identify any areas of risk. Vudu has a team of experts that can help you identify and address any weaknesses.