Cyber Security Awareness Month: Strengthening Your Defence

10 October 2023

As technology advances in the United Kingdom, so does the need for heightened cyber security awareness, regardless of whether you are in London or Edinburgh. As well as proactive measures to safeguard sensitive information.

Cyber security can seem like an impossible task for people. But it’s not only a job for the IT team. Everyone can play a part in keeping their organization’s data safe. Not to mention their data.

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. It serves as a timely reminder that many ways to safeguard data exist. Following the basics can significantly affect how secure your network remains.

What Is Cyber Security Awareness Month?

Cyber Security Awareness Month (CAM) is an annual initiative held every October. It promotes Cyber Security awareness and education. It aims to empower individuals and organizations by giving them knowledge and resources. It helps people strengthen their defences against cyber threats.

CAM started as a U.S. initiative, National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Then, it quickly spread around the globe. Two agencies lead it:

  • National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA)
  • Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

This collaborative effort involves various stakeholders. Government agencies, industry leaders, and Cyber Security experts all come together. The goal is to raise awareness about cyber risks and best practices.

This Year’s Cyber Security Awareness Theme

This is CAM’s 20th year. To celebrate, the theme revolves around looking at how far Cyber Security has come. As well as how far it has to go. This year, CAM focuses on four key best practices of Cyber Security.

These are:

  • Enabling multi-factor authentication
  • Using strong passwords and a password manager
  • Updating software
  • Recognising and reporting phishing

Let’s look at these four best practices of good cyber hygiene.

Essential Cyber Hygiene: 4 Keys to a Strong Defence

Central to Cyber Security Awareness Month is promoting essential cyber hygiene practices. We follow good hygiene to maintain physical health. For example, we brush our teeth every day.

Cyber Security also requires ongoing good hygiene practices to secure the online environment. These practices form the foundation of a robust Cyber Security defence. They help both individuals and organizations.

Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) adds a vital layer of security to all logins. A hacker usually can’t breach an account protected by MFA. This is the case even if the cyber crook has the password.

Microsoft says MFA can block 99.9% of attempted account compromise attacks. With that strong track record, everyone really should be using it, and using it on every login they have.

Strong Passwords & a Password Manager

Passwords remain a critical aspect of securing online accounts. Despite the increased use of biometrics, passwords still rule. Encourage your team members to use strong, unique passwords for each account. Avoid easily guessable information like birthdays or names.

Companies can help by setting strong password enforcement rules. This requires a strong password before it’s accepted in a system. For example, you may set up a policy that requires a password to have:

  • At least 12 characters
  • At least one upper-case letter
  • At least one lowercase letter
  • At least one number
  • At least one symbol

Updating Software

Outdated software creates vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. Regularly update operating systems, applications, and firmware. This ensures the latest security patches are in place.

Automating updates is a good way to ensure they’re done promptly. Companies can use endpoint device managers to handle updates across all employee devices. Managers like Intune simplify the process and enhance endpoint security.

Recognizing and Reporting Phishing with Cyber Security Awareness

Phishing attacks are a common vector for cyber threats. Train your team to identify phishing emails, suspicious links, and unsolicited attachments. Encourage them to verify the sender’s email address. As well as never providing sensitive information unless certain of the recipient’s authenticity.

It’s also essential to educate employees about phishing beyond email. Phishing via text messages has been increasing significantly. Some criminals phish via direct messages on social media platforms.

Another important aspect of phishing awareness is reporting phishing. If it’s reported, then other employees know to avoid that phishing trap. The organisation’s IT team also needs to know so they can take action to mitigate the threat. Be sure to let employees know how they can report a phishing email when they suspect one.

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

CAM offers a valuable opportunity to refocus on the significance of Cyber Security. As well as prioritise essential cyber hygiene practices. Building a culture of Cyber Security awareness within your team is important. It can be the difference between vulnerability and resilience.

Need some help ensuring a more secure and resilient future? Our team of experts can get you going on the basics. Once those are in place, your organization will be more productive and secure.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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