Cyber Security is Everyone’s Responsibility – Cyber Security Awareness Month

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With the rapid growth of technology and constant changes in connectivity, cybersecurity is becoming a critical issue. An increase in connected devices, the adoption of new identity management protocols and the expansion of AI and IoT all create new points of vulnerability, and hackers are keen to exploit every possible weakness.

It can be enough to persuadeyou to let go of all your devices and live off the grid, but you don’t have to take extreme measures to protect yourself from cyberattacks. October is Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM), and it’s the perfect time to learn the smartest ways to protect personal data and the information stored in and transmitted from business networks.

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What is Cyber Security Awareness Month?

Cyber Security Awareness Month or CSAM, is an internationally recognized campaign held in countries around the world every October with the goal of promoting public awareness about the importance of cyber security. Another aim is to provide information to help individuals and businesses create a safer internet environment. Smart internet security habits at home and at work are essential for protecting the connected landscape and ensuring the privacy of individual and corporate data.

Established in the United States in 2004, CSAM involves a collaboration between governments and industry leaders to provide resources for improving security in our increasingly connected world. CSAM is now observed in several other parts of the world, including Canada, Norway and countries across Europe. What began as a way to communicate basic cyber security advice to the public expanded to reach consumers, companies, employees, campuses, non-profits and more. In 2011, specific weekly themes were added to make the information easier to understand and implement.

There are five themes for this year’s CSAM campaign, one for each week and an additional theme for the last four days of the month:

  • WEEK 1 – Our internet; our cyber security focuses on the internet as a shared resource and the communal responsibility of all users to keep the digital environment safe.
  • WEEK 2 – Buy Secure highlights the importance of purchasing reputable devices and applications for personal use and identifying and reducing information security supply chain risks at the enterprise level.
  • WEEK 3 -Our Data is Valuable reinforces the concept of personal, financial, communications and social information having value to users and to hackers.
  • WEEK 4 – Our critical eye and the internet covers the concept of digital literacy and what internet users need to understand about digital media to make informed decisions about what they interact with online.
  • WEEK 5 – Our Future in Cyber Security discusses the growing demand for cyber talent, which is increasing seven percent every year in Canada, and what initiatives exist to close the gap.

Canadians interested in following each weekly theme can access the CSAM toolkit on the Get Cyber Safe website.

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What Can I Do to Be More Cyber Aware?

Because the internet and the expanding IoT network are both shared digital environments, the actions of one user have the potential to protect or harm millions of others. According to Cipher, 24 percent of data breaches are the result of individual mistakes. Your errors aren’t isolated; opening a single malicious email could create a domino effect across networks in which countless records are compromised. The same is true in business networks, where it only takes one employee to put the security of the entire company at risk.

How can you ensure your own information and the data handled by your business is safe? Start implementing these practices during CSAM 2018.

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How to Be Safer at Home

  • Update software, apps and connected devices on a regular basis
  • Invest in comprehensive antivirus, antispyware and antimalware software
  • Set up firewalls
  • Create strong passwords
  • Manage passwords with secure tools
  • Report and delete suspicious emails
  • Avoid using shared or public Wi-Fi connections
  • Minimize how much personal identifiable information (PII) you share online
  • Update privacy settings on all sites and social media profiles
  • Perform routine backups of your data

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How to Be Safer at Work

  • Create policies for cybersecurity based on industry best practices
  • Perform regular security audits with the help of a cyber security expert
  • Train employees to recognize phishing emails and malicious websites
  • Inform employees about the potential impacts of unsafe internet habits
  • Establish a framework for better password management
  • Invest in the best possible security software
  • Clarify and enforce your BYOD policy
  • Improve identity and access management to prevent “privilege creep”
  • Use two- or multi-factor authentication for applications
  • Encrypt data during sending and receiving
  • Set up routine automatic backups
  • Develop a disaster recovery plan
  • Be discerning when choosing cloud and SaaS providers
  • Stay in compliance with all security regulations
  • Keep all software and applications up to date

Never imagine you’re immune to a potential data compromise or your business is protected against every eventuality. All internet users have a responsibility to stay on top of the latest security alerts and to monitor credit reports, bank statements and business transactions for malicious activity. This can be a little overwhelming if your business handles large amounts of data. Software and service solutions like those offered by Interwork take the challenge out of maintaining your security protocols.Our vendor network includes support for:

  • Access control
  • Backup and disaster recovery
  • Compliance
  • Email and web management
  • Encryption and secure web gateways
  • Endpoint, network and cloud security
  • Mobile applications
  • Scalable storage
  • Security intelligence and awareness training
  • Security monitoring and assessments
  • Threat management

Interwork can assist your company in finding and connecting with the best solutions for your cyber security concerns, creating a support system of third parties dedicated to protecting your network and data from hackers. Consult with our experts today to learn more!

Becoming more cyber aware and putting strategic security measures into place helps protect your personal and business data from persistent hackers. Follow the themes of this year’s CSAM, and learn everything you can to make your information as safe as possible.

If you run a business, consider incorporating each theme into your cyber security and cyber awareness training throughout the month to give you employees the knowledge and tools they need to support company-wide security and minimize the risk of a data breach. The more knowledge each individual user has, the safer the internet landscape is for everyone.

For more tips on how to stay cyber-safe check out these blogs:

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