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Publication date: September 29, 2023

Protecting Your Digital World: Celebrating Cybersecurity Awareness Month

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Written by Angela Polania

Angela Polania, CPA, CISM, CISA, CRISC, HITRUST, CMMC RP. Angela is the Managing Principal at Elevate and board member, and treasurer at the CIO Council of South Florida.

October has arrived! And with it comes a vital reminder of our responsibility to safeguard our digital lives. Cybersecurity Awareness Month, celebrated globally, shines a spotlight on the importance of staying vigilant against cyber threats. As the digital landscape evolves at a breakneck pace, it’s essential for companies to take proactive measures to bolster their internal security.

Why Does Cybersecurity Awareness Month Matter?

Cybersecurity Awareness Month serves as an annual wake-up call. Cyber threats are not a distant concern, but a very real reality that is exponentially increasing every day. The consequences of a cyberattack can be devastating, ranging from financial losses to damage to reputation and loss of customer trust. Cybersecurity Awareness Month reminds us that cybersecurity is not solely the responsibility of IT departments, but a collective effort that involves every member of an organization.

Bolstering Internal Security: What Can Companies Do?

1. Employee Training and Education: The first line of defense against cyber threats is a well-informed workforce! Companies should invest in ongoing cybersecurity training and awareness programs for employees. This includes teaching them how to recognize phishing emails, create strong passwords, and securely handle sensitive information.

2. Regular Security Audits: Conduct regular security audits and assessments to identify vulnerabilities in your organization’s systems and networks. This proactive approach allows you to address potential weaknesses before cyber criminals can exploit them.

3. Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Enforce MFA across all company accounts and systems. MFA adds an extra layer of protection by requiring users to provide two or more forms of verification before gaining access to an account.

4. Patch and Update Systems: Outdated software and systems are prime targets for cyberattacks. Ensure that all software, including operating systems and applications, is regularly updated with the latest security patches.

5. Data Encryption: Implement robust encryption protocols to protect sensitive data both in transit and at rest. Encryption ensures that even if data falls into the wrong hands, it remains unreadable without the decryption key.

6. Access Control: Restrict access to sensitive data and systems based on the principle of least privilege (PoLP). Only authorized personnel should have access to critical resources, and this access should be reviewed regularly.

7. Incident Response Plan: Develop a well-documented incident response plan to minimize the impact of a cyber incident. This plan should include steps for identifying, containing, and recovering from a security breach.

8. Regular Backup and Recovery: Regularly back up your data and test the recovery process. This ensures that in the event of data loss or a ransomware attack, your company can quickly restore operations.

9. Vendor Risk Management: Evaluate the cybersecurity practices of third-party vendors and partners. Weak links in the supply chain can expose your company to risks, so choose vendors with strong security measures in place.

10. Continuous Monitoring and Threat Intelligence: Employ advanced monitoring tools to detect unusual activities and potential threats in real-time. Stay updated on the latest cybersecurity threats and trends through threat intelligence sources.

In the world of cybersecurity, prevention is always better than remediation. Stay safe, stay aware, and make cybersecurity a year-round commitment! Download your complimentary Cybersecurity Awareness Month Kit from our partners at KnowBe4 for a fun and interactive way to help your users keep up their cybersecurity defenses.

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