Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Every October, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Cyber Security Alliance launch National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (MCSAM) to teach the public, including citizens and businesses, how to prevent cyber attacks. It was originally launched in 2004 with basic computer security tips about updating your antivirus software and similar tasks that both individual computer users and business owners could perform. Since then, its reach and levels of participation have grown to include many companies who want their employees to understand business cybersecurity. For example, each week of NCSAM began to have its own theme beginning in 2011. In 2019, NCSAM will depart from its original theme of “Our Shared Responsibility” and shift to this theme: “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.” This moves the focus from group responsibility to personal accountability for individual users.

As a small business owner or a member of a small or medium-sized business, you want your colleagues and employees to understand cybersecurity and cyber attack prevention. Here are some topics and tips that you can introduce to your employees during NCSAM:

NCSAM Topics to Consider

Password Strength and Protection

Emphasize the importance of using strong passwords to your colleagues and employees. Let them know that they should not reuse passwords because they are easy to remember. Why shouldn’t they reuse passwords? Because hackers can figure them out and sell them on the dark web. This could lead to security breaches, which can compromise sensitive data. You can encourage them to use password managers that will generate and remember all of their different passwords. Remind them to make their passwords as long as an account login will allow, and to use as many of the login’s password requirements (capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, etc.) in their password for each account. The more careful your employees are with their passwords, the more secure their accounts and your network will be.

Smart Social Media Habits

Limit the personal information you share on social media. Why? Because cyber criminals can take advantage of the information that you post to your social accounts. Keep your address, Social Security number, credit card information, and similarly sensitive information private. If you keep all of that information to yourself and off the internet, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from cyber threats, including identity theft. Create a list of social media precautions to take, and distribute it to your employees and colleagues so they understand how they can reduce risk on their social media accounts.

Cyber Attack Prevention Plans

Work with your colleagues and employees to develop cyber security prevention steps that will keep your network safe. Make sure that your antivirus and anti-malware software is up to date. You should also consider appointing several colleagues and employees to a security team that devises security measures that protect your network and your workforce. 

Social Engineering

Train your business’s workforce to recognize social engineering attacks that can compromise your business’s information and computer systems as well as their personal information. The most common social engineering attack is the phishing email. Social engineering scams like phishing emails are designed to trick the receiver into giving up sensitive information that the scammers can use to make data breaches and steal financial information. This type of email will often be sent from an email address that is similar to a big name website (think “”), but they can also be disguised as emails from your company’s executives. Teach them to be wary of emails that seem like they arrived out of the blue, especially ones that claim the receiver has won a contest they never entered, or has to pay for a product that they never order. They should never click attachments or hyperlinks in these emails. The more your employees know about phishing emails, the safer they and your network will be.

NCSAM Resources

During NCSAM 2019, you should take advantage of the NCSAM Toolkit PDF and the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Toolkit webpage, which offers cybersecurity resources for a variety of topics and audiences. The DHS website and the National Cyber Security Alliance website also have additional cybersecurity resources that you can use to educate your colleagues and employees. Use these resources to your full advantage so you’ll be armed with knowledge you need to protect your network’s computer systems.

Taking Care of Your Business’s Cybersecurity Needs

At Hi-Tek Data, we can provide you with cybersecurity services that will keep your network safe. Whether you need ransomware prevention, compliance, or identity management services, we can provide solutions that will work for your business. Reach out to us today to find out how we can help you boost your cybersecurity measures.

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