Mimecast: Why Every Month Should Be Cyber Security Awareness Month

Each year, October sees the CISA and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) organize U.S. Cyber Security Awareness Month across the U.S., aiming to highlight the risks associated with online activities. Now in its 19th year, focus is given to proactively enhancing cybersecurity during this period, with a broad range of programs promoting safer online behavior.

However, with a staggering 594 million people affected by cybercrimes each year, both businesses and individuals must look beyond this month-long awareness program and practice online safety at all times. In fact, for many people, ensuring that every month is Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a fundamental approach to staying vigilant in the face of evolving threats.

So, with the ever-present threat of cybercrime always looming over us, we look at what can be done to ensure that one is always ahead of the curve when it comes to cybersecurity.

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New Ways of Working Means New Challenges

Cyber security is a massive issue worldwide, and companies, both large and small, are affected by a broad range of cybercrimes. These include familiar threats, such as phishing emails and identity theft, as well as new threats associated with the rise of remote working and the growth of the IoT.

For example, the recent rise of remote working may present unique challenges not previously encountered, and while one’s company email may be secured, other methods of digital collaboration may be more exposed. File sharing apps, instant messengers, and conference call platforms have all been shown to present a variety of vulnerabilities over the past two years, and ensuring one assesses the risks associated with third-party software is key to supporting remote workers in maintaining security.

Regular Reviews Help Highlight Evolving Threats

Ensuring staff is given regular updates on the cybercrime landscape allows each individual to be aware of constantly evolving threats. Every day, cybercriminals are working to make scams more sophisticated. While staff may be well versed in ignoring emails from Nigerian princes, they may be less familiar with other forms of malware, ransomware, and DDoS attacks.

This can be achieved with a quick meeting to discuss the latest threats in circulation, by sharing cybersecurity publications and online resources, and by gathering a team’s own experience and knowledge around the latest attacks. However one approaches it, providing regular reviews can mean the difference between recognizing a dangerous link, website, or app, and opening the door to a full-on cyberattack.

Life-Long Learning Keeps Everyone Sharp

Conducting monthly security awareness training can also help staff remain sharp in the face of evolving threats—even when those threats are not widely recognized. Ensuring the team has the tools to identify the fundamental components of a cyberattack means they will be more responsive to potential risks.

During these security awareness training sessions, one can also define roles and provide training to those directly responsible for responding to security breaches, setting a reliable hierarchy in case of attack. Additionally, providing comprehensive information on password/account protection, safe search engine usage, and how to deal with sensitive documents and records gives staff the tools they need to improve cyber security across the board.

There are many ways to boost cybersecurity awareness in a company; however, regularly assessing and reviewing practices and habits is key to staying ahead of growing threats. Make every month Cyber Security Month and the company will have the best chance of staying safe in the online space.

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