October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Published October 6, 2020

Experienced developers, cyber-security experts, ALM consultants, DevOps gurus and some other dangerous species.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The theme for 2020 is: “Do Your Part. Be #CyberSmart.” 

This event, put on by CISA and the National Cyber Security Alliance, is in its seventeenth year. The campaign aims to increase overall cybersecurity awareness, helping both private individuals and companies develop a safer, more secure environment for both themselves and their customers. This year’s “Do Your Part” theme encourages each individual to take a proactive approach to improve overall security. 

Why have a “Cybersecurity Awareness Month”?

The internet and an online identity have become increasingly important parts of the world. Most people are now connected in some form. Businesses rely on that connectivity to do business. A lack of cybersecurity, however, can open up both businesses and personal individuals to potential attacks. 

Unfortunately, much of the world failed to recognize those potential threats even as they embraced the opportunities offered by the internet and connectivity.

In 2004, CISA and the National Cyber Security Alliance decided that it was time to start spreading awareness. Out of that, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month was born. The program aims to increase public knowledge about the potential threats both businesses and private individuals can suffer based on the information they place online.

Many people simply do not recognize the errors they commit every day, from insecure passwords to failing to take the right measures to protect their devices. Organizations fall victim to phishing scams every day because employees fail to recognize them for what they are.

By increasing awareness, both within organizations and across social media and other popular platforms, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month helps keep businesses and individuals safer online.

What’s behind the theme: “Do Your Part: Be #CyberSmart”?

Many cybersecurity professionals acknowledge that the greatest threat to most organizations isn’t a threat from the outside. It’s the employees. Phishing attacks, for example, remain at the top of the list of potential challenges that many organizations face each year. Unfortunately, in order for phishing attacks to be successful, an employee must make an error: giving out confidential information, clicking an insecure link, or otherwise giving a scammer a window into the organization.

By encouraging each person to do their part, this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month theme encourages personal accountability for each member of the team. Securing a company requires commitment from all of its employees. Proper education and awareness, however, can go a long way toward improving organization security. 

What events are planned for Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is dedicated to improving cybersecurity awareness and organization across the United States. It’s a national event, celebrated by tech companies and companies interested in improving technical awareness alike. Each week, Cybersecurity Awareness Month focuses on a different topic:

  • Week of October 5 (Week 1): If You Connect It, Protect It: A look at what devices really need to be protected and how the Internet of Things can have a powerful impact on your office environment. 
  • Week of October 12 (Week 2): Securing Devices at Home and Work: With more employees than ever working remotely, it’s important to consider what you can do to protect devices on your home network–as well as providing additional security when those devices come back to the work environment. 
  • Week of October 19 (Week 3): Securing Internet-Connected Devices in Healthcare: As devices become increasingly complex, more and more of them connect to the internet. Those devices need to be secured both in order to protect patient health and privacy and in order to protect the security of other devices on the network.
  • Week of October 26 (Week 4): The Future of Connected Devices: Connected device technology is growing all the time. What does that future look like–and what does it mean for the security of your organization? 

Organizations commit to participating in a number of ways throughout the month. 

Improved education. Many organizations use National Cybersecurity Awareness Month as an opportunity to increase overall awareness and training within their organization. They might focus on sending out information throughout the month, making sure that each employee has a full education about how to protect themselves and their devices. Many also commit to increased training and information about the latest cybersecurity threats and how they can impact the business. 

Social media posts. Many organizations want to share their commitment to cybersecurity awareness externally as well as internally. CISA encourages the use of hashtag #BeCyberSmart to help showcase your cybersecurity commitment. 

Checking security. October’s commitment to cybersecurity awareness is a great reminder to check on those critical aspects of your organization. It’s a great time to schedule Static Application Security Testing through Kiuwan or evaluate the overall security of your internal network. Many organizations appreciate the annual reminder to focus on cybersecurity awareness, especially in a year where an increasing number of cyberattacks have led to challenges for many businesses. 

How can my organization participate?

Interested in participating in Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October? It’s the perfect time for your business to participate! Try some fo these strategies. 

  • Share information. Send out emails or post reminders on your internal message boards. Remind employees about the security measures they already know.
  • Get that training on the schedule. Has your organization been putting off cybersecurity training? Now is the perfect time to schedule it. 
  • Provide employees working from home with better cybersecurity options. If you have more employees working remotely due to continued social distancing measures in your organization, consider how you can test their cybersecurity and help them implement better security measures. 
  • Get the word out on social media. Promote your own cybersecurity content and use hashtag #BeCyberSmart to help increase overall awareness. 
  • Participate in a cybersecurity summit. Many of this year’s events are being held online, which makes it the perfect time to participate from wherever you are. 

This October, take a look at Cybersecurity throughout your organization and plan to implement some of these strategies to increase overall cybersecurity awareness.

Ready to schedule SAST testing or to connect with professionals who can help increase the overall security of your organization? Get in touch with our Kiuwan team! We love to talk about security.

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