National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Cybersecurity Awareness Month

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October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and we here at LearnBIG thought this would be a great time to go over some of the basics of cybersecurity for your company.  We’ve said it before and we will say it again: your most important resource when it comes to protecting your digital data is the members of your team.  They are the individuals who have to handle your important data, and they are the people that cyber criminals will target to try and gain access to your data.

Whether it’s cracking weak passwords or using phishing emails, cyber criminals need to get through the members of your team to get to your data, and that’s why your team is your best defence against a cyber attack.  Let’s start with everyone’s favorite cybersecurity topic: passwords.  Everyone knows that you need a strong password.  Your birthday, your mom’s birthday, or your dog’s birthday simply won’t cut it when it comes to having a secure password in this day and age, and we all know that.  But complicating matters, there’s plenty of conflicting information, not to mention conflicting requirements, on what exactly a password should entail.  As a general rule of thumb, most password requirements offer the bare minimum of what can be considered secure.  That means it’s the responsibility of each and every member of your team to create a password which is not just minimally secure, but is actually very secure.  

And of course it’s not just passwords either.  Every other aspect of cybersecurity comes down to choices the members of your team will make.  Whether it’s installing that questionable piece of software, or opening that less than reputable email, the best firewall in the world won’t protect you and your data from poor choices made by the people sitting next to you.  

At LearnBIG we fervently believe that cybersecurity starts with a shift in mindset.  Every single member of your team needs to realize that they are personally responsible for the security of the company.  By making the mental shift from viewing cybersecurity as “something the IT department takes care of” to viewing it as “something we are all responsible for,” your team stops becoming a liability in the fight to protect your company’s data, and instead becomes your first real line of defense.  

In the end, cybersecurity can’t be reduced to just a simple checklist of procedures that have to be adhered to.  Of course it helps to demand a minimum length for passwords, and to institute a policy of not installing unapproved software on your work computer.  But in the ends those steps aren’t enough.  It may sound silly to say it, but cybercriminals aren’t stupid.  They’re often very smart people who are trying to capitalize on our natural instincts and failure to pay attention to details.  That means they’re trying to outthink your checklist of security procedures even as you come up with them.  And in order to combat them, you need to have every member of your team actively thinking about cybersecurity, not just passively following a set of rules.  

To gain a solid foundation in the mindset and habits needed to keep your company safe from cyber-crime, check out Cybersecurtiy Fundamentals.