October is internationally recognized as ‘Cybersecurity Awareness Month’. The first Cybersecurity Awareness Month was way back in 2004, a joint venture with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The purpose of the initiative is to help individuals protect themselves online as threats to information technology and confidential data become more common.
This year’s campaign theme, ‘See Yourself in Cyber’, demonstrates that while cybersecurity may seem like a complex subject, it’s really all about people. The theme will focus on providing information and resources to help all individuals and organizations make smart decisions.
Why is cybersecurity awareness important?
Cybersecurity events continue to grow at a rapid rate, especially with the adoption of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT). Human beings are still the weakest link in any organization’s digital security system. 88% of all data breaches are caused by human error, according to researchers at Stanford University. People make mistakes and fall for fraudulent practices. That’s where cybersecurity awareness comes in.
Cybersecurity awareness helps to:
- Ensure safety of sensitive data pertaining to customers and employees
- Prevent cyber-attacks such as phishing, malware, ransomware etc.
- Build and retain your customers’ and partners’ confidence
- Be regulatory compliant and avoid hefty fines
- Be socially responsible as a business
How to make employees ‘Cyber Aware’?
By creating a cybersecurity aware work culture, organizations can ensure that all its stakeholders (customers, employees, and partners) are mindful of the existence of cyber threats. This awareness is a first step towards cybersecurity. However, cybersecurity awareness is not a project that you can simply mark as ‘completed’ and forget about. It’s a continuous journey. Just as your organization’s security posture is constantly evolving, so should your awareness efforts.
Here are a few tips to increase cybersecurity awareness amongst employees:
- Make cybersecurity everyone’s responsibility
- Conduct periodic cybersecurity sessions
- Carry out regular cybersecurity audits and drills
- Implement robust cybersecurity policies and procedures
- Ensure that the senior management regularly features in cybersecurity awareness sessions
Every month should be ‘Cybersecurity Awareness Month’
Any organization or an individual with digital presence should have resilient cybersecurity capabilities. Cybersecurity Awareness Month is the perfect time to pause and take stock of your cybersecurity capabilities. It’s time to raise awareness about digital security and empower everyone to protect their personal data from digital forms of crime. However, considering the increasing adoption of digital and the rising cyber risks, businesses and individuals must look beyond this month-long awareness program to practice online safety at all times. Every month should be ‘Cybersecurity Awareness Month’ as the compounded effects of cybersecurity awareness initiatives periodically (atleast once a month) can yield great results in the long run.