4 ways to celebrate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October 26, 20183 minute read

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October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and you know what that means: free donuts! Okay, we can’t guarantee your boss will go along with that idea, but there are plenty of other ways to celebrate.

One of the best is to champion a secure digital lifestyle for everyone in your IT environment. As luck would have it, you’ll be fostering a more secure workplace, making your job much easier at the same time! Here are four actionable ways you can spread awareness and keep your users safe in a connected world.

1. Practice good cybersecurity everywhere—even at home

At first, it may seem odd to educate your users about cybersecurity at home. After all, it’s not an IT environment under your control, right? Wrong. The habits your users pick up at home will undoubtedly make their way to the workplace. There’s also the matter of telecommuting, which requires comingling of work and home infrastructure. In other words, keeping your users safe while in the comfort of their own homes will have implications for security in the office.

To help your users create safe online sanctuaries at home, you need to equip and motivate them. First, develop some easily accessible resources for your users to consume, whether they’re at home on the couch or at the desk in the office. Think interactive websites with simple steps to secure a home router or weekly posts on social media with the “Security Tip of the Day.” Don’t be afraid to get creative with incentives, like a home scavenger hunt for secure devices that reward winners with gift cards.

Long story short, make it easy and enjoyable for your users to make their homes secure.

2. Educate for the future of cybersecurity

Speaking of equipping and inspiring, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month provides an excellent opportunity to make sure your environment is secure for decades to come. No, this doesn’t involve a crystal ball. We’re talking about educating for the future—both your own and that of those with aspirations to become cybersecurity pros.

Cybercriminals aren’t content with their current crop of tools and methods, and you shouldn’t be either. Take the time to schedule ongoing education into your busy week or month to “sharpen the sword,” be it through free online classes or fancy conferences in warm, sunny resorts. Similarly, encourage others on your team, and even those outside of it who have the slightest interest in cybersecurity, to take advantage of available resources to further their knowledge.

3. Get the C-suite involved and invested

As an IT professional, it’s easy to take cybersecurity for granted at times. You’re naturally wired to keep your digital presence secure. Unfortunately, most aren’t quite so gifted. In fact, many organizations struggle with digital literacy in today’s corporate world. They highlight the fact that only 54 percent of surveyed IT professionals consider their leadership to be “digitally literate.” That’s not exactly a vote of confidence.

Use this month as a springboard for communicating your cybersecurity passion up the chain of command. Try seeing if you can get the execs into a presentation on all the risks your business faces or writing a letter to the board. Do whatever it takes, because if the C-suite isn’t on board, your cybersecurity efforts will be unnecessarily muted. As a bonus, you’ll find it much easier to get buy-in from everyone else in your organization with a little backing from the top.

4. Protect every aspect of your IT environment

If nothing else, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month serves as a reminder to take stock of your own capabilities. While you no doubt have your continually regulated and audited infrastructure on lockdown, what about those less glamorous endpoints?

Take your print fleet, for example. When’s the last time you checked if the firmware was up to date? What about your printer security policy? Use this holiday as motivation to get your “fringe” devices on a better security track. Better yet, take a look at solutions that can take some of the cybersecurity load off your shoulders through automated self-management. A secure print analysis may also prove useful in identifying your current risk level and setting up the right printer security policy to plug any vulnerabilities.

While National Cybersecurity Awareness Month may sound like a Hallmark holiday, it’s a good excuse to shore up your security efforts. Take these tips to heart and you’ll not only find your way to a more secure environment, but you’ll have an easier time keeping it that way, too. You may even score some free donuts in the process!

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