In a new study, 80% of SMB respondents reported being “somewhat” or “very” concerned about a cyber breach but only 31% reported that their companies provide them with annual company-wide training. With National Cybersecurity Awareness Month beginning today, we can help bridge that gap. Established by the Department of Homeland Security, October serves as the time of year to raise awareness to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online. This year’s slogan is “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.” The purpose is to emphasize the role of IT in your every day life including data privacy, individual devices, and your digital finances. While cybersecurity should remain top of mind all year round, we should utilize this month to educate ourselves, our families, and our work colleagues on the ever changing aspects of cybersecurity awareness.

Own IT.

In this age of technology, everything is out on the internet. This means that our privacy is more vulnerable than ever. Whether you’re at work or at home, it is important to secure your digital life. Some things you can do to achieve this are:

Change your passwords. Change your device’s factory security settings from the default password. You should consider utilize the longest password or passphrase. Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites

Secure your network. Properly secure the wireless network you use to connect Internet-enabled devices. If you are connecting to your company network remotely, always utilize a VPN.

Keep your devices up-to-date. The best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems.

Secure IT.

Every individual and organization is vulnerable to a cyber attack and/or data breach. The biggest vulnerability that cyber criminals take advantage of is human error. Some things you can do to secure your devices are:

Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA combines something you know (password) with something you have (cell phone) and something you do (code or biometrics). Most sites have MFA available to use but you may have to enable it on your own.

Think before you act. Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately. Many phishing emails attempt to create a sense of urgency, causing the recipient to fear their account or information is in jeopardy.

Protect IT.

Whenever you’re online, you’re vulnerable. If devices on your network are compromised for any reason, or if hackers break through an encrypted firewall, someone could be eavesdropping on you. Always practice the following cyber hygiene:

Avoid public Wi-Fi: If you utilize public Wi-Fi, avoid sensitive activities (such as accessing banking) that require passwords or credit cards. Your personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi.

Keep your workstations safe: Never leave your desktop or laptop unlocked while unattended. Avoid creating sticky notes full of your passwords. Instead, utilize password management tools and follow company policies.

We want to help your organization become more secure and cyber-confident by providing complimentary awareness training. To celebrate Cybersecurity Awareness Month on October 22 we are providing complimentary training in Wallingford, CT. Check out our #CrackTheHack event for more details.