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It’s October; the start of fall, Halloween and the run up to Thanksgiving and the festive season. This month is also cybersecurity awareness month, an international initiative that aims to raise awareness about cybersecurity risks and promote best practice for proper defense. 

If you haven’t yet celebrated this event in your company, now’s the time to do it. Cybersecurity awareness month is a fantastic opportunity to improve employee awareness about threats like phishing, ransomware and other attacks. 

Why Is Cybersecurity Awareness Important? 

A common mistake organizations make is to falsely believe that cybersecurity should only be handled by IT and security professionals or managed services providers. While these individuals should be responsible for implementing and managing your cybersecurity program, your employees also have an important role to play. 

According to Verizon’s 2022 Data Breaches Investigations Report, 82% of data breaches were the result of human error. This means that, even with the best defenses and tools in place, you are still at risk of a cyber-attack if your employees don’t know how to spot common threats or accidentally leak data.

This is why cybersecurity awareness is so crucial. It empowers employees with the skills and knowledge to avoid common security pitfalls. 

Four Security Lessons To Teach Your Employees To Stay Safe Online 

We wholeheartedly believe that creating a culture of security should be a year-round effort. Employees should receive cybersecurity training regularly, and this training should be timely, engaging and relevant.

If you’re yet to start a training program, now is the perfect time to do it. Here are four key lessons to consider including: 

Regularly update your software and hardware. Better yet automate the process!

Software and hardware updates – also known as patches – don’t just contain critical performance enhancements. They also feature vital security updates that protect your devices and software from vulnerabilities that have been discovered. If your employees don’t update their devices and applications, they are more vulnerable to exploitation by cyber criminals. 

In fact, the infamous WannaCry ransomware attack only occured because hundreds of organizations failed to install critical security updates. Had they done so, the hackers wouldn’t have been able to break into their systems.

So, encourage your employees to regularly update their software and hardware. Ideally, they should do this as soon as the alert appears. Of course, in the rush of work, it can be very tempting to click the ‘remind me later’ button. This is why we recommend automating the update process, so your employees don’t have to worry about remembering to update their devices and apps. 

Use unique, complex passwords for every account

It’s scary to think but, chances are, at least some of your employees’ personal data is up for sale on the dark web. With the velocity of data breaches today, it’s way too easy for hackers to get their hands on people’s email addresses and passwords. Plus, with the rise of social media sites like Instagram and LinkedIn, it’s straightforward for cybercriminals to Google an individual and find out where they work, who they work with and where they live – among other details.

With all this information, malicious actors can break into people’s corporate and personal email and cloud accounts. This is why it’s so important to use strong, unique passwords for each online account. If one of your employee’s accounts is breached and they use the same password for every account, a cybercriminal could access everything.

To help your employees stick to this practice, we advise deploying a company-wide password manager. These solutions automatically remember all your different passwords for you. You only need to remember one ‘master password’ to unlock the solution.

On top of this, advocate that employees use multi-factor authentication for their email accounts.

Spot Phishing Attacks 

Research shows that every one in 99 emails is a phishing attack. In these scams, a malicious actor will send an email to their victim, pretending to be a legitimate body – such as a well-known brand or health organization. 

The email will either contain a link to a malicious website that harvests the user’s data, or include an attachment riddled with ransomware or malware. 

While some phishing emails are easy to spot, they can also be highly-targeted, personalized and difficult to distinguish from legitimate communications. Empower your employees to spot these threats by teaching them the tell-tale signs of a phishing email, which include: 

  • Spelling errors in the email text
  • An email address that looks suspicious or is from an unknown sender  
  • A sense of urgency and pressure to respond to the request quickly

We recommend putting in place a process for your employees, so they know what to do when they receive an email they’re unsure of. 

We’ll Help You With Regular Cybersecurity Training and Threat Protection 

Being informed about the best security tactics for your business is essential. It is not only needed for Cybersecurity Awareness Month but year-round. Want to secure your cyberspace and business data better? 

Contact us at (303) 282-4934 or go through our website for further information.

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