How to Become Cyber Aware During National Cyber Security Month
October 17, 2018
By: Jason Eisenberg Community Program Manager for Office Depot, Inc.
If you are reading this, that means you are using the Internet. Which means cyber security plays a very important role in your life, whether you know it or not. Since 2003, October has been deemed National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) with the Department of Homeland Security and National Cyber Security Alliance as national co-leaders. The goal of NCSAM is to make sure everyone in the nation understands the importance of cyber safety and how to keep important data, your family and/or your business safe.
With every advancement in mobile technology comes new opportunity for security breaches. That’s why in 2018, the overarching message for NCSAM is that cyber security is a “shared responsibility”. Per Department of Homeland Security’s NCSAM toolkit, available here:
Everyone shares the responsibility for cybersecurity – from the average smartphone user to a corporate CEO.
“A business owner should be a business owner, not also a tech expert…” [source]
According to Barklyand associated studies, “58 percent of malware attack victims are categorized as small businesses” and in 2017, “cyber attacks cost small and medium-sized businesses an average of $2,235,000”. As a business owner, you have so many things to worry about – now you have be vigilant about this!?
The ideal way to keep your business safe from internal and external cyber threats is to have an expert – or team of experts – handling the arduous task of keeping your classified information safe. Having your own IT department would be ideal, but if you don’t already have one and are limited on funds, there are business services that can provide IT as a service. This allows business owners to have a dedicated team monitoring their network devices and servers while not hiring an entire in-house team.
Ways cyber attacks can put your business at risk
It’s hard to know how to defend yourself when you don’t know what kind of damage can be done to you, so I’ve compiled a list of cyber-attack scenarios that can hurt your company. A good first step to rectifying your vulnerabilities is by looking at this list and making an inventory of what you have protected and what you don’t.
Revealing confidential information about your clients/customers
Affecting network devices that may put your operations at a screeching halt (profit margin)
Erasing years of company data before you know it
Damaging your company’s reputation – to clients and investors alike
Sending bank account information to another computer/server
Hacking your company’s social media accounts/emails
Being held hostage with your sensitive information – which can lead to blackmail and a hefty payday for the hacker
Preventative measures to consider now
Education is one of the best defenses you can supply your team with when getting your cyber security in place. Your infrastructure – whether it’s at home or at the office – should be managed by those well-versed in cyber security and networking issues. But they aren’t the only people who should have a cursory understanding of how to prevent breaches and store sensitive data correctly. Consider educating anyone who might be sending and receiving important data over your network and try to make sure you have standard protocol to follow. A few basic notes, courtesy of Digital Guardian include:
Data classification – identifying what information is sensitive and where it belongs; the most sensitive data classified as ‘restricted’ and non-sensitive data deemed OK for ‘public’.
Encryption – encrypt sensitive data before shared over networks (trusted or otherwise). Examples of what you can encrypt include emails, cloud storage, etc.
Using the Cloud correctly – storing data in the Cloud allows you to work remotely while still getting your work properly uploaded to the right place. But once uploaded, you don’t have full control of it – so it’s smart to encrypt classified or sensitive data prior to uploading.
Going back to basics
Have a secure backup/storage – there’s something poetic about using older, more basic strategies to keep you safe from new technology and those taking advantage of it. Try to have your sensitive files stored professionally at a storage facility. It’s important you store with a business you trust and that their facilities are truly safe and secure. Storage and shredding services provided by Office Depot include pick up, shredding and a certificate of storage to ensure your contents are safe.
It is important to remember that this is everyone’s responsibility because the cyber ecosystem is becoming more connected every day. For more information on how to spread awareness and to protect your networks, check out the 2018 Toolkit provided by the Department of Homeland Security – because cyber security is that important.
About the Author Jason Eisenberg is the Community Program Manager for Office Depot, specializing in small business and entrepreneurship. Based out of one of the most exciting cities for startups – Austin, TX – Jason is plugged into the business community, often connecting with thought leaders, entrepreneurs and strategists to help identify and find solutions to common pain points all business owners share.
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All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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