Yeah yeah, cooler weather, ghosts, Halloween candy, pumpkins, (and pumpkin spice everything), October is here. Well, for those of us in Northern Cali in the heart of Silicon Valley, it sure doesn’t feel like Fall weather at all after a hot summer and roasting September. But one thing we can count on for October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), as we like to call it here in the United States, and European CyberSecMonth, or ECSM, which is the EU’s annual awareness campaign. The aim in EMEA is to raise awareness of cybersecurity threats and promote cybersecurity among citizens and organizations. No matter the location, this is something the security team at Micro Focus takes very seriously. So seriously, that this year we are NCSAM champions, to help promote a safer, more secure and more trusted Internet and help keeps orgs out of the headlines for data breaches.
NCSAM is an annual campaign in the US to raise awareness about cybersecurity. It was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online. Started in 2004, this is the 16th year of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
More connected than ever before
Now more than ever, we lead internet-connected, digital lives. The line between our online and offline lives is indistinguishable. In these tech-fueled times, our homes, societal well-being, economic prosperity and nation’s security are impacted by the internet, points out the NCSAM website.
Internet users and connected devices are increasing exponentially, and Gartner expects to see 20 billion internet-connected things by 2020. With so many endpoints, identities, apps and data to keep safe, the Micro Focus Security, Risk and Governance team believes it is hugely important to raise awareness of cybersecurity.
A New Cybersecurity Direction
NCSAM continues to build momentum and impact, and is co-led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA). NCSAM is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives to raise awareness about cybersecurity, provide them with tools and resources needed to stay safe online, and increase the resiliency of the Nation in the event of a cyber incident.
This year, CISA and NCSA have shifted their focus to a message that promotes personal accountability. Driven through mass public engagement, the ‘Own IT. Secure. IT. Protect IT.’ theme will help to encourage personal accountability and proactive behavior in digital privacy, security best practices, common cyber threats and cybersecurity careers.
Data Breaches are costly
While the ‘Own IT. Secure. IT. Protect IT.’ campaign is good advice for individual users, or even an employee (create strong and unique passphrases, don’t fall for phishing attacks), businesses need to keep their data safe, too. The cost of a data breach is inching up, as reported by the Ponemon Institute, and is now close to $4 million globally, and over $8 million in the United States. It can be even more in hidden costs. Don’t forget regulatory fines, lawsuits, loss productivity and more importantly, loss of customer trust and therefore their business.
What can organizations do to keep their data and their customer’s data safe?
- Implement a holistic security framework to identify, protect, detect, respond and recover from cybersecurity threats.
- Discover and classify sensitive data to manage risk; protect data and enforce identity-based access for applications and users; and comply with privacy mandates with confidence and trust.
- Safely and securely manage information throughout its lifecycle based on policy – from data classification through to long-term management and disposition.
There are many ways that individuals can get involved during National Cyber Security Awareness Month, including:
- Follow the Micro Focus Security Twitter handle
- Use #BeCyberSmart and #CyberAware in all your social media messages during the month of October
- Join the weekly #ChatSTC Twitter chats! @STOPTHNKCONNECT hosts them every Thursday in October corresponding to the month’s themes
- Practice good online safety habits with these tips and advice
Enterprises need to practice good cybersecurity hygiene, too. Here are some ways organizations can beef up their security posture:
- Get industry trends and insights in the application security landscape from the 2019 Application Security Risk Report
- Protect and encrypt sensitive data by using a data-centric approachto data security
- Defend your IT ecosystem against data breaches and cybersecurity threats and read about the most pressing SecOps challenges for 2019 and how top-performers are addressing them
- Protect your org from hacking and security breaches with Advanced Authentication
- Track, manage, and protect your endpoint devices and ensure all devices follow standards and compliance to secure your network
- Empower your security operations team to identify and respond to threats that matter before data is stolen
- See how machine learning can be applied in the context of solving cybersecurity problems
- Analyze content for risk and classify it accordingly with a policy applied to govern access and retention
Of course, the best way for businesses to practice cybersecurity awareness and take security seriously is to take a holistic, analytics-driven approach to securing what matters most – identities, applications, and data.