Why National Cyber Security Awareness Month Is Our Shared Responsibility

ncsam300x300When National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) rolls around every October, I am still amazed at the folks who think cyber security doesn’t impact them.

The chances of your personal information being compromised is almost a certainty unless you’ve never shopped at Target or Home Depot, been to a doctor, or never had insurance or a bank account.

We live in an era in which records of 19.7 million U.S. citizens who applied for security clearances (plus 3.6 million current and former government employees) aren’t safe from the hackers who attacked the Federal Office of Personnel Management. Clearly, cyber security becomes more important in our everyday lives with each cyberattack.

Promoted by IT security professionals and organizations across the country since 2003, NCSAM is a joint effort between businesses and governments at all levels to ensure that every citizen has the resources needed to stay safer and more secure online.

Protecting your personal information and being proactive about cyber security is not just the responsibility of your organization’s IT department — it’s everyone’s responsibility, both at home and at work.

With events and initiatives throughout the month of October, NCSAM’s goal is to increase the preparedness of citizens in the event of a nationwide cyber incident. To reach these goals, a different NCSAM cyber security theme is highlighted each week.

So during this year’s NCSAM, consider the technology you use and try to find ways to be more secure with your personal and company information and devices by sharing and participating in these cyber security initiatives:

Week 1 — October 3–7
STOP. THINK. CONNECT. The Basic Steps to Online Safety and Security

An easy way to stay safer online is to remember: “STOP. THINK. CONNECT.” STOP to make sure security measures are in place when you are online or using an electronic device. THINK about the potential consequences of your actions and behaviors before going online. CONNECT and enjoy the Internet but be mindful of simple ways to protect yourself and your communities from cyber attacks.

Week 2 — October 10–14
From the Break Room to the Boardroom: Creating a Culture of Cyber Security in the Workplace

This week NCSAM focuses on creating a culture of cyber security in the workplace through initiatives, including training for employees emphasizing risk management, resistance and resilience. The goal is to educate the workforce in following best practices with an emphasis on both existing personnel as well as the adoption of cyber security training when onboarding new hires in an organization.

Week 3 — October 17–21
Recognizing and Combating Cybercrime

Cyber crimes are often associated with hackers stealing your personal information for monetary gain, but crime on the Internet is evolving into many different forms. This week, NCSAM focuses on different types of cyber crime by offering steps individuals can take to better protect themselves and their families. Careers in fighting cybercrime also will be spotlighted during this week as agencies and businesses across the U.S. struggle to fill open cyber security positions.

Week 4 — October 24–28
Our Continuously Connected Lives: What’s Your “Apptitude”?

“There’s an app for that” — a phrase trademarked by Apple in 2010 — is as true today as it was when Apple first introduced the slogan in 2009. With each new technological advancement, there are tremendous benefits and security pitfalls that must be weighed. As technology continues to pervade our cars, homes and even our healthcare devices, it is essential that we adopt these cutting-edge technologies safely and securely.

Week 5 — October 31
Building Resilience in Critical Systems

Even though it’s only one day, the last “week” of NCSAM is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of our shared critical infrastructure. The Internet is the backbone of nearly every aspect of our daily lives — from electricity and transportation to communications and national security. NCSAM will emphasize the importance of keeping these systems up and running and how we can help keep them secure.

As a designated NCSAM champion organization, Global Knowledge, along with our learning partners ISACA, (ISC)2, Cisco Systems, CompTIA, Palo Alto Networks, Citrix, SAS and Juniper Networks, is working to promote cyber security awareness during the month of October. You can help by sharing our blog posts, white papers and webinars.

During October, follow us on Twitter @GKonITSecurity and use the hashtag #CyberAware for daily NCSAM updates.

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