4 Essentials for Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month – a timely reminder to strengthen your organization’s data defenses. While IT teams handle technical protections, every employee plays a role in safeguarding sensitive information.

Following basic cybersecurity measures can make a significant difference in ensuring the security of your network.

This year’s awareness theme highlights four fundamental practices for maintaining strong cyber hygiene. Let’s explore these essentials and how T3 MSP can help implement them.

About Cybersecurity Awareness Month (CAM)

It’s an annual initiative (its 20th year) to promote education and resources to empower individuals and organizations against cyber threats. This collaborative effort involves various stakeholders, including government agencies, industry leaders, and cybersecurity experts.

CAM started as a U.S. initiative, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Then, it quickly spread around the globe. It’s led by two agencies: the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

This year, CAM highlights four essential cybersecurity best practices:

  1. Enabling multi-factor authentication
  2. Using strong passwords and a password manager
  3. Updating software
  4. Recognizing and reporting phishing

4 Essential Cybersecurity Best Practices

As part of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, promoting essential cyber hygiene practices is crucial. Just as we follow good hygiene habits to maintain physical health, good cyber hygiene practices are necessary to secure the online environment.

These practices are the foundation of a robust cybersecurity defense and benefit individuals and organizations.

1. Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Adding Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is an essential step in ensuring the security of all login credentials. With MFA in place, even if hackers manage to obtain passwords, they still cannot breach the account.

According to Microsoft, MFA can effectively block 99.9% of attempted account compromise attacks, making it a highly effective security measure everyone should adopt. It is recommended that MFA be used on all logins for maximum protection against cyber threats.

2. Strong Passwords and a Password Manager

Despite the increased use of biometrics, passwords still rule. Encourage unique and strong passwords. Avoid easily guessable information like birthdays or names.

Companies can set strong password rules to enhance security. For example, you may set up a policy that requires a password to have:

  • At least 12 characters
  • At least 1 upper case letter
  • At least 1 lower case letter
  • At least 1 number
  • At least 1 symbol

3. Updating Software

Software vulnerabilities are a gateway for cybercriminals to infiltrate your systems. Regularly updating operating systems, applications, and firmware is essential to mitigate these risks. This ensures that the latest security patches are installed, protecting your devices from known and emerging threats.

Automating updates is a convenient and effective way to stay up to date. Endpoint device managers can streamline this process across all employee devices.

At T3 MSP, we provide endpoint device management solutions that help keep all your IT infrastructure up-to-date and secure.

4. Recognizing and Reporting Phishing

Phishing attacks are a common method that cybercriminals use to access sensitive data. Train your team to identify phishing emails, suspicious links, and unsolicited attachments. Encourage them to verify the sender’s email address and never provide sensitive information unless they know the recipient’s authenticity.

It’s also important to educate employees about phishing outside of email. Phishing via text messages has been on the rise. Some criminals even utilize direct messages on social media platforms.

Another crucial aspect of phishing awareness is reporting phishing attempts. Reporting them alerts other employees to avoid such phishing traps. It also enables the organization’s IT team to take action to mitigate the threat. Therefore, inform employees how to report a phishing email when they suspect one.

Concerned About Cyber Risks? T3 MSP Can Help

Building a culture of cybersecurity awareness within your team is crucial to ensure resilience and avoid vulnerability.

Give us a call today or schedule a chat.

Article originally appeared on The Technology Press.