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How to Stay Safe: Top Cyber Hygiene Tips for 2023

In an era of rapid technological advancement, the importance of cyber hygiene awareness cannot be overstated. As technology evolves, so does the need for heightened vigilance and proactive measures to protect sensitive information. While cybersecurity may seem like an overwhelming task, it’s not solely the responsibility of the IT team. Everyone in your organization can play a crucial role in safeguarding both company data and personal information.

What is Cyber Security Month?

October marks an annual global initiative to promote cybersecurity awareness and education, equipping individuals and organizations with knowledge and resources to enhance their defenses against cyber threats.  The observance of Cybersecurity Awareness Month (CAM), serves as a timely reminder that there are numerous ways to protect data and that small everyday changes can significantly bolster the security of your network and digital assets.

Where Did it Originate?

The inception of CAM can be traced back to its roots as a U.S. initiative known as the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Subsequently, it gained rapid global recognition to become the defacto annual observance spearheaded by two key organizations:

– National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA)
– Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

This collaborative effort further involves a diverse range of stakeholders, including government entities, industry leaders, and cybersecurity experts, all converging with a shared objective of promoting awareness regarding cyber risks and best practices.

What is The 2023 Theme?

In commemoration of CAM’s 20th year, this year’s theme centers around the reflection of the cybersecurity journey—how far it has evolved and the path it still must traverse. In 2023, CAM focuses on emphasizing four pivotal best practices in cybersecurity.

These are:
– Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA)
– Utilizing robust passwords in conjunction with a password manager
– Maintaining up-to-date software
– Enhancing the ability to recognize and report phishing attempts

What is The 2023 Theme?

Central to Cybersecurity Awareness Month is the promotion of essential cyber hygiene practices. We follow good hygiene to maintain physical health. For example, we brush our teeth every day.

Cybersecurity also requires ongoing good hygiene practices to secure the online environment. These practices form the foundation of a strong cybersecurity defense. They help both individuals and organizations.

Essential Cyber Hygiene: 4 Keys to a Strong Defense

Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Implementing MFA is a critical step in strengthening the security of online accounts. Even if a cybercriminal obtains your password, MFA can thwart their attempts. Microsoft reports that MFA can block 99.9% of attempted attacks, making it a must-have for all logins.

person types at keyword with an overlay of lock and password sign in showing good cyber security

Strong Passwords & a Password Manager

Passwords remain a crucial element of online security. Encourage your team members to create strong, unique passwords for each account, steering clear of easily guessable information such as birthdays or names. Companies can help by enforcing robust password policies, requiring passwords to meet specific criteria, such as length, upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbol. For example at ACS we recommend and enforce the following for all ourselves and managed clients:
– At least 12 characters
– At least 1 upper case letter
– At least 1 lower case letter
– At least 1 number
– At least 1 symbol

Updating Software

Outdated software poses vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. Regularly updating operating systems, applications, and firmware ensures that the latest security patches are in place. Automation tools like Intune can streamline this process and enhance endpoint security, ensuring that all employee devices remain up-to-date.

Recognizing and Reporting Phishing

Phishing attacks are a prevalent avenue for cyber threats. Train your team to identify phishing emails, suspicious links, and unsolicited attachments. Encourage them to verify the sender’s email address and never share sensitive information unless they are certain of the recipient’s authenticity. It’s crucial to expand phishing awareness beyond email, as phishing via text messages and social media platforms is on the rise. Establish clear procedures for reporting phishing incidents, ensuring that both employees and the IT team are informed to mitigate threats promptly.

We’re Here to Help in Digital Cleanliness

"A tidy digital space is a secure digital space. It's the small steps in digital cleanliness that make the biggest difference." – Daniel Charnock

CAM presents a valuable occasion to re-emphasize the importance of cybersecurity while highlighting the vital nature of fundamental cyber hygiene practices. Cultivating a culture of cybersecurity awareness within your team is a paramount step. It can be the defining factor between vulnerability and resilience.

If you’re seeking guidance in securing a more robust and resilient future, the ACS team is ready to help you establish the foundational elements. Once these essentials are firmly in place, your organization can enhance its productivity and significantly bolster its security posture.

We’re here to support your cybersecurity needs. For commercial security clients looking to extend their protection, visit our partnership page to explore our digital solutions for a comprehensive security approach.

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