Building a Culture of Cyber Readiness During Cybersecurity Awareness Month

It’s Cybersecurity Awareness month! The time of year when businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies come together to stress the importance of cybersecurity in our daily lives. But it’s not just a time for IT experts; it’s an opportunity for all of us, especially small and medium businesses (SMBs), to take a closer look at our practices and fortify our defenses.

This year, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and many cybersecurity experts are echoing the theme of basic behavioral change to secure our world.  What does this mean for SMBs?

In essence, it’s a reminder to get back to the fundamentals of cybersecurity. It’s a call to reflect on how simple, yet effective, changes in human behavior can significantly enhance an organization’s cybersecurity posture. The reality is that the vast majority of successful cyberattacks target human error and manipulation. This is where your SMB can make a real difference.

Your business might not have vast resources, but you do have the ability to embed a culture of cyber readiness into your organization. The behavior and practices of your team can either be a vulnerability or a formidable defense. That’s why CRI urges you to consider the following:

  1. Strong Authentication: Weak or reused passwords are like an open door. Encourage your employees to use strong, unique passwords and implement multi-factor authentication.
  2. Software Updates: Hackers often prey on old cracks in your digital systems. Ensure your key software is up to date to prevent these intrusions.
  3. Phishing Attacks: The most common entry point for cybercriminals is phishing emails. By educating your staff about identifying and reporting phishing attempts, you can thwart these devastating attacks.
  4. Secure Storage & Sharing: Ensure your employees understand the significance of keeping their devices backed-up and safe from unauthorized access.

How can you take action this Cybersecurity Awareness Month? Here are some ideas on how your organization to capitalize on the increased focus on cybersecurity:

  • Communications: Promote a culture of cybersecurity within your organization. This means everyone understands their role in keeping your operations secure. Feel free to copy and paste links and language from CRI’s Cyber Leader Resources to communicate to your employees.
  • Training: Invest time in cybersecurity training for your employees. Use the resources provided by CRI, CISA, and others to educate your team about recognizing and mitigating common threats. CRI’s Starter Kit has downloadable resources to get you started.
  • Policy Review: Evaluate your cybersecurity policies and update them if necessary. Ensure they reflect current threats and behaviors expected from your team. Check out the Cyber Readiness Program if you need help.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is an opportunity for SMBs to reinforce good cyber hygiene by reminding employees they are the front line protecting the business and their behavior matters. Embrace October as an opportunity improve your organization’s cyber readiness by focusing on the basics and educating your team to build a strong cybersecurity culture. Your employees are your greatest asset, and their awareness and commitment to cyber readiness can help safeguard your business.