Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Essential Cyber Hygiene

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As technology advances, so does the need for increased awareness, as well as proactive measures to safeguard sensitive information.

Cybersecurity can seem like an insurmountable task for everyday people. But it’s not only a job for the IT team. Everyone can play a part in keeping their organisation’s data safe. Not to mention their own data.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month and serves as a reminder that there are many ways to safeguard data. In this article, Jonathan Cundliffe, Managing Director of J700 Group discusses Cybersecurity awareness month and explains how following the basics can make a big difference in how secure your network remains.

What Is Cybersecurity Awareness Month? 
Cybersecurity Awareness Month (CAM) is an annual initiative held every October, promoting cybersecurity awareness and education. It aims to empower individuals and businesses by giving them knowledge and resources and helps people strengthen their defences against cyber threats.

CAM started as a U.S. initiative, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, this quickly spread around the globe.

It is led by two agencies:

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

This collaborative effort involves various stakeholders. Government agencies, industry leaders, and cybersecurity experts all come together with the goal to raise awareness about cyber risks and cybersecurity best practices.

This Year’s Theme
This is CAM’s 20th year. To celebrate, the theme revolves around looking at how far cybersecurity has come. Along with how far it has to go. This year, CAM focuses on four key best practices of cybersecurity.

These are: 

  • Enabling multi-factor authentication
  • Using strong passwords and a password manager
  • Updating software
  • Recognising and reporting phishing

Let’s take a closer look at these four best practices of good cyber hygiene.

Essential Cyber Hygiene: 4 Keys to a Strong Defence
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 defence. They help both individuals and businesses.

Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) adds a vital layer of security to all logins. In most cases, a hacker is unable to breach an account protected by MFA. This is the case even if the cyber criminal has the password.

According to Microsoft, MFA can block 99.9% of attempted account compromise attacks. With that strong track record, everyone really should be using it on every login they have.

Strong Passwords and Password Manager
Passwords remain a critical aspect of securing online accounts. Despite the increased use of biometrics, passwords still rule. Encourage your team to use strong, unique passwords for each account. Avoid easily guessable information like birthdays or names.

Companies can help by setting strong password enforcement rules. This requires a strong password before it’s accepted in a system. 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

Updating Software
Outdated software can create vulnerabilities cybercriminals are able to exploit. You should regularly update operating systems, applications, and firmware to ensure the latest security patches are in place.

Automated updates are a good way to ensure they're carried out promptly. Businesses can use endpoint device managers to handle updates across all their employees devices. Managers such as Intune can simplify the process and enhance endpoint security.

Recognising and Reporting Phishing
Phishing attacks are a form of cyber threat. Train your team to identify phishing emails, suspicious links, and u attachments. Encourage them to verify the sender's email address. As well as to never provide sensitive information unless certain of the recipient's authenticity.

It’s also important to educate employees about phishing beyond email. Phishing via text messages has increased significantly. Some criminals also phish via direct messages on social media platforms.

Another important aspect of phishing awareness is to report phishing. If it’s reported, then other employees know to avoid that phishing trap. The companies IT team also needs to know so they can take action to mitigate the threat. Be sure to let employees know how they can report a phishing email when they suspect one.

J700 Group Can Help You Put the Best Cyber Hygiene Practices in Place
CAM offers a valuable opportunity to refocus on the significance of cybersecurity. As well as prioritising essential cyber hygiene practices. Building a culture of cybersecurity awareness within your team is important. It can be the difference between vulnerability and resilience.

If you need some help ensuring a more secure and resilient future? Our team of experts at J700 Group can get you going on the basics. Once those are in place, your business will be more productive and much more secure.

Give Angelina or Deon a call on 0333 7721 700 or email [email protected] to discuss your concerns or talk through options to help secure your business.

Watch Our short video here>

About  J700 Group Limited

J700 Group provides effective IT support and services that enable your business to have secure, responsive and reliable information technology, keeping it running smoothly 24/7.  Above this though, we are a family run company who truly care about our customer service and the business relationships we develop.

For more information please contact Angelina or Deon on 0333 7721 700 or email [email protected]

J700 Group are a Lancashire-based, family-run, professional and responsive, Managed Solutions Provider helping Businesses, to utilise Innovative IT Consultancy Services, Cloud Solutions, Cyber Security, Microsoft 365, Telecoms, Web Design and SEO solutions to propel their organisation to the next level and beyond.

As an experienced IT Support Provider, helping businesses across Lancashire & Manchester, if you need any assistance with your IT including IT Hardware, a Disaster Recovery Policy or Managed Backup Solutions please get in touch with one of our team.

Where to find us: Prinny Mill Business Centre, 68 Blackburn Road, Haslingden, Lancashire, BB4 5HL.

#Cybersecurity #BeCyberSmart #CybersecurityAwarenessMonth #OnlineSecurity

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