As we become more connected to the digital world, we must remember that with great convenience comes great responsibility. October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a global initiative designed to remind us all of the importance of protecting our digital lives.
Why Cybersecurity Awareness Month Matters
- Rising Cyber Threats: Cyberattacks are becoming more common and sophisticated. They can target anyone, from individuals to large corporations and even governments.
- Protecting Personal and Financial Information: We store a lot of personal and financial data online. Protecting this information is crucial to prevent identity theft, financial fraud, and privacy breaches. As of 2023, the average data breach cost in the United States amounted to 9.48 million U.S. dollars, and the global average cost per data breach was 4.45 million U.S. dollars in 2023.
- Preserving Digital Infrastructure: Our society relies on digital systems for critical services like healthcare and transportation. Cybersecurity helps protect these systems from disruption.
- Cyber Hygiene: Cybersecurity Awareness Month promotes good cybersecurity practices, fostering a culture where everyone understands the basics of digital security.
As a business, your employees are your first line of defense against cybercriminals, so training them on how to protect themselves and the company when they’re online is essential. Here are some best practices for preventing cyberattacks:
- Keep your operating system, antivirus software, and apps up-to-date. Updates often contain security fixes.
- Create strong passwords and use a password manager to help you generate and store them securely. Do not write down your passwords!
- When possible, enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for online accounts. Check with your vendors to see which accounts have it available. MFA adds an extra layer of security beyond your password.
- Be cautious of unexpected emails, messages, or links. Phishing attacks remain the most common cyber attack, with approximately 3.4 billion daily spam emails.
- Install security software on your devices and use encryption to protect sensitive data. Ensure employees secure their smartphones and tablets if they are accessing private company data on their devices.
- If you have employees working remotely, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to allow them to connect to your network securely from out of the office.
- Keep up with the latest cybersecurity threats and trends. Knowledge is your best defense against cyberattacks.
- Regularly back up important files to an external drive or a secure cloud service. This safeguards your information in case of ransomware or data loss.
For more tips and information, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website.
Take some time this month to ensure you have safeguards in place, and as always, Medcom is here to help! We offer HIPAA Privacy and Security training to your employees, plus we provide risk assessments and compliance reviews for your business. Contact us for more info!