Cybersecurity Awareness Month

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National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM).  Set up 15 years ago in the US, NCSAM was a collaboration between government and industry and is ever more relevant today.

Last week’s theme focussed on online security in the home, ensuring parents train their kids in online security as part of their usual life-skills.  This goes from the internet, to mobile devices, social media and even adjusting the thermostat; everyone in the household needs to learn the importance of protecting their homes against cyber threats.

This week’s focus is on educating for a career in Cybersecurity.  We have a continuing shortage of cybersecurity professionals worldwide. At a time when there is an increase in cybercrime and our cyber needs continue to grow as we become ever more digitally connected, there is a massive risk to businesses and the economy.  GCHQ UK works closely with educational bodies across the UK to encourage young people to take an interest in cybersecurity.  They ran a Code Club in the summer, have 40 STEM Ambassadors inspiring youngsters and supporting teachers by explaining current applications of STEM in industry or research today and are now offering degree level apprenticeships and university bursaries.

As an industry we need to do more to train our staff to be more vigilant online.  In the past security awareness training was considered a nice to have.  It was pushed back due to budget or lack of in-house expertise on training.  For this reason, it is particularly the SMBs that have suffered.  Today many companies are now putting security awareness training among their top 3 security expenditures alongside firewalls and endpoint security.  This is due to the increased annual losses following a ransomware or data loss breach.  If you aren’t educating your users in security awareness, then you are putting your business at risk.

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