National Cybersecurity Awareness Month turns 15

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This year marks the 15th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Originally launched by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2004, NCSAM focuses on different aspects of cybersecurity each week with the goal of ensuring that every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online.

Data professionals understand all too well that every person who logs on to the internet at their job or their home has a de facto role in helping organizations -- and even our country -- remain cyber secure. Offering a host of resources for workforce education, training and cyber awareness the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month empowers individuals, families and businesses to stay safe online.

New this year is a nationwide workshop series designed for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), CyberSecure My Business, which trains business owners to identify their “digital crown jewels” in order to foster early breach detection. Based on the voluntary Cybersecurity Framework of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and run by the National Cyber Security Alliance, the program encourages quick and effective responses to cyber issues to minimize organizational impact.

Weekly themes are included below:

Week 1: Oct. 1­–5: Make Your Home a Haven for Online Safety

Every day, parents and caregivers teach kids basic safety practices ‒ like looking both ways before crossing the street and holding an adult’s hand in a crowded place. With family members using the internet to engage in social media, adjust the home thermostat or shop for the latest connected toy, it is vital to make certain that the entire household ‒ including children – learn to use the internet safely and responsibly and that networks and mobile devices are secure. Week 1 will underscore basic cybersecurity essentials the entire family can deploy to protect their homes against cyber threats.

Week 2: Oct. 8–12: Millions of Rewarding Jobs: Educating for a Career in Cybersecurity

A key risk to our economy and security continues to be the shortage of cybersecurity professionals to safeguard our ever-expanding cyber ecosystem. Raising the next generation of interested and capable cybersecurity professionals is a starting point to building stronger defenses. Week 2 will address ways to motivate parents, teachers and counselors to learn more about the field and how to best inspire students and others to seek highly fulfilling cybersecurity careers.

Week 3: Oct. 15–19: It’s Everyone’s Job to Ensure Online Safety at Work

When you are on the job – whether it’s at a corporate office, local restaurant, healthcare provider, academic institution or government agency ‒ your organization’s online safety and security are a responsibility we all share. And, as the lines between our work and daily lives become increasingly blurred, it is more important than ever to be certain that smart cybersecurity carries over between the two. Week 3 will focus on cybersecurity workforce education, training and awareness while emphasizing risk management, resistance and resilience. NCSA’s CyberSecure My Business™ will shed light on how small and medium-sized businesses can protect themselves, their employees and their customers against the most prevalent threats.

Week 4: Oct. 22–26: Safeguarding the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure

Our day-to-day life depends on the country’s 16 sectors of critical infrastructure, which supply food, water, financial services, public health, communications and power along with other networks and systems. A disruption to this system, which is operated via the internet, can have significant and even catastrophic consequences for our nation. Week 4 will emphasize the importance of securing our critical infrastructure and highlight the roles the public can play in keeping it safe. In addition, it will lead the transition into November’s Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, which is spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Other events planned include:

Thursday Oct. 9, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. EDT
Small Business Scams: What to Look Out For and How to Protect Your Small Business From Them
Join NCSA and our partners for National Cyber Security Awareness Month, where we'll be discussing small business scams, and how small business owners and employees can identify them and protect themselves against such scams.

Twitter Chat:
Thursday, Oct. 18, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EDT
Cybersecurity in the Workplace Is Everyone’s Business
This National Cybersecurity Awareness Month #ChatSTC will focus on cybersecurity workforce education, training and awareness at all levels while emphasizing risk management, resistance and resilience in small businesses.

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