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Wrap Up: 2019 National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) represents a major opportunity for businesses, organizations, and individuals to improve their cyber hygiene. Using security best practices can help reduce your threat landscape – how susceptible you are to cyber-attacks and vulnerabilities. During this year’s NCSAM, we focused on ways everyone can implement better cyber hygiene at home and work. Keep reading to see what you might have missed and what’s next for CIS as we work to secure the connected world.

How to own, secure, and protect IT

The theme of this year’s NCSAM was “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.” At CIS, we focused on ways both individual end-users and organizations can harden systems and data. Our monthly newsletter included tips for each category. Here are a few key security guidelines you should follow:

  • Update your privacy settings: Set the privacy and security settings to your comfort level for information sharing. Keep tabs on your apps and disable geotagging (which allows anyone to see where you are).
  • Secure your Wi-Fi network: Your home’s wireless router is the primary entrance for cybercriminals to access all of your connected devices, and you can better secure your Wi-Fi network and devices by changing the factory-set default password and username for each one.
  • Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implore you to act fast. Many phishing emails create urgency, instilling fear that your account or information is in jeopardy.

Speaking of phishing – don’t miss this Short Guide for Spotting Phishing Attempts. A single successful phishing attack can bring in millions and put your organization at risk of a cyber-attack. Learn what to look for so you can avoid becoming the next victim.

Living in a “smart” world requires cyber hygiene

From Internet of Things (IoT) devices in our homes and workplaces to the development of smart cities, there are always new ways to improve security habits. Cyber hygiene is a lot like regular hygiene – it helps keep us safe and secure when interacting with public infrastructure. Similar to the way you’d wash your hands to avoid spreading bacteria, here are a few cyber hygiene tips to stay safe at work and home:

  • Connect to a VPN when using public Wi-Fi to protect the privacy of your browsing session.
  • Implement two-factor authentication for an additional layer of defense beyond the typical password. This should be required for employees accessing sensitive networks or data.
  • Take inventory of your devices – you can’t protect what you don’t know about!

For more tips, check out the CIS Controls Telework and Small Office Network Security Guide.

Another great way for businesses and organizations to stay secure is to enroll in CIS SecureSuite Membership. Resources for members include access to CIS-CAT Pro to conduct a remote assessment, CIS Build Kits for rapid remediation, and much more.

2020 Cyber Forecast: Cloudy with a chance of security

This year during NCSAM, we also took a look at the latest in cloud technology. We examined why upfront investments in hardware purchasing and inflexible infrastructure may cost organizations who wait to switch to the cloud. Read more in our blog post, 4 Reasons Waiting to Switch to the Cloud May Cost You.

While it’s clear that leveraging cloud infrastructure has advantages, it’s still important to implement secure configurations. CIS Hardened Images bring the security best practices of the CIS Benchmarks to cloud environments on major platforms including AWS Marketplace, Azure Marketplace, Google Cloud Platform, and Oracle Cloud Marketplace. During NCSAM, CIS released CIS Hardened Images for NGINX environments. This exciting launch will help organizations around the world work securely in the cloud with this popular open-source web server and reduce cyber threats. Learn more about this securely pre-configured option for NGNIX in the cloud.

Cybersecurity awareness from the individual to the community

It’s important for organizations and individuals alike to increase cybersecurity awareness. To start, we can encourage the implementation of daily security habits. Be sure to conduct regular updates, use caution connecting to Wi-Fi networks, and think before you click. At work, we can protect against phishing by not clicking on suspicious links in emails. It’s on everyone to be good stewards of the internet. Always avoid engaging in malicious activities or cyberbullying behavior. With enough practice of good cyber hygiene and sharing best practices within our community, we can build a safer online space for all. Check out the CIS blog for more ways to start secure and stay secure.