Happy Cybersecurity Awareness Month!

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Now that it’s October, we’re celebrating Cybersecurity Awareness Month! Here at Varsity, we strive to raise awareness about cybersecurity to ensure everyone has the information they need to stay safer online. As cybersecurity threats increase and become more sophisticated, organizations of all sizes and industries are at risk. Nonprofits are especially vulnerable to cyberattacks because of the sensitive information they collect. Ensure your organization’s information stays secure and protected with a comprehensive, multi-layered security strategy.

The theme of this month is “See Yourself in Cyber,” which focuses on the human element of cybersecurity. Although cybersecurity can be complicated, it’s ultimately about people and the roles they play protecting themselves, their loved ones, and their businesses online. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) are leading a collaborative effort to educate everyone about cybersecurity risks, and we’re here to do the same. Continue reading to learn why the human element of cybersecurity is so important and key steps you can take to secure your organization this month.

What is the Human Firewall?

The term, “human firewall” refers to how well your team can defend and respond to cybersecurity threats. Like firewall devices or network protection tools, your team can recognize, analyze, investigate, and respond to cybersecurity threats. Oftentimes, an employee may be the first line of defense against a cybercriminal, which is why the human element of your cybersecurity strategy is so important. In fact, Verizon found that 82% of data breaches involve the human element — whether through social engineering or simply human error.

This is why strengthening your human firewall is an integral component of your cybersecurity defense. Even if you have all your systems updated and protected, your organization is still vulnerable to cybercrimes. When your team is educated on the cybersecurity risks that threaten your organization, they will be more prepared to respond in the event a cybersecurity attack occurs. Everyone has an important role to play in securing your organization.

Ways to Strengthen Your Human Firewall This Month

What steps can you take this month to ensure your team is prepared? Here are a few of our top recommendations:

  • Establish ongoing cybersecurity training based on your organization’s unique needs and risks. Ongoing training is important to keep updated on the latest cybersecurity threats and to ensure your team is confident in responding to them. TechSoup offers a variety of free resources to help nonprofits get started.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to secure your accounts. MFA requires additional login criteria and makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to compromise important data. If one credential is compromised, the attacker still has at least one (or more) barriers to breach before successfully completing a cyberattack.
  • Develop strong password policies to minimize weak passwords. Tools like utilizing passphrases and a secure password manager are two ways to create stronger passwords.
  • Recognize phishing attacks. Did you know that phishing attacks increased by 61% in the past year? These types of attacks will only continue in the coming year. Avoid phishing attempts by hovering over links. If a link looks unusual in any way, think before you click.
  • Update your software and applications frequently, or turn on automatic updates to ensure you never miss an update. Updated programs will stay more secure and protected.

Support Your Team With a Trusted IT Provider

Security is complex and difficult to understand. That’s why we recommend partnering with a trusted IT provider like Varsity to support your organization’s cybersecurity strategy. From advanced email security and device encryption to cybersecurity training and customized reporting, Varsity offers a variety of Managed Security Services to support your organization’s needs. We will work with you to develop a cybersecurity framework that gives you the best protection. Plus, our security services build on each other to support growth and greater impact.

Not quite sure where to begin? You can also take our free cybersecurity assessment to find out where you stand. Feel free to reach out to us anytime to discuss your results. We look forward to helping you improve your security posture.