If you’re ever in the mood to celebrate, but your birthday is still months away, here’s some good news: There is a holiday for pretty much everything. Just a few in October include World Vegetarian Day (Oct. 1), National Fossil Day (Oct. 14), International Sloth Day (Oct. 20), and World Pasta Day (Oct. 25). IT professionals have it even better. They get the whole month of October to celebrate something critically important in their world during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
To IT pros, it may seem a little silly that this even exists. After all, no one is more aware of the need for cybersecurity, and the prevalence of potential threats to an enterprise’s IT environment.
But it doesn’t hurt to have this month, either. For one thing, it reminds the average person — including your C suite and the other employees in your organization — that securing a technology environment remains of paramount importance.
Make Employees the Stars of Your Cybersecurity Strategy: 5 Tips
You no doubt already employ tools and technologies like firewalls, antivirus software and unified endpoint management programs. But no amount of technology can completely protect your network and data.
Securing an enterprise requires educating employees in addition to using these tools. Humans are often the weakest link in enterprise IT security — but trained workers shift from liabilities to assets, becoming your first line of defense against cybersecurity threats.
Some tips to ensure employees are part of your cybersecurity strategy include:
Don’t let security patches be an option.
Users often ignore software update prompts, but this opens the door to ransomware attacks. To avoid them, enterprises need strict patching policies in place. Preferably, deploy automated patch management, taking users out of the equation. This includes on any personal devices employees use for work.
Enforce password policies.
Strong passwords are necessary and should be changed regularly. Set up a system that forces users to change their passwords on a predetermined schedule.The system should require them to select combinations with numbers, special characters, and both upper and lowercase letters.
Send regular email reminders and tips.
For employees outside the IT department, cybersecurity isn’t top of mind. For them, having a secure virtual environment is like having good internet service. When it’s working well, no one really thinks about it. That means it’s IT’s job to ensure employees remain aware and alert. Send reminders not to download attachments or click links that look suspicious; provide tips on securing programs like Zoom; and share quick-read news about data breaches and cyberattacks in other companies to show people the threats are always out there.
Create a cross-functional incident response team.
While IT staff are the first to identify and start to fix a problem, a response to a cybersecurity issue can include non-technical aspects, like notifying customers and vendors. That means marketing, PR, HR, legal and management need to know what to do and what their roles are. Create an incident response plan outlining steps to take and everyone’s responsibilities if there is a breach. (And don’t wait until after an incident has occurred to create a plan, because reaction time is critical.)
Learn your BitSight rating and share it with employees.
If you aren’t familiar with it, a BitSight rating is like a credit score for a company’s security effectiveness. The rating is calculated on a scale of 250 to 900. The higher a company’s rating, the better its security.
For example, Tangoe has a score of 780 — considered advanced for companies in the telecom industry — thanks to our continued push to keep customer data secure. We maintain industry, local, and national government and international security (e.g., SSAE 18 Type II, ISO 9001, ISO 27001 series), and continue to implement and enhance our privacy-compliant (GDPR, CCPA, and PCI) operations. This ensures the security and privacy of all data and documents received and processed on behalf of our customers.
Knowing your own BitSight rating can show you what you need to adjust, and sharing it with employees can show them everyone plays a role in the overall security of a company. While October is the designated month for spreading awareness, maintaining cybersecurity is an everyday thing — and good IT security posture is definitely something worth celebrating.
The Tangoe platform isn’t just secure. It’s also a way to gain full visibility of your IT programs and assets, so you can confidently make decisions and create reports. Contact us today.