Craig Cooper, COO, Gurucul | itbriefcase.net
It seems there’s a month for everything. Black History Month (important!) in February, which is also National Bird Feeding (not so important) Month. American Cheese Month in May. Jazz Appreciation Month in April. Etc. There are literally dozens of specialty months, which leads to a bunch of overlap on the calendar and most people only knowing, or caring about, the more famous ones. While, sadly, we know of no National Coffee Appreciation Month (but why not?!), there is Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October. Which also happens to be National Pizza Month.
This is a topic that deserves a lot more attention than it gets. Cybersecurity belongs to everyone and needs to be “in mind” more than just one month out of the year. Honestly, it’s something that IS top of mind for anyone in the industry and should be higher up the priority list for everyone else. This year’s theme is: “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” Which is timely, given the arc 2020’s been on so far in so many contexts.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month is broken down into four specific areas of cybersecurity awareness, starting the first week with “If you connect it, protect it.” The focus here is on the interconnectedness of our lives from the perspective of our lives online and off. Cybersecurity starts with us, which means being aware of what we put on the internet and learning how to take responsibility for our own kit.
Week two shifts the focus even closer to home. With the current “new normal” of so many people working from home, we need to be aware of, and understand, how our home and business environments are interconnected. This blending of work and home environments has opened up new vulnerabilities, and the second week focuses on things users and organizations can do to address the issues.
The third week goes into the importance of securing internet connected medical devices in Healthcare. The Medical community has started to rely more and more on internet connected devices and solutions to raise the bar on patient care. The introduction of telemedicine, digitized health records, wellness applications, and interconnected medical devices, has brought a range of improvements to efficiency and effectiveness. But it’s also brought a range of new challenges and vulnerabilities that malicious actors are actively trying to exploit. So, for the third week of Cybersecurity Awareness month, the focus is on what organizations and individuals can do to protect their own parts of this interconnected world.
The final week looks at the future of connected and interconnected devices. It’s more than just the Internet of Things (IOT) that’s becoming more and more prevalent. It looks at emerging technologies like 5G and how they will impact users and businesses experiences. The increasing speed and bandwidth combined with more capability in smaller and smaller devices is already changing how people interact with the world and the infrastructure it runs on. It’ll only continue to evolve, and the fourth week focuses on how we can all do our parts no matter what the future may hold.
Cybersecurity Awareness is something we all need to embrace. For those of us in the cybersecurity world, the message is one we know well. The more you know, the safer you are, and knowing is half the battle. Having a month dedicated to cybersecurity might be just the ticket to helping our colleagues and friends in the real world come up to speed on the things they should know. It’s a chance to make them part of the solution, rather than part of the attack surface.
It’ll take more than a month and a slogan. But it’s a step in the right direction!
Craig Cooper, Chief Operating Officer, Gurucul, Inc.
Craig Cooper has served in several information security and risk management roles including CISO for a Fortune 500 Financial Services organization. While in this role, Craig defined and implemented an ISO standards-based Information Security program. Craig has led, developed, and delivered multiple Identity and Access Management Strategies and Roadmaps for several organizations. Craig has written for several trade magazines and has been a speaker with Burton Catalyst, Gartner, and ISSA.