October 2016 is the 13th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month (#CyberAware). Lead by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, the month is designed to be a collaboration between government and industry with the aim of providing both businesses and individuals with the information and tools they need to ensure their security in the increasingly online world.

The key message of National Cyber Security Awareness Month is to teach people to be on the lookout for cyberattacks and to teach them how to protect themselves, and their businesses, from such attacks while continuing to fully engage online. The key campaign, now in its sixth year, is STOP. THINK. CONNECT. The slogan is designed to provide actionable advice that will help people stay safe and secure online.

STOP: make sure security measures are in place.
THINK: about the consequences of your actions and behaviors online.
CONNECT: and enjoy the Internet.

The campaign is designed to reinforce security concepts including: “Keep a Clean Machine,” “Protect Your Personal Information,” “Connect with Care,” “Be Web Wise,” “Be a Good Online Citizen” and “Own Your Online Presence.” The official infographic will help keep cybersecurity top-of-mind in your office.


Free Small Business Cyber Security Events & Webinars

Each week in October has a different focus, covering both business and personal online activity. Local and online events provide security advice related to the topic of the week. There are a number of local events going on across the country throughout the entire month of October. See a list here to find one in your area. Additionally, the following webinars are available free to anyone, and are useful for any security-conscious small business owner:


Cybersecurity Awareness Twitter Chats

You can also join weekly Twitter chats on Thursdays at 3PM (Eastern Time) using #ChatSTC. The moderated chats are open to anyone, and include scheduled special guests each with a unique perspective on the cybersecurity topic being discussed. The first Chat occurs on October 6 and covers the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ (@STOPTHNKCONNECT) campaign. The next on October 13 looks at “Creating a Culture of Cybersecurity From the Break Room to the Boardroom.” On October20 the focus turns to “Recognizing and Combating Cybercrime.” And, the Chat series concludes on October 27 with advice on “Navigating Your Continuously Connected Life.”


Small Business Cybersecurity Resources

As part of the month’s activities, the sponsoring organizations have put together a number of resources designed to help small businesses implement cybersecurity programs. Check-out the following:

  • RE: Cyber
    This program is collaboration of National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Business Executives for National Security (BENS), and is designed to help small business CEOs and Boards to focus on understanding and managing cyber risk. It covers everything from risk assessment and management, to oversight, the legal landscape, and company awareness efforts.
  • Keep My Business Safe
    RE: Cyber is the first component of this larger program, also developed by NCSA, that provides the tools small businesses need to protect their business, employees, and customers from online attacks and data breaches including information on how to monitor cybersecurity threats and prevent attacks, how to develop a cybersecurity plan for your small business, how to train your employees to work securely, and what to do in the unfortunate event that your business does fall victim to a cybersecurity attack.
  • SBA Cybersecurity for Small Businesses Training Course
    The Small Business Administration created this 30 minute presentation as an introduction to securing information in a small business.
  • Workplace Security Risk Calculator
    Run through this 12 question quiz yourself, and have your team go through it too. It asks questions about workplace computer and device use, provides detailed risk information related to each question, and assigns a security-risk score based on the answers provided. Use it to help identify gaps in your small business security policy, as well as your employee’s behavior.

For other useful resources including everything from Tip Sheets to Studies to Infographics, check out the Cybersecurity Awareness Month Resources page.


Video Tip: Creating Strong Small Business Passwords

As my Tip of the Week contribution to Cyber Security Awareness month, I give you this short video on how to craft a strong password using the Kaspersky Strong Password Check tool. Remember, that while strong passwords will likely not stop a determined hacker hell-bent on compromising your small business network, they are your first line of defense; and crafting strong, unique, passwords for every site and application you access goes a long way towards warding off the casual attacker looking to capitalize on easy targets.


Small Business Security Tips

Securing your small business is a common topic in Tip of the Week posts. In honor of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, revisit the following:


Sign up for Small Business Smarts to get more small business tips like this one, delivered directly to you.

Lisa Hephner

Lisa Hephner

My name is Lisa, and I'm the Vice President of Knowledge, responsible for the management of corporate, product, competitor, marketplace, legal, and regulatory knowledge, and creation and dissemination of knowledge tools using these assets to PaySimple prospects, customers, employees, and partners.

More Posts - Website - Google Plus