October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which is a great time for every organisation and individual to re-evaluate their security procedures and technologies, and the role that they want to play in their personal and corporate cybersecurity practices. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has given this year’s campaign the following title – “See Yourself in Cyber.” As a WatchGuard distributor, we embrace that meaning to include all of us, regardless of our role or responsibility, we can make a positive contribution to a safer and more secure online world.
Whether you learn in class or remotely, work in an office or from home, run a small or midsize business or are a technology vendor and service provider, there is more you can do to better protect your data and assets. And because every business and individual should consider themselves a potential target, it is essential that we all proactively take measures to protect ourselves, our devices, and our data and do what we can to lower our risk.
Each individual should understand the larger consequences of not acknowledging their individual impact on cybersecurity. A lack of awareness or a careless mistake can lead to a loss of data, a ransomware attack, or other costly disruptions to your business (or personal life). Even organisations with the strongest and most sophisticated cybersecurity defences must still rely on individuals to do their part.
If you are responsible for IT or cybersecurity in your organisation, think about implementing layered security so you can trust that you are supporting a risk-prepared and risk-aware work environment. This means that you would have all the necessary measures in place (people awareness, protected systems and devices) to carry out your daily operations.
CISA recommends that professionals, individuals, and families get into the routine of practicing effective cyber hygiene habits such as updating software and patches, only clicking on trusted links, using strong passwords, or using a verified password manager and ensuring that you have installed multi-factor authentication (MFA) on all your devices.
Further, CISA recommends putting effective collaboration practices into action. This involves sharing cybersecurity information in real-time and reducing risk to protect Africa’s vulnerable yet critical infrastructure and systems that we are dependent upon for information every day.
CISA and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) are emphasising the steps that individuals can take daily to prevent cybersecurity attacks:
- Be vigilant before you click on links and report phishing attempts: If an email, link, or document looks suspicious, it is better to delete it before opening it – this could be an attempt to extract sensitive data or force the download of malware. Do your part and declare phishing attempts to the IT professionals in your organisation – it reduces the chance of infiltration.
- Regularly update all your software and patches: Turn on automatic updates and install new verified software as soon as it becomes available. Consider Patch Management as a convenient way to manage and deploy patches and updates available for your operating systems and applications, in real time and on all devices in your company. It is also worth keeping abreast of new ransomware attacks in the news, so you are aware of ever-evolving threats.
- Get into the habit of using strong passwords: Use randomly-generated passwords or a password manager such as Bitwarden. These are very secure and encrypt a user’s precious information, keeping imposters out of private data.
- Invest in multi-factor authentication (MFA): This solution reduces network disruptions and data breaches that can result from the use of weak or stolen passwords.
WatchGuard AuthPoint MFA can be managed on the intuitive Cloud platform, reducing the need for expensive hardware. This product’s ecosystem has been developed so that it integrates with third-party applications – ensuring that the MFA is universally applied for access to vulnerable applications, web services, VPNs, and networks. By using the AuthPoint mobile application, users can view each log-in attempt and block or accept access via a smartphone.
Contact the dedicated Dolos team to arrange a complementary assessment of your organisation’s cybersecurity posture and requirements.