Cybersecurity Awareness Month: 4 Key Steps to Protect Your Business

World Synergy's Blog

Welcome to World Synergy’s Blog! Our insight on marketing, applications, and technology-related topics helps your business thrive. Check out our most recent posts below.

Americans observe Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October each year. As a trusted tech-savvy partner, we wanted to make sure we did our part to help spread the word! Throughout the month, we featured meaningful reminders and helpful tips to help make you aware of your digital footprint and how to keep you and your business as secure as possible. Here's a comprehensive look at what we covered:

WEEK #1: Be Cyber Smart

Week 1 of Cybersecurity Awareness Month highlighted "owning your role". If you're anything like most business owners and executives, cybersecurity has already been top-of-mind; especially since the vast adoption of remote work since the global pandemic. Yet, as hectic schedules persist, it can be easy to forget even the basics in best security practices and overlook the fundamentals of maintaining your business' cyber hygiene.

A great place to start is to use strong, unique passwords with multi-factor authentication. You should also be properly backing up your data and continuously updating your software. #BeCyberSmart

See how secure your business is compared to industry best practices through our cyber security assessment. Click the button to schedule your 100% free cybersecurity assessment today!


WEEK #2: Fight The Phish

Phishing attacks and scams have especially thrived since the COVID pandemic began in 2020. In fact, 74% of  2020 attacks targeting US businesses were successful. Don't become a statistic! Week 2 of Cybersecurity Awareness Month stressed the importance of exercising a healthy suspicion toward unsolicited emails, text messages, and chat boxes – especially when it pertains to important information or financial transactions.

Do you know how to identify a phishing attack? Concerned whether your end users are trained enough to identify and report an attack?

These are three major scams to be wary of:

  • Phishing scams target non-specific individuals
  • Spear-phishing targets particular individuals
  • Whaling doubles down on the latter by targeting key individuals and posing as senior executives or influencers of their organization such as a CEO or senior management

All three add an extra element of social engineering to the mix, leaving staff reluctant to refuse a request from someone they deem to be important. Oftentimes, the sender's email address typically looks like it's from a credible source and may even contain corporate logos or links to a fraudulent website that has also been designed to look legitimate.


Tip of the Week:

Think before you click on any suspicious emails, links or attachments. Always double-check the sender email address – making sure it matches company name and format. And make sure to report any suspicious emails as soon as you can!

WEEK #3: Live, Learn, & Share

The 2021 global economy is expected to reach $6 trillion in damages due to cyber attacks. Ultimately, the argument goes, that there is strength in numbers.

Week 3 of Cybersecurity Awareness Month focused on the importance of sharing personal cyber threat encounters with industry peers and leaders. Forward-thinking organizations recognize that unifying people, technology, resources, and intelligence are the foundations for future cybersecurity. Sharing information about cyber threats, incidents, and vulnerabilities can be compared to the concept of a “neighborhood watch.” The idea is to observe, gather and share information — including the tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) of attackers. Thus allowing future targets to recognize potential threats sooner and defend themselves better — reducing the odds of future successful attacks.


The End Goal

The idea is to use information-sharing to raise costs and barriers to entry for attackers and shorten the time and narrow the instances in which their existing tools can be profitably recycled — allowing potential victims to develop defense tactics more quickly. Therefore, to succeed as often, attackers would have to invest more in new or modified tools or choose different targets — making it significantly more expensive for them to generate a return.

WEEK #4: 24/7 Cyber Safety

The average total cost of a data breach increased by 10% in 2021 to $4.24 million — the highest ever recorded. Furthermore, for cases where remote working was identified to be cause of the breach, the average cost increased to $4.96 million.

The final week of Cybersecurity Awareness Month emphasizes how cybersecurity is a year-round effort. It should be your first consideration when creating or buying any new devices and connected services. 

  • 43% of cyber-attacks target small businesses, and they have grown 400 percent since the start of the global pandemic
  • In fact, as of 2021, there is a ransomware attack every 11 seconds.

Whether the company is a multibillion-dollar international powerhouse or a humble startup, preventing malicious activity from ever reaching internal systems is not a simple task. Every time we access the Internet, we face choices related to our security — links clicked, websites visited, and wireless networks joined. Our security and the security of our businesses depend on having the proper systems and training in place.


Tips of the Week:

  • Speak up right away when you receive a suspected cyber threat.
  • Share your cyber attack experiences with industry leaders & peers.
  • Participate in cybersecurity information-sharing groups.
  • Maintain cybersecurity best practices internally AND hold your partners to the same standards — a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
  • Don't solely rely on antivirus programs to protect you.
  • Never assume your business is safe.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month Takeaways

Cybersecurity is no different than a home or office alarm system — except that it is focused on protecting digital assets from seemingly invisible threats. And one major difference is that cyber threats can cripple an entire business.

If this year’s campaign has made you take a harder look at your organization’s cybersecurity: Great! It’s had the intended effect. However, that also means you could be paying more attention to cybersecurity the other 11 months of the year, too.


We Are Here To Help

See how secure your business is compared to industry best practices through our cyber security assessment. Click the button to schedule your 100% free cybersecurity assessment today!