4 Tips to Simplify Your Strategy During Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October 18, 2022

4 Tips to Simplify Your Strategy During Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a great time to think about ways your organization can simplify your cybersecurity strategy and mature your program using less time, fewer resources, and decreasing expenses.  

This year’s theme is “See Yourself in Cyber,” which is designed to encourage organizations and individuals to seek ways to decrease cybersecurity complexities, focusing instead on the people part and what everyone can do to make better cyber decisions—at work, at home, or anywhere they engage with internet-connected resources.  

First, what is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?  

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is sponsored by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and takes place each October in the United States.  

The month-long campaign is designed to encourage organizations to do their part with cyber protections, including taking proactive steps that continuously enhance cybersecurity.   

The month started back in 2004, launched by NCSA and the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS).   

Some people stray away from talking about cybersecurity because they often think it’s a topic that’s far too complex and too technical for the average person to understand, let alone implement practices to protect themselves.  

That’s often also true for small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) who might think they don’t have the right professionals, cyber tools, research, time, or finances to build an effective cybersecurity program.   

But that is one of the great things about cybersecurity—and why this month’s theme is on target. There are some basic cyber hygiene practices everyone can implement to better protect themselves from potential cyber-attacks. 

Decreasing Cyber Complexities  

Where do you get started? Here are four tips to help simplify your cybersecurity strategy to make it something everyone in your organization understands and utilizes daily. 

1. Education is key.

As a business, ongoing training and education are key. If your employees do not understand what a cyber incident looks like, how it could affect their ability to do their job, and the bigger picture of the impact on operations, then they will not be prepared to take proactive measures to protect your enterprise.   

These same employees are prime targets for potential phishing attacks. Threat actors hope just one person can be lured into clicking a malicious link, downloading a malicious file, or being tricked into handing over credentials to your systems. Once inside, they can often move unnoticed throughout your enterprise, quietly launching malware and stealing or altering your data.  

Some tips:  

  • Educate your employees about what a phishing attack could look like.  
  • Routinely test your employees to see if they’re susceptible to falling for a   phishing scheme.  
  • Educate your employees on how to recognize a breach attempt and empower them to quickly report it to the appropriate teams.  
  • Ensure your employees use strong passwords.  
  • Limit employee access to only the system and data they need to do their jobs.  
  • Employ some type of multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an additional layer of security.  

Simplify your training and education program with a cybersecurity and compliance management tool like Apptega. It’s a great place to organize, track, and store your cybersecurity training documents. With its document repository, you will always be able to find your latest initiatives and keep your training programs up to date as your security practices evolve. 

2. Don’t reinvent the wheel. 

Often, organizations get bogged down in minute details trying to build large, overly robust programs to protect the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of their data. The reality is cybersecurity doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach.  

Instead of trying to build a specificized, unique security program for your organization, consider adopting an industry-recognized cybersecurity framework instead. For example, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework (CSF) is a free, voluntary framework you can use to either start a cybersecurity program or mature your existing practices.  

The framework helps guide program development across five core areas: identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover.  

The beauty of this framework is you can pick and choose which controls apply to your organization’s specific needs. This can help you develop a foundation for your program that you can mature over time by adding additional controls and practices to your program.  

Simplify your framework management with a platform like Apptega. The NIST CSF framework is one of many industry-recognized best practice frameworks included in Apptega’s growing library. With Apptega, you can quickly track which controls you already have in place, identify where you have gaps and weaknesses, and even get recommendations about what you need to do to close those gaps.  

If you use more than one security or compliance framework, you can get instant insight into all of them within a single dashboard, and, if you have controls in one framework that apply to another, you can easily apply them wherever needed (without duplicating work) through the platform.  

3. Less on human errors. 

Human errors often lead to security breaches. The more often your team must do manual, repetitive tasks, the greater chance you may have that human errors will work against your security controls.  

 Simplify those manual, repetitive tasks by using a cybersecurity management platform like Apptega that can automate those tasks for you.   

  With Apptega automation your teams can:  

  • Reduce duplicate work  
  • Eliminate guesswork  
  • Simplify framework and control management  
  • Track and maintain artifacts so they’re quickly accessible when you need them  
  • Quickly and simply produce a range of reports, either by choosing a report type from the pre-filled library or by customizing your own you can access at any time.

4. Ace your next audit. 

Every organization dreads audits. They’re time-consuming and cumbersome. They suck up a lot of your resources and prevent your teams from focusing on other tasks.  

But preparing for an audit doesn’t haven’t to be that complicated. You can simplify your audit prep by using Apptega’s Audit Manager. With Audit Manager you can easily:  

  • Assess current cybersecurity compliance  
  • Locate and store all your necessary artifacts and documents in one place  
  • Meet all required auditor requests for compliance proof and evidence  
  • Visually track your audit progress  
  • Increase teamwork collaboration by assigning tasks directly to team members as needed throughout the audit process.  

Making the Most of Cybersecurity Awareness Month  

These are just a few examples of how you can simplify your cybersecurity practices during Cybersecurity Awareness Month. And the great news is these tips apply to your work year-round.  

Now is the time to demystify cybersecurity and start building a foundation that protects your organization against potential attacks and prepares your teams to proactively defend your organization.  

Need help breaking down the complexities of cybersecurity by simplifying some of your existing practices? Connect with an Apptega advisor today to learn more about how we can help your organization save time, resources, and money, all while helping you mature your cybersecurity program as today’s threat landscape continues to evolve.