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Be Aware, Stay Secure

For those in IT and cloud service fields, you’ve undoubtedly heard about “Our Shared Responsibility” every October for years. It is true that the web cannot be secure without the help of its users; we all have a responsibility to endeavor to keep our data safe.

The Internet of Things has left us more connected than ever, and similarly much more vulnerable. In many ways, effective cyber security is like a flu shot - less effective if very few other people get one. This can be particularly true for small and medium-sized businesses, which often don’t take all the steps needed to protect their data.

Despite the hype, it isn’t difficult to take some of the first steps towards securing your data. There’ve been a lot of recommendations this week about what can make you safer online. We’ve complied a few, and added a few of our own.  

Get Educated

Spend some time reading up on Cyber Security, and keep tabs on those in the know. The SANS Institute is one of our favorite places to look for cyber security news. Want more? Kristina Ericksen at Rasmussen College recently created a list of 21 great cyber security blogs. Happy reading!

Get Your Baseline

Take a quick test to see how protected your network is. While there are many free online tools, take a look at www.pcflank.com. This site has a few quick tests that can be run to see how secure your network is.  Organizations should look to deploy vulnerability scanning and monitoring solutions, which can identify holes in security such as known vulnerabilities for the end user, server and network devices.

Get the Resources

Is your company devoting enough resources to its cyber security program? If not, take a look at this blog series from HP on how to justify a bigger security budget, and argue the business case for the increased spend. The U.S. Government Accountability Office’s graph of the increasing number of cyber attacks can also give a clear illustration of the pressing need for compensating investment in security.

 

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If a provider manages most of your assets, sit down and talk with them about how they are securing your data, and how they’re defending against the latest threats. Here are a few good questions to ask:

  • What technologies are deployed to detect and block threats?
  • How are threats monitored and reported?
  • How are communications back to you, the customer, handled?

Get Protected

Finally, be sure to take advantage of some of the resources available for businesses, like the U.S. Small Business Administration’s web course on Cybersecurity for Small Businesses or the FCC’s Small Biz Cyber Planner 2.0.

There’s still another week of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, so be sure to stay up to date by checking the DHS website, and join the conversation on Twitter using #NCSAM. Got a question about cyber security? Tweet it to the Department of Homeland Security @cyber.