As we enter the last week of October, and with it, the final few days of Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM), we want to remind local businesses and organizations that online vigilance is vital 365 days a year.
CSAM is a great initiative, but as a Kelowna-based data security firm serving clients across Western Canada, we know firsthand that businesses shouldn’t let their guard down come November 1. Our President and industry veteran of more than 24 years, Tillman Hodgson, explains:
“It’s been an interesting few weeks in the digital world, from the Pandora Papers to social media outages, to warnings from the RCMP about scams in the Kelowna area. As we live more and more of our lives online, we have more and more to lose from a data breach. I recommend participating in Cyber Security Awareness Month and taking advantage of all the free resources that have been created for organizations of all types. But crucially, this is ongoing work. It doesn’t stop come the end of the month!”
Recognized worldwide, including here in Canada, CSAM aims to help the general public, businesses, and organizations stay safe online. It is led by the government of Canada through the Communications Security Establishment.
A fitting theme for CSAM 2021
The theme for CSAM 2021 is “Life Happens Online” — a fitting theme for the current era, given how much time many have spent online during the Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, following on the heels of the Pandora Papers — the most significant data leak in history, revealing the financial secrets of some of the world’s most powerful people — and the recent Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp outage, the theme and CSAM, in general, feels more relevant than ever. Tillman continues:
“This stuff isn’t going away. In fact, it becomes more relevant with each passing day. Digital technologies and data sharing have transformed the world. For businesses, it has created new efficiencies and new ways to leverage data for growth. Most organizations rely on digital technologies to perform their core business functions. That’s often also how their customers interact with them.
This has brought new challenges. Businesses, big and small, expect their core systems to be available and trustable (or they can’t operate)! Likewise, customers expect the information they entrust with businesses to be secure. And all the while, there are bad actors out there looking to take advantage of any vulnerabilities in an organization’s digital systems.”
But Tillman doesn’t wish to scare anyone. However, he does urge those operating in the digital space to be vigilant:
“Small business has been hit hard by Covid-19, and the last thing many business owners want to think about at the end of the day is another crisis. I get that. I’m a business owner myself, and I don’t want to scare anyone. However, good data hygiene and practices are crucial. Be proactive, not reactive. Install the fire alarm and mark the exits before the fire, not after.”
Some actionable advice
For business owners, we’re offering the following advice:
– Always perform your device updates (these are often security patches)
– Make sure all of your mobile devices are password protected
– Never click links or open attachments from unknown/untrusted sources
– Have strong, unique passwords for all accounts
– Review your policies and encourage a cyber-aware work environment and team
In addition, SeekingFire Consulting Inc. offers free information security consultations to businesses large and small. Please click here to contact us.
While we have made every effort to present accurate, unbiased and helpful information in this article, please note that it reflects the author’s opinion and is written for the purposes of general knowledge, information and discussion. This article is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be considered as advice specific to your individual data security situation. If you would like to discuss your cybersecurity needs in specific detail, please get in touch with us.