Do your part and #BeCyberSmart for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

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October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which was launched in 2004 by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in an effort to help all Americans stay safer and more secure online.

The original goals of the month were to provide information and reminders, such as updating antivirus software and passwords regularly. Fast-forward to 2020, and the world and technology have most definitely changed. Cybercriminals have become smarter and more dangerous. We, in turn, must become smarter and more vigilant.

In its 17th year, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity across the nation and ensure that Americans have the resources they need to stay safe and secure online. This year’s theme is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.”

It becomes more and more difficult to distinguish between life online and offline, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, as so many aspects of our lives are impacted by the internet. According to the National Cybersecurity Alliance, “The theme empowers individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace, with a particular emphasis on the key message for 2020: “If you connect it, protect it.”

If everyone does their part, our world will become safer and more resilient for everyone. Here are two ways Augusta University and Augusta University Health System can help defend against these threats:

First, please complete the mandated biannual cybersecurity training. Each Augusta University and Augusta University Health System employee is required to complete the training prior to the Oct. 31 deadline. Please check your email for instructions from Augusta University on how to complete this mandatory security awareness training on the KnowBe4 Training Site.

Second, be dedicated to promoting a safer, more secure, and more trusted enterprise.

Here are ways AU’s Division of Information Technology is working to keep you safe:

  • DUO Multi-factor authentication: Our systems require both an AU email and password, plus a second form of authentication. This second factor is either a text or app notification.
  • Microsoft email archiving: This reduces the impact upon the organization if an email account is compromised.
  • Creation of the AU Security Operations Center: This is a centralized function within an organization employing people, processes, and technology to continuously monitor and improve an organization’s security posture while preventing, detecting, analyzing, and responding to cybersecurity incidents.
  • Our cyber defense department is training the next generation of cyber professionals through student assistants and programs.
  • A dedicated cyber defense webpage for more information on reporting suspicious cyber activity.

As our world and technology continue to change, there is no doubt cybercriminals will always be ready. We must also be ready. No matter what the future holds, we all should be educated and empowered to do our part.

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Staci Thompson
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Staci Thompson

Staci Thompson is the communications specialist for Information Technology. Contact her at 706-721-3359 or sthompson8@augusta.edu.

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Staci Thompson Written by Staci Thompson

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