Every Month Should Be Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is celebrated each October and serves as a valuable reminder of how imperative it is that we safeguard our digital lives. Late January brings National Data Privacy Week, which reintroduces the sentiment.

In response to the ever-growing threat posed by cybercriminals, I propose an adjustment: Every month should be Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Every week should be National Data Privacy Week. Cybersecurity must become a year-round priority for consumers and business owners alike — the threat is too real to couch these conversations but for a handful of times each year.

In today’s digital age, it often feels like we’re in a perpetual race to keep up. New technologies emerge daily, and we frequently find ourselves navigating uncharted waters without proper guardrails. Cybercriminals exploit these vulnerabilities for profit before conversations about protective measures even begin.

Unfortunately, this leaves businesses both small and large as prime targets for cyberattacks. The financial losses incurred by a hack or data breach are just the tip of the iceberg. Reputations are tarnished in the process. Businesses can close as a result.

Small-to-medium-sized enterprises are particularly vulnerable due to their limited resources for safeguarding their operations. On the consumer end, a personal data breach can result in a yearslong pursuit to remedy the impacts of identity theft.

Many of these attacks take the form of phishing scams, which rely on prize offers, threatened punishments or sheer curiosity to compromise user accounts. These schemes prey on human psychology, making even the most cautious individuals susceptible.

While Cybersecurity Awareness Month and National Data Privacy Week provide a quick, concentrated burst of attention, the truth is that building strong cybersecurity defenses requires more than a few weeks’ worth of energy. The digital threat landscape is dynamic and constantly evolving. Our response must evolve in tandem. It’s encouraging that BBB.org’s search directory saw a considerable uptick in inquiries for cyber insurance. But it requires a collective effort to make cybersecurity an integral part of our daily lives.

Password management is an essential component of cyber hygiene. Strong, unique passwords that are updated quarterly is a great place to start. Password managers can be extremely helpful to generate and secure these complex passwords.

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Regularly updating your software to ensure efficient operations is another crucial step to take, as is providing regular employee training to ensure your workforce is prepared to protect your systems.

The war against cybercriminals must be waged on numerous fronts. The cost of complacency can be astronomical. Vigilance can’t be allowed to expire at the end of the month.

The Better Business Bureau has built an entire landing page dedicated to protecting businesses and consumers in the digital realm. It contains valuable tools, tips and content to help you and your business manage cyber risks and to stay up to date on best practices. Access it today at www.bbb.org/all/cyber-security-resources.

Megan Wells, 2023 BBB Student of Integrity Scholarship recipient
Megan Wells, 2023 BBB Student of Integrity Scholarship recipient

BBB Student of Integrity Scholarship Recipient

Student: Megan Wells, 2023 BBB Student of Integrity Scholarship recipient
Currently studying at: University of Nebraska at Kearney
Major: Communication Disorders – Speech Pathology
Anticipated Graduation Date: 2027

What does Integrity mean to you? Integrity, to me, is understanding and conveying honesty even in difficult situations. Everybody is faced with challenges, but for me, those who show integrity when it may seem impossible show me that my challenges may not be as hard to overcome. In my life, my teachers and parents have shown me how integrity can change my outlook on life. Knowing that they’ve made such an impact on me to carry integrity with me, makes me confident and motivated to continue to impact those who come after me and may be struggling with finding who they are as I was.

When joining the workforce, what are your expectations for an employer/organization? As a future speech language pathologist, it is crucial that my employer understands the meaning of a team. Speech Pathologists work with teachers, parents, and other specialists to achieve the end goal. I would love for my employer to place emphasis on teamwork as well as integrity within the collaboration of numerous different specialists.  

What are the most significant aspects of a prospective company to you and why would you be interested in working for a specific organization? The biggest aspect of a prospective company that I value would be valuing who we serve. When working for a company, I want the children who we serve to be of the utmost importance because their needs should never get lost in translation by the education agency.

As an SOI recipient, how has the scholarship helped you with your educational journey? This scholarship has allowed me to continue my education beyond high school without worrying about the debt my undergraduate will bring me. I am able to focus on my studies on the track that I am now going to be able to graduate a year early! Without this scholarship, I would not have the amazing opportunities my university has provided me to work one-on-one with students in and out of the classroom. I am so honored to be a SOI recipient.

Better Business Bureau of the Midwest Plains
Address: 11811 P St, Omaha, NE 68137
Phone: 402-391-7612
Website: www.bbbinc.org
Social Media: @BBBMidwestPlains