Why cyber threats are everyone's responsibility

November 7, 2018 Hazel Burton

Almost 40 percent of small and midmarket companies say that at least half of their systems have been affected by a severe breach, according to Cisco's 2018 SMB cyber security report.  While that statistic may seem startling, it’s actually pretty much par for the course these days. 

Keeping cybercriminals at bay isn’t easy and it’s not solely the responsibility of the IT department today. It’s takes a systematic, sustained group effort to keep data, systems and employees safe. In other words, cyber security is everyone’s responsibility.

That’s what the European Cyber Security Awareness Month is all about. Here are some key things you’ll learn.

Cyber criminals are getting smarter. Learn how to spot and prevent cyber attacks

Cybercriminals have plenty of ways to worm their way inside your network, steal your data and impersonate your employees and customers.

Discover how to defend your business against the latest security threats with Cisco's small business security solutions.

Sometimes it’s tricking you into handing over personal data, financial information or passwords, and other times it’s demanding payment in exchange for allowing users to access their own data or fooling you into clicking on links that allow them to access your system. And often, cybercriminals take advantage of unsecure public WiFi networks to steal data from mobile devices.

Take this advice to heart:

  • Examine links carefully and if it looks suspicious, don’t click
  • Check email senders’ addresses carefully
  • Filter messages that have an envelope sender (Mail-From) and “friendly from” (From) header that contain one of your own incoming domains in the email address
  • Only use public networks that use passwords
  • Use secure websites
  • Keep software up-to-date
  • Back up regularly

For more on this, read our blog on how cyber criminals are targeting employees.

A career in cyber security

Whether you fall into a cyber security career by accident or are inspired by something you see or experience, choosing to make cyber security a focus of your career makes good business sense. Not only is it critical and ever-changing, but you know you’ll always have a job.

But having a cyber security job is just the beginning. Remaining relevant and effective means keeping up with new types of threats and new technologies designed to thwart cybercriminals. The best way to keep your skills up-to-date – or simply learning the basics of cybersecurity – is by taking a free online course.

For more on how to get into a career in cyber security including free training visit our dedicated page.

Technologies that will change cyber security

Companies across Europe are increasingly relying on automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve their security defences. Automated tools can help companies ensure that patches, security settings and segmentation are always applied, leaving nothing to chance.

Artificial intelligence can help detect unusual patterns and network activity by understanding what’s normal. Furthermore, machine learning can help detect both known threats and new threats that have never been seen before by identifying unusual patterns in large volumes of encrypted web traffic.

Read our blog for more information on the technologies that are set to change the cyber security industry.

Cyber security is everyone’s responsibility

Protecting your company’s data, applications and personnel is everyone’s job. It means keeping your eyes open, speaking up if you see something unusual, understanding IT security basics and practicing good security hygiene. That means being more careful about the apps you install, thinking twice before clicking on suspicious emails, using a password manager and remembering that people are often the weakest link.

Of course, cyber security isn't just for one month, it's for 12. And for years to come. These are just the main takeaways from the European Cyber Security Awareness Month – now let's all maintain the momentum from November and beyond.

Staying on top of cyber security threats means continually educating yourself. Read more about cyberthreats for small and midmarket businesses.

We can help you understand the latest security threats and defend your business against them. See Cisco's small business security solutions to find out how.



About the Author

Hazel Burton

I'm the Marketing Storyteller for IT Security for Cisco's UK & Ireland region. That means I spend most of my time researching what those dastardly hackers are up to, and I also have a lot of conversations with my much cleverer research colleagues, in order to create content which seeks to inform people about the current threat landscape against businesses. IT Security is a subject I'm immensely passionate about, and what's most important to me is helping customers protect their livelihoods, and educating users not to leave the back door open. Outside of Cisco a big part of my life is improvisational comedy - I participate in weekly workshops at The Improvisation Foundation and perform on stage with my lovely fellow workshoppers once a month. Other than that I'm a big nerd when it comes to movies, as my blogs will no doubt unveil.

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