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Everything You Need to Know About National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Every October, people all across the U.S. celebrate a month full of cybersecurity awareness and education. 

Recognized as “National Cyber Security Awareness Month,” or NCSAM for short, it’s 31 days dedicated to the nationwide sharing of cybersecurity knowledge.

Whether you are just learning about this special month for the first time or are looking for ways to honor this year’s theme, here’s everything you need to know about NCSAM:

What’s NCSAM All About? 

National Cyber Security Awareness Month was first launched in 2004 as an idea conceived by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

Back in the early 2000s, cybersecurity was much different. Best practices centered around installing antivirus software and understanding the threat of computer worms, but the internet has since become a much more vast and complex space.

Today, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) now leads the effort with NCSA and strives to offer new, relevant advice each and every year. These two make a great pair since one is a government-led organization (CISA) while the other is a private/public partner (NSCA). They join forces to maintain a strong virtual community for educating others about online safety. It’s their goal to gather resources for educating Americans about cybersecurity best practices and inspire involvement from individuals and businesses all across the country.

The NCSAM 2021 Theme

Each year, CISA and NCSA pick a different theme for National Cyber Security Awareness Month. 

The 2021 theme isDo Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.”

“The theme empowers individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace,” NCSA explains. “If everyone does their part – implementing stronger security practices, raising community awareness, educating vulnerable audiences or training employees – our interconnected world will be safer and more resilient for everyone.”

While every annual event follows one common thread, each week has its own sub-theme. Here’s what you can expect this October:

    • Week 1: Be Cyber Smart.
    • Week 2: Phight the Phish!
    • Week 3: Explore. Experience. Share. – Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week
    • Week 4: Cybersecurity First.

Read the detailed breakdown of each week’s goals here.

How To Celebrate NCSAM 2021

Ready for the 2021 celebration of National Cyber Security Awareness Month? Here are a few ways you can do your part:

    1. Share trusted resources. Empower your team with the information they need to learn about better cybersecurity best practices. The CISA and NCSA Resources page is a great place to start. KnowBe4 also offers a wealth of knowledge and ideas.
    2. Conduct cyber security awareness training. Businesses everywhere know cybersecurity training could benefit employees, but many are guilty of continually pushing it off. There’s no better time than October to give your team the support they need! Kick off your celebration with cybersecurity training to securely start 2022.
    3. Host an educational webinar. If cybersecurity awareness training isn’t within budget or possible for October, consider offering a one-time virtual event. It’s amazing what your team can learn in just one hour with a cybersecurity professional.
    4. Run a security vulnerability assessment or penetration test. While NCSAM provides informative resources for educating your employees, don’t forget to strengthen your technical security as well. By running a security vulnerability assessment you can catch any glaring vulnerabilities. Take it a step further with an in-depth pentest to spot any other gaps.

Avoid Cyber Threats in 5-½ Easy Steps

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is all about educating your team about the dangers of online threats and beyond. 

But your employees aren’t the only ones who must “do their part” this October. You are also responsible for upholding your entire company’s security standards.

Download our 5-1/2 Easy Steps to Avoid Cyber Threats guide to double-check your defenses today. 

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Topics: cybersecurity industry, cybersecurity, national cyber security awareness month

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