While most people associate the month of October with Halloween, another important event occurs during this fall-season month. From Oct. 1 through the 31 is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). As a result, there’s no better time than now to evaluate your small business’s cybersecurity plan and make the necessary adjustments to improve it. In case this is your first time hearing about NCSAM, keep reading to learn more about this annual event and what it entitles.

What Is NCSAM?

Held annually throughout the month of October, NCSAM is a collaborative event between government entities and private businesses in the United States that’s intended to raise awareness for the importance of cybersecurity.

NCSAM has origins dating back to 2004. During this year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) joined forces with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) to declare the month of October as NCSAM. The two organizations explained that consumers and businesses should closely assess their cybersecurity strategy in October to better protect themselves from common cyber threats like malware, viruses and data breaches.

Theme for 2019 NCSAM

Each year, there’s a different theme for NCSAM that reflects its overall message. In 2009, for example, the theme was “Our shared responsibility,” meaning that everyone should take a proactive role in securing their devices to minimize the risk of cyber threats. So, what’s the theme for this year’s NCSAM?

As explained on the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) website, the theme for this year’s NCSAM is “Own It. Secure IT. Protect IT.”

What You Can Do During NCSAM

As a business owner, you might be wondering what you can do to participate in NCSAM. Being that NCSAM is designed to recognize the importance of cybersecurity, you should use this opportunity to take a closer look at your business’s information technology (IT) infrastructure and whether or not it’s secure.

The DHS also offers a NCSAM toolkit that you can download for free here. Consisting of nine pages, it focuses on the year’s theme, which as previously mentioned is “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.” The toolkit also offers tips on how to engage employees and professionals with cybersecurity topics.

Of course, you shouldn’t limit your business’s cybersecurity activities strictly to the month of October. While October is NCSAM, cyber threats can strike at any time, regardless of the month. As a result, you should follow the proper cybersecurity processes throughout all months of the year.

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