National Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2022: 4 Major Takeaways

November 7, 2022

national cybersecurity awareness month


October was National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and we wanted to share some of our favorite insights we found throughout October. The importance of cybersecurity should include several focus areas.

Your network health and security should be a priority all year. As threats evolve and emerge, so should your cybersecurity strategies. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed about the state of your credit union’s security, but there are so many tools and experts ready to elevate your networks and provide you with powerful solutions.

The Human Element is Paramount

The theme for the 2022 National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is “See Yourself in Cyber,” which focuses on the human element of cybersecurity strategy. Because you can have the best protection and tools for your network, but more than 90% of cyberattacks are initiated (usually unintentionally) by human error.

From tellers to your CEO, and IT professionals to branch managers, the human element of cybersecurity is made up of everyone using your networks. And because credit unions are responsible for holding the life savings and other monetary assets of their members, it’s important to have all your employees trained on the most up-to-date cybersecurity practices.

Teaching your employees about the importance of cybersecurity includes showing them how to secure their everyday operations (with passwords, multifactor authentication, logging off computers instead of leaving them running or unlocked, etc.), how to recognize malicious content, emails, and more, as well as informing them how to report and react to cybersecurity breaches when they occur.

Learn about Your Members’ Habits, & Correct Them If Necessary

“Think before you click” is another way to underscore the importance of cybersecurity, especially after National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. It’s a catchy phrase that packs a punch.

Many of your members are using their credit union information in third-party payment apps and on a host of diverse retail websites. The current “Tiktok made me buy it” trends have sparked innumerable spam accounts that are pretending to carry products that have gotten popular on social media and other platforms.

Your employees and members aren’t IT experts, but you can give them the tools to help recognize when and where they should be sharing credit union account information, or personal information in general.

Check to ensure that websites are PCI compliant, and teach your members how to recognize warning signs and scam accounts, emails, and sites.

Passwords, Passwords, Passwords

Weak passwords are often the downfall of an individual or credit union network. Sharing passwords, keeping them taped to your computer monitor at work or at home – we’re all tired of changing our passwords and finding out that we need uppercase, lowercase, special character, and minimum character length requirements.

But all these elements underscore the importance of cybersecurity: it’s in the details. Strong passwords are a great primary line of defense for several reasons. When you add each of these infuriating characteristics to your passwords, it would take a hacker nearly two decades to figure out what it is and leverage your data and networks in their favor. With that kind of security, it makes the hassle of creating these complex passwords worth it.

Update Your Software

The cyber threat landscape is always changing, and your software should be updated to keep up with those changes.

Cyber attacks aren’t growing because people refuse to put safeguards in place, they’re growing because more people than ever are carrying out core business and personal functions completely online, and the tools you had in place last year or even last month are already being circumvented by the latest threats.

Many credit unions (and businesses in general) hate losing productivity to time-consuming updates, but the importance of cybersecurity often lies most heavily in the preparation, not the reaction.

Here are a few tips:

  • Try to schedule disruptive or in-depth updates for downtime – stay away from business hours if possible.
  • Remind your team and your members early and often if you have updates that will render parts of your system unavailable for any amount of time.
  • if possible, turn on automatic updates – this prevents you and your employees from missing or skipping an important software patch or update.
  • Evaluate your software regularly – are there other products that could do things better or more efficiently? Look into them or create a review program to ensure your current solutions are the best solutions for your credit union.
  • Listen to IT department recommendations – costly mistakes can be made if you dismiss your resident cybersecurity experts. They’re not being alarmist, they’re telling you what will happen if you don’t take preventative action.

It’s Not “If,” It’s “When” – Why Your CU Needs Cloud-based Backups

Automated and unattended, IMS’s Rubrik backup solutions allow you to prepare for the worst without co-opting crucial hours of your management and IT teams’ time. Securing your data when there is a breach or data loss incident can be quick and easy.

IMS Rubrik includes backup and recovery, continuous data protection, ransomware recovery, replication and disaster recovery, virtualized environments, as well as Windows and Unix protection.

Reach out to us today to learn more about our solutions and the importance of cybersecurity. 

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