Wishing you a "Happy National Cyber Security Awareness Month" (here in the United States) doesn't seem quite right, given the extremely serious business involved, but maybe wishing you a well-informed Cyber Security Awareness Month is more apropos. However, it's pretty obvious to most of us by now that cybersecurity awareness isn't limited to October—it's a round-the-calendar commitment that will probably go on forever.

Still, this particular month is always a rich one for reaffirming one's vigilance and staying proactive in the ever-changing game. Cisco is already underway with its annual Cyber Security Awareness Month campaign. Let's take a look at what's on tap:

  • First off, have a look at the latest message from John Stewart, Cisco's chief security and trust officer. John takes the opportunity to reflect on the aspects of cybersecurity that we need to be focused on going forward in order to meet the challenges ahead. Top of mind for him are the need for governments to drive a national security strategy, for businesses to embed security as a strategic imperative into everything they do, and for all of us to keep working on filling the skills gap, especially with more women, who still account for only 11 percent of the information security workforce.
  • Next, lend your ear to a series of podcasts on trust and data privacy from Privacy Sigma Riders. These podcasts are hosted by Cisco's chief privacy officer Michelle Dennedy and team and explore "increasing the value of data with novel approaches to data privacy." You'll need iTunes to listen to these sessions, but the iTunes download is free and so are the podcasts.
  • We've talked recently in this blog about the intersection of security and the Internet of Things, and the larger Cisco is also using this fertile month to dig into that topic. Before you forget, register now for the webinar, "IoT and Real-World Cyber Risks." The challenges and the effective approaches will be addressed. As the webinar announces, "Realize the benefits of the Internet of Things. Just do it with your eyes open!"ThinkstockPhotos-600398598_resize2.jpg
  • Talos is the security intelligence and research group of Cisco, and so input from it is very welcome during the company's Cyber Security Awareness Month campaign. On October 19th, Talos is presenting its "Fall Threat Briefing." This team analyzes 1.5 million malware samples per day, so it is cued into today's top threats. Register for the Talos Fall Threat Briefing here. You'll come away having taken a deep dive into the hottest topics in threat intelligence, obtained fresh awareness of how attack strategies are changing, and, of course, gained a renewed sense of what you can do to protect yourself.
  • Cisco has not forgotten about you the cybersecurity-minded individual in its October lineup. The company has assembled a diverse team of experts for the October 25th webinar "Finding a Career in Cybersecurity: Panel on Job Success." In it, you'll hear from seasoned folks in the private sector, public sector, and Cisco's Talos team, as well as the co-founder of the Cisco Women in Cybersecurity Community, which focuses on developing the next generation of women cybersecurity leaders. And it's hosted by our own Tom Gilheany, Learning@Cisco's product manager for security training and certifications.
  • Also, before the month is out, look for words from Cisco's CISO Steve Martino about how to secure a mobile workforce, and a wrap-up on protecting infrastructure, which examines the systems that keep society running smoothly. Learn how industries such as utilities, manufacturing, and healthcare are framing their cybersecurity approach. To get you thinking about this latter topic, read Cisco's blog "Don't Let the Lights Go Out on Critical Infrastructure Security."


While You're Immersing Yourself in All Things Cybersecurity ...

Bookmark Cisco's Cyber Security Awareness Month campaign page and return to it periodically during October to make sure you're not missing anything. I'd like to also point you to an excellent "2017 Cybersecurity Checklist," from endpoint protection software company Barkly and the Institute for Security and Open Methodologies (ISECOM). I used the word "game" earlier in this post to refer to the ongoing cybersecurity challenge. The 2017 Cybersecurity Checklist uses the metaphor of the game while showing us how the struggle against cyberattackers is anything but. The checklist then goes on to present myriad helpful pointers under three general categories:

  • Step 1: Create Separation—Learn all the things you can do to implement a defensive strategy that separates systems and assets from each other so that each system or asset has its own ring of defense against threats.
  • Step 2: Apply Rehabilitation Tactics—This step lists all you can do to be prepared and resilient in the face of the inevitable cybersecurity setback.
  • Step 3: Use Your Home Field Advantage—The advantages are not all on the side of the attacker, although it might sometimes feel that way. Follow the many pointers in this list to make your environment a hostile one for attackers.


One last resource for you to get your Cybersecurity Month launched: Check out our white paper, "2017 Cybersecurity Roadmap." It will nicely reinforce the things you are learning this month and help galvanize you to get in the "game" with renewed gusto.


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Gary Pfitzer is a content manager at Learning@Cisco, focused on bringing various aspects of today's IT journey to light through business papers, blogging, customer success stories, and other writing.