It’s that time of year again. Pumpkin spice everything.

Oh, and it’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month! Bet you didn’t know that ;-).

Those of us who have worked in cybersecurity for a while—perhaps especially those of us in marketing—have a love/hate relationship with the month. On the one hand, we love it because it gives us an opportunity to get a little creative with our cybersecurity messages, pushing tips and recommendations and all kinds of content that we hope might resonate with our universe of personal and professional contacts. On the other hand, earnest efforts to capitalize on National Cyber Security Awareness Month can sometimes come across as a bit trite and maybe not so cool. This article in The Washington Post, The dread, sincerity and comedy of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, does a great job summarizing the NCSAM conundrum: Do we or don’t we engage in helping to spread that #BeCyberSafe message?

Championing NSCAM

At risk of not being considered one of the cool kids rolling their eyes at the idea of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, Pondurance is a NCSAM “champion” and we’re going to use this month to push out what we hope are helpful reminders of best cybersecurity practices for both companies and individuals. You know why? Because we all still need reminders about what to be skeptical about – is that a real email?  Was that urgent text really from my CEO? Is that gorgeous stranger on Facebook really interested in me? And we still need reminders to protect important personal and financial information (among other things) with multi-factor authentication (MFA) and to update software on our devices. You get the gist.

Not a day goes by that I don’t get scam robocalls to my mobile phone. I’ve lost count of the car warranty reminders, the social security compromise calls and the many other ridiculous calls, offers and threats. Email is the same—phishing is rampant and I’m grateful to be in a business that has trained me how to scrutinize a message to determine whether it’s real or a fake. Sometimes the branding on a phishing email mimicking FedEx, the USPS, my bank, Pay Pal or some other real service is so authentic that I’m reminded why so many people fall for them.

It's hard to educate hundreds of millions of people about cybersecurity

If National Cyber Security Awareness Month makes even just a small dent in our collective understanding of what cyberthreats look like and how to avoid falling prey, that’s a good thing. There are 333,176,584 people in the U.S. (as I write this) – that’s a lot of people to educate about keeping safe online, and many of them work for organizations that haven’t had much exposure to cybersecurity best practices. So we’ll keep at it, leveraging (ha! most hated marketing word) this national awareness program to reinforce ways to stay safe at work and at home. And we’ll make a little fun along the way.

I have to shamelessly plug a few good resources that are especially relevant this month (of course, everything on our website is a great resource):

#BeCyberSafe everyone, and not just this month but year-round. Stay tuned for more in the weeks ahead.