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CHIPS Articles: Cybersecurity or Convenience?

Cybersecurity or Convenience?
By CHIPS Magazine - October 16, 2014
Cybersecurity or convenience? Do you have to give up one for the sake of the other? According to a survey issued by Raytheon Company, 52 percent of organizations and employees frequently sidestep security practices for the benefits of mobile connectivity and productivity.

The report issued in September, reveals the struggle to find the right balance between the cybersecurity requirements of an organization and the efficiencies demanded by employees to do their jobs. The survey was conducted by the Ponemon Institute which does independent research on privacy, data protection and information security policy.

Some key findings of the report show:

  • Organizations are increasingly concerned that improperly secured devices will expose proprietary, sensitive, or confidential information;
  • Security is being sacrificed for productivity gains; and
  • Employee resistance is the biggest barrier to an effective mobile security strategy.

Following smart cybersecurity practices can be critical to the survivability of your organization and the protection of your identity. The news is full of reports involving infamous data breaches of businesses and government agencies involving stolen intellectual property and criminal activity.

When you go online, use your mobile device or tablet, or use a cloud-based service, you interact with various tools designed to protect your personal information and organization’s data. Variations of these tools are also used to protect our nation’s infrastructure. It is critical for everyone to understand cybersecurity and your role in being safe while staying connected.

What is cybersecurity?

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) defines cybersecurity as: “The activity or process, ability or capability, or state whereby information and communications systems and the information contained therein are protected from and/or defended against damage, unauthorized use or modification, or exploitation.”

Cybersecurity focuses on protecting computers, mobile devices, tablets, networks, programs and data from unauthorized access or manipulation. Understanding cybersecurity is the first step to protecting yourself, your family and your organization.

How does cybersecurity affect me?

Governments, military organizations, corporations, financial institutions, hospitals and other businesses collect, analyze, store and share a great deal of confidential information across computer networks. With an increase in cyber-attacks, ongoing vigilance is necessary to protect personal information, as well as to safeguard national infrastructure, intellectual property and national security data.

How can I protect myself?

There are a number of ways to protect yourself, your family and your organization. The NICCS How-To page offers several steps you can take and resources to use in protecting yourself on different platforms and devices.

Here are a several simple measures you can take right now for protection:

  • Use strong passwords (combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters) Never share passwords.
  • Think before you click: Use caution when communicating with anyone — those you know and those you do not know.
  • Do not open emails, links or attachments from untrusted sources, or messages that look odd if coming from someone you do know. For example, be suspicious of overly familiar greetings from acquaintances or an urgent request to open a link and act on a proposed opportunity quickly.
  • Limit systems access and data to only those who need it, and protect those access credentials.
  • Properly configure and patch operating systems, browsers, and other software programs.
  • Use and regularly update firewalls, anti-virus, and anti-spyware programs.
  • Strictly follow your organization's cybersecurity policies, and report violations and issues when they occur.

NICCS is managed by the Cybersecurity Education and Awareness Branch (CEA) within the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Cybersecurity and Communications (CS&C). CEA promotes cybersecurity awareness, training, and education and career structure, with the added goal of broadening the nation’s volume of cybersecurity workforce professionals.

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