If you are a business owner or consumer, it’s time to mark your calendar for National Cyber Security Awareness Month to educate yourself, employees and your customers on the latest identity-theft and cybersecurity trends.

This cybersecurity effort offers tremendous resources to help you know more and better protect yourself and your business.

The full-month program was created collaboratively by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the National Cyber Security Alliance to help consumers and businesses be safer and secure online.

Each week during October, National Cyber Security Awareness Month is providing a different cybersecurity theme. I advise that you engage each week or be sure to look into the topics that are most important to your business and you personally as a consumer.

Week 1: Oct. 1-3: Promotes online safety with the “Stop. Think. Connect.” campaign where cybersecurity is a shared responsibility and everyone can take a few simple steps to make the Internet more secure. This week will also highlight efforts related to Executive Order 13636 to strengthen the security and resilience of the nation’s critical infrastructure.

Week 2: Oct. 6-10: Highlights secure development of information-technology products, where building security into information technology products, including the phones, tablets and computers we use every day, is key to enhanced cybersecurity.

Week 3: Oct. 13-17: Highlights the importance of protecting critical infrastructure and properly securing all devices, including household items that are connected to the Internet.

Week 4: Oct. 20-24: Promotes cybersecurity for small- and medium-size businesses and entrepreneurs by showcasing what emerging and established businesses can do to protect their organizations, customers and employees.

Week 5: Oct. 27-31: Supports cybercrime and law enforcement by encouraging consumers and businesses to work with law enforcement to combat cybercrime and educate people on how to protect themselves from online crime.

One of the best aspects of National Cyber Security Awareness Month is that it involves a diverse group of participants, including students, parents, educators, young professionals, seniors and representatives of government, small and big businesses and law enforcement. Another great aspect is the focus on learning about cybercriminals and how they can use personal information to steal identities and access banking, shopping, social media and other personal accounts.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month also provides year-round tips on a number of related topics, including how to improve your password management; keeping your operating system, browser and other critical software optimized by installing updates; limiting the amount of personal information you post online; and using privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely.

Go to http://www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month-2014 to learn more and see how your business can participate.

Mark’s most important: Learn all you can from October’s National Cyber Security Month or you might learn the hard way about the pain and cost of ID theft. Stop. Think. Connect. at http://www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect-get-informed.


Mark Pribish is vice president and ID-theft practice leader at Merchants Information Solutions Inc., a national ID-theft and background-screening provider based in Phoenix. Reach him at markpribish@merchantsinfo.com.

This article was originally published on AZcentral.com and republished with the author’s permission.