October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which means that the most prominent cybersecurity problems and the most prescient solutions will be top of mind for companies and consumers.  

The annual effort between government agencies and enterprise initiatives has an added sense of urgency in 2019 as both the number of compromised companies and exposed records is on pace to reach an all-time high. 

Moreover, with the cost of a data breach also reaching historic heights, everyone is incentivized to improve their cybersecurity posture. 

This year’s campaign is focused on encouraging proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity, a priority expressed in its slogan: “Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.”

The campaign addresses some of the most pressing problems in 2019, including best practices related to privacy and security. 

The Era of Personal Privacy 

Throughout 2019, data privacy has taken center stage as prominent regulations, including Europe’s expansive General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California’s Data Privacy Law put regulatory teeth to an emerging consumer ethos. 

After years of nearly a decade of providing companies with unbridled and unprecedented access to their personal information, consumers are reclaiming their right to privacy in the digital age, something that the 2019 Cybersecurity Awareness campaign wholly endorses. 

This trend is making its way into the workplace. 

Employees don’t just lose their privacy rights when they arrive at work, something that companies and their employees are grappling with as employee monitoring software becomes a ubiquitous part of the modern, digital work environment. 

This software is being deployed for many reasons. Companies want to better understand their employees’ digital workflows, they want insights into customer interactions, and, perhaps most prominently, they want to protect their customers’ data

Each of these purposes can be incredibly valuable, but they can also create privacy concerns for employees. 

In other words, companies need to account for their handling of personally identifiable information, including names, dates of birth, account numbers, passwords, location information, and other sensitive details that might accompany a monitoring initiative. 

In 2019, protecting privacy means more than just monitoring activity. It requires holistic privacy protection that accounts for all stakeholders. 

Cyber Risks Abound 

In addition to addressing privacy concerns, this year’s campaign emphasizes best practices for protecting data in a shifting digital landscape. For instance, this includes 

  • Implementing strong password selections 
  • Identifying phishing scams 
  • Automating software updates 
  • Encouraging intentional data handling. 

National Cybersecurity Month is meant to promote solutions that work for the year’s most troubling cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Interestingly, while bad actors play a prominent role in this threat landscape, the campaign isn’t focused on firewalls, virus scanning, and other defensive mechanisms. 

Instead, it highlights the steps that companies and consumers can take to protect themselves by adopting the best practices that can help secure their information. 

When it comes to cybersecurity, the stakes continue to get higher, which means that the solutions need to be impactful, and they need to make a difference right away. The actions steps included in the campaign make this a tangible reality for companies and consumers alike.