Cybersecurity Awareness Is About Both ‘Knowing’ and ‘Doing’

Ask any IT security professional and you’ll get the same answer. One of the biggest cybersecurity challenges is the human factor, making cybersecurity awareness more vital than ever in our mobilized, interconnected world.

According to the 2014 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, an astounding 95 percent of all security incidents involve human error. The most prevalent mistake? Double clicking on an infected attachment or unsafe URL. Other common errors include lack of patching, using default user names and passwords and easy-to-guess passwords, lost laptops and mobile devices, and inadvertent disclosure of sensitive information by use of an incorrect email address.

Support and Participate in National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

All the more reason to support and participate in National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which is observed in October in the U.S., with similar months or weeks set aside in other countries. Cybersecurity awareness events like these are valuable opportunities to shine a spotlight on what it means to be aware and how to promote not only knowledge, but deliberate, mindful behavior to actively protect valuable data and information in our businesses and communities.

What is cybersecurity awareness? It’s not just knowledge. Knowing isn’t doing. Security awareness is knowledge combined with attitudes and behaviors that serve to protect our information assets. Being cybersecurity aware means you understand what the threats are and you take the right steps to prevent them.

At IBM, we work to create a risk-aware culture where employees are educated about the cybersecurity hazards we face and trained to take the right actions to defend against them. Training courses, simulated phishing exercises, awareness campaigns, videos and a steady stream of awareness messaging and social media conversations are some of the ways we work to keep cybersecurity top of mind among IBMers.

For our families and communities, we encourage employees to visit the StaySafeOnline and Stop.Think.Connect websites to cultivate cyber awareness at home and in their neighborhoods. StaySafeOnline offers tips and resources, including content for teaching cybersecurity to students from kindergarten through college. The Stop.Think.Connect. site offers information on how to protect our digital lives online.

Internet Safety: Time to Stop Kidding Around?

We’re all in this together, and each of us has a stake in reducing human error and encouraging cybersecurity best practices in our workplaces, homes and communities. Help spread the word to promote a safer, more productive digital experience for all of us.

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Joanne Martin

IBM CISO and VP of IT Risk

Joanne Martin is IBM's Chief Informaiton Security Officer (CISO), a Distinguished Engineer and VP for IT Risk. Joanne is responsible for defining the vision and strategy that will ensure the appropriate protection of IBM’s information assets, and for establishing and overseeing the programs that execute on that strategy. She was the founding editor-in-chief of the MIT Press Journal of Supercomputer Applications and was on the steering committee that created the successful ACM/IEEE conference series on High Performance Computing and Communications. She has served as an advisor to the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and National Research Council. She was named by Working Mother magazine as one of the 25 most influential working mothers for 1998. Dr. Martin earned a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the Johns Hopkins University in 1981. In 1984, Dr. Martin joined IBM as a Research Staff Member at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center and was appointed a Senior Technical Staff Member in 1993, and was elected to the IBM Academy in 1997. Joanne is currently a member of the Academy’s Technology Council.