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Cybersecurity Lessons from WWII

October 31, 2018 | Security and Business

In honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, let’s look at how principles from World War II propaganda can teach us valuable lessons in the way we treat cybersecurity today.

Loose Lips: Keep Your Data Secret, Keep It Safe

The War saw an increased awareness on potential breaches of confidential information in the form of spies. Today, the data indicates humans are still the weakest link when it comes to security and confidentiality.

While it is good practice (and kind of a no-brainer) to keep credentials and confidential information secure, companies should still focus on security and privacy education and consistent training of their employees. Consider opportunities to provide real-world examples to your employees, helping them to understand that they are the first line of defense in the wake of cyber attack.

Keep Calm and Carry On: Fighting Cybersecurity Fatigue

Great Britain was known for its it resolve during the War, particularly during the Blitz. Most companies experience what I like to call “cybersecurity fatigue,” or the loss of morale as a result of the never-ending blitz of cyber-warfare, and the effect of loosening security mechanisms in favor of convenience.

Consider hiring a third-party to perform regular audits (e.g. the AICPA’s most recent “SOC for Cybersecurity” framework, penetration testing, etc.) to identify gaps in your cybersecurity defense. This eases the internal burden of spinning up valuable resources and allows you to focus more on remediation and preparedness to better suit your business objectives.

Team Up: Work Together

“Rosie the Riveter” was a successful social movement that increased the number of working American women during the war from 12 million to 20 million.

The idea was simple: the war was not meant to be fought by only men. It took the women at home to make America’s efforts successful. Cybersecurity is no different. It is not just an IT effort, but an issue that requires effort from every area within an organization in order to be successful.

As your leadership and Board discusses cybersecurity issues, remember to include all departments within the security strategy, encouraging them to do their part in keeping your organization secure from threat actors.In the same ways that propaganda maintained positive focus through the years of fighting during the War, we can apply these principles to keep up the fight today in our cybersecurity programs. Stay vigilant – your company depends on you!

I see you. I hear you. Your words matter.

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