What a great month…and the activities aren’t over yet! Reflecting back over Cyber Security Awareness Month, I saw many encouraging ways that security professionals are taking on this “shared responsibility” to educate.
I spent some quality time with the security executives of the Executive Women’s Forum and saw the passion the women in this organization have to educate. A group of us “took to the streets” together in the Scottsdale, Arizona school system and educated 550 schoolchildren about online safety, security and ethics. The kids were very engaged and eager to learn. This same group of women held a special session with local parents, which was well attended and hit an obvious need to help them understand the risks their children face online and how they can be empowered to help.
In the Forum conference, the broader group of executives spent quality time dialoguing about best practices with cloud computing – what to do to prepare to move to the cloud, mistakes and best practices in considering cloud security – as well as the consumerization of IT and Web 2.0 security considerations. The group worked case studies and came up with their own guidance among peers on different approaches to these “opportunities.”
Meanwhile, I participated in a thoughtful dialogue with CIOs at another event in Greenwich, CT, where again many executives are considering the cloud. My colleague from Verizon and I spent time reviewing the many ways to prepare for using the cloud, the great work the Cloud Security Alliance has been doing, and the potential future ahead for all of us in cyber security practices as our network realities change.
At Penn State, the IT department held a special event for all IT professionals there to learn more about the risks online and the many ways to protect against those risks. At Morgan State University, Dr. Wole Akpose reached out to his entire student body, IT department, professors as well as the community at large to help them learn more about online security. He also streamed the session across campus and had participation from universities in Virginia as well. All were engaged – many asking what they could do to better protect themselves both at work and at home.
Meanwhile, our friends at DARE continue rolling out their education programs to reach their local communities and are even taking our new children’s cyber security awareness video with them to teach online safety principles to young children across the country.
Back “at home”, McAfee employees are enjoying taking the important messages of Cyber Security awareness into the schools in their communities across the country.
But our work is of course not done. We have more requests coming in to hold cyber security awareness sessions for corporations, local governments, Rotary Clubs, and many others. The great news is that there is interest in learning – executives, IT professionals, parents, students of all ages – are eager to learn how to protect themselves and their companies.
It’s an honor being a security professional and being able to help. This year’s messages of STOP.THINK.CONNECT are powerful for all of us to learn and use. And just because we call October Cyber Security Awareness Month here in the States does not mean it ends there – nor is it a U.S.-only phenomenon. If you’re a security professional anywhere in the world, what’s stopping you from making a difference in the lives of connected users wherever you are?
Join your local CERT in their outreach activities, find other government agency’s awareness programs where you live to get involved, partner with a local university for outreach, or form a group of local security professionals who can help make a difference in the community of businesses and consumers. It’s our shared responsibility…….