As the saying goes, “if you can connect it, protect it;” referring to the significance of ensuring all connected devices are safe and secure from outside entities. Seven months deep into the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps more than ever before, connected devices, in the home and office, have solidified their significance as an essential piece of day-to-day operations for both businesses and individuals. Thus, creating awareness within organizations, training employees to recognize security threats and the importance of developing and maintaining stronger security practices for connected devices, is perhaps a heavier burden, this year, than in years past.

Without question, the COVID-19 pandemic has distorted the lines between our personal and professional lives, enforcing the demand to stay connected through technology. More critical than ever, it’s vital that users understand the impact of their trust and reliance on all connected devices. In order for organizations to maintain a healthy security posture, they must arm their staff with the knowledge required to minimize their exposure to cyber risk in the home, and in the office, not just in the month of October, but the whole year-round.

Each October, Cyber security awareness month has held the key initiative of educating businesses and individuals about the cyber security threats their networks face and the inherent risks they bring with them. As discussed in previous blog articles, end users, i.e the human element, are the weakest link and the inescapable vulnerability within any given network. The impact in this statement highlights the reasons in which organizations designate extensive funding to defend their networks from outside threats. Considering the human element is a major vulnerability, in and of itself, technologies, processes and policies, alone, are just not enough; organizations must also provide staff training to increase awareness of cyber security.

Still, even when covering all of the bases, the majority of organizations have a very difficult time training their workforce to an adequate level of cyber security awareness. In larger organizations especially, some of the most popular approaches to creating awareness is regular, online training modules, and posters, strategically placed around the office, however, with many work forces moving to a work-from-home model, this can only be so effective. What’s more, cyber security, in general, can be extremely difficult for even the most experienced security teams to manage with a home office workforce as many teams find themselves spread thin across their responsibilities.

Fortunately, security teams do not have to go it alone. There are third party organizations that specialize in identifying vulnerabilities across organizations through the same lens as any threat actor. In particular, penetration testing, supplemented with simulated phishing campaigns, is one of the most valuable service pairings that any organization can commit to on a regular basis to enhance security across their entire organization.

Penetration Testing & E-mail Phishing Campaigns

A penetration test, or pentest, is an authorized, simulated cyberattack on an organization’s computer system, performed to assess the overall security of the system. The test is performed to identify an organization’s vulnerability, demonstrate business impacts, and provide remediation recommendations to reduce or eliminate risk. In essence, the information gathered and provided will allow an organization to effectively prioritize their security efforts to maximize security.

It is important to understand that cybersecurity is never static. Attack surfaces are rapidly expanding, and the attack methodologies are evolving, becoming more and more complex with each passing year. This constant change necessitates annual penetration testing in order to maintain any standard of security.

At Packetlabs, recognizing the intrinsic limitations of the human element, we often recommend penetration testing services that are paired with simulation phishing campaigns. The benefits of this process are two-fold; first, they allow an organization to identify the overall cybersecurity awareness, and second, it helps help to fortify your organization’s human element, promoting proper procedure in the event of a true phishing attempt. To put it simply, penetration testing, in combination with phishing, helps to foster a culture of cybersecurity awareness.

Wrapping up Cybersecurity Awareness Month

As the world continues to contend with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for connected technologies has been fast-tracked and with it, so has our exposure to cyber risk whether in the home, the office or the home office. It is the responsibility of all businesses and individuals to maintain an active role in cybersecurity awareness, but your organization does not have to go it alone. If you would like to learn more about what Packetlabs can offer your organization, the whole year round, contact us today!