5 ways to improve your cybersecurity posture

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October is National Cybersecurity Awareness month, and in today's technology-driven world, it’s never been more critical to proactively protect data, systems and identities.

Government runs on people and technology, and cybercriminals look for ways to exploit both. Here are five things you can do now to help protect yourselves and your counties, and #BeCyberSmart.

Turn on multifactor authentication. This best practice security protection requires a second means of verifying a user's identity, in addition to a password. Multifactor authentication is increasingly available for online services, banking, social media and email. Make it a habit to turn it on if it's offered to protect your personal and professional accounts.

  • TAC RESOURCE:  If your county uses Rackspace webmail provided by the TAC County Information Resources Agency (TAC CIRA), great news: Multifactor authentication is now available on your account. Follow the prompts when you log in to set it up and enjoy added email security.

Increase your knowledge. As technology evolves, so do the cybercriminals' tactics. Stay ahead of the curve with available training and tools to help protect you and your county's employees.

  • TAC RMP RESOURCE: TAC Risk Management Pool (TAC RMP) members who participate in its Public Officials Liability Coverage (Privacy or Security Event Liability and Expense Coverage) automatically have Cyber Liability Coverage at no additional cost. Members can access a rich database of resources including white papers, model policies, risk assessments and more. Contact your TAC Risk Management Consultant to obtain login credentials to access this information on the eRiskHub® powered by NetDiligence® portal.

  • TAC RESOURCE: TAC offers free annual cybersecurity awareness training for county officials and employees that meets the compliance requirements of House Bill 3834.

Think before you click. Cybercriminals can embed malware in links and attachments in email and on websites. Often, criminals will play on your emotions to trick you into clicking on malware or providing personal information they can use to access your accounts or steal your identity. Hover on links to see the URL before you click on anything. Verify the authenticity of the person or entity sending you email. Rather than clicking on a link, type the web address for the entity directly into your browser. Use spam and antivirus software to help protect you.

  • TAC RESOURCE: TAC CIRA offers Microsoft Office 365 email options, which provide some of the best spam control available to eliminate junk and potential phishing emails before they ever reach a user’s inbox.

Invest in cyber liability coverage. If the worst happens, and your systems or data are compromised, have a plan and protections in place to help you more quickly recover and control your potential out-of-pocket costs.

  • TAC RMP RESOURCE: TAC RMP's Cyber Liability Coverage (Privacy or Security Event Liability and Expense Coverage) is included with Public Officials Liability Coverage and covers forensic investigations, public relations assistance, privacy breach response and notification, credit monitoring, legal fees and regulatory proceedings and penalties. New coverage added upon Oct. 1, 2020, or later renewals include electronic equipment, electronic data, network interruption costs, and cyber extortion expenses and monies (ransomware). More information is available from your TAC Risk Management Consultant.  

Be smart about passwords. Sharing passwords, using the same password on multiple accounts, never changing your password and creating passwords like "password" are habits that invite unauthorized access to your systems. Develop good password habits. A good password contains numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and special characters – strive for 12 characters or more. For a fun exercise, see how long it would take hackers to discover your password using an online password tester