Navigating the Digital Battleground – Expert Voices on Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October has ended, and at Cyber Protection Magazine it has been a busy month. Does that mean we missed Cybersecurity Awareness Month? Not really, for us, every month is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. As digital realms continue to weave into the fabric of our daily lives, the importance of staying cyber-aware is ever-growing. Industry leaders weigh in on the importance of this month and offer invaluable insights to strengthen our cyber defenses.

Understanding the Gravity of Cybersecurity

Jason Dettbarn, Founder & CEO of Addigy, underscores the transformation of cybersecurity discussions from minor concerns to boardroom priorities. He notes,

“Cybersecurity has moved from an afterthought to one of the more important decisions in the boardroom, as executives have come to understand the potential scale and impact of attacks. Breaches don’t just cost money – they can debilitate a company.”

Dettbarn also emphasizes proactive measures, stating,

“IT leaders need to ensure they are leveraging the right security processes and tools to maintain compliance vigilance, which includes a layered approach to OS Patching, Application Patching, adhering to Compliance Frameworks, and End-User Authentication Management. The speed and impact of Zero Day vulnerabilities highlight the importance of applying these patches throughout an organization’s entire fleet of devices in a timely fashion. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month serves as a good reminder of this.”

Beyond External Threats: Internal Vulnerabilities Matter

Carl D’Halluin, CTO of Datadobi, focuses on the internal vulnerabilities that organizations often miss. He says,

“Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a critical reminder that effective cybersecurity isn’t solely about building higher walls against external threats. It’s equally about understanding and managing the data you already hold within those walls. Illegal and orphaned data are prime examples of internal vulnerabilities that often go overlooked.

The risks of harboring illegal data are multi-faceted, spanning potential legal issues, reputational harm, and increased susceptibility to network compromise due to embedded malware. Orphaned data, often accumulating unnoticed due to employee turnover, can pose governance and compliance risks.

This month-long focus is not just an opportunity but a necessity for organizations to deepen their commitment to employing the necessary methodologies and technologies that enable effective internal data governance and oversight. A proactive, inside-out approach to cybersecurity has never been more crucial.”

Advancing Cyber Defenses: Beyond Traditional Measures

Don Boxley, CEO and Co-Founder of DH2i, paints a grim picture of the cyber threat landscape, pushing for a more urgent response.

“Today, cyber threats are escalating into full-blown crises – making Cybersecurity Awareness Month more than just a gentle reminder, but a stark warning that we must urgently overhaul our digital defenses. Gone are the days when established security measures like VPNs sufficed. Hackers are continually advancing, rendering traditional methods increasingly obsolete. Proactive security isn’t an option; it’s an absolute necessity if organizations want to survive into the future.

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Boxley champions the rise of Software-Defined Perimeters (SDPs) and emphasizes,

“Software-defined perimeters (SDPs) are rapidly gaining prominence as an innovative and intelligent alternative to VPNs.They address and eliminate many traditional VPN vulnerabilities, such as susceptibility to lateral network attacks that could compromise sensitive organizational assets. SDPs simplify the secure connection of network assets across diverse infrastructures—from on-premises to hybrid and multi-cloud setups—and closely align with Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) principles. By adhering to the Zero Trust tenet of “never trust, always verify,” SDPs offer stringent security controls at the application level. This ensures that resources like servers, storage units, applications, IoT devices, and users gain access only to the specific data endpoints required for their tasks, thereby eliminating potential vulnerabilities such as lateral movement paths that attackers could exploit.

Let us heed National Cybersecurity Awareness Month as an urgent call to action for adopting next-generation solutions like SDPs and Zero Trust principles. In doing so, we will be equipping organizations and individuals with the robust defenses needed to outpace ever-advancing cyber threats.”

Email Security: An Old, Yet Growing Threat

Seth Blank, CTO of Valimail, brings our attention to the often-underestimated realm of email security.

“October may conjure images of falling leaves and Halloween festivities, but it’s also Cybersecurity Awareness Month—a crucial period that calls for our attention on the increasing threats in the digital landscape. Among these threats, one that’s often pushed to the background but deserves center stage is email security.

Email is the battleground where some of the most sophisticated social engineering attacks, like spear-phishing and whaling, are waged. These attacks exploit human psychology, leveraging the absence of the usual cues we rely on to assess trust—no facial expressions, no tone of voice, just cold text on a screen. You’re probably been inundated with the same stats again and again, like the fact that 91% of all cyberattacks start with phishing. Or that the FBI has reported $50 billion—with a b—in losses due to business email compromise (BEC). And due to that inundation, it’s easy for some to look at email as an old problem. But those stats show the problem is not just as bad as it’s ever been; it’s getting worse. Much, much worse.

The bottom line is that even if the stats have become easy to ignore—the problem is real, and one misstep can wreak havoc. This Cybersecurity Awareness Month, don’t just scroll past the warnings—take them to heart. Beef up your email security, or get ready for a world of hurt. The ball is in your court, and it’s ticking.”

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