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Let's Stop & Talk About Getting Prepared

Friday, September 30, 2022

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By Joel Thacker

As we move from September’s National Preparedness Month to October’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it is important to remember how the two connect and what we can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy.

As the Executive Director of Indiana Department of Homeland Security, the #1 piece of advice I give people when preparing for an emergency or a disaster is to have a plan. And, just as you need to make certain you go to a safe location in your house, in the event of severe weather, or you decide on a safe meeting place if there’s a fire or a flood, it’s important for you to include a cybersecurity plan that helps protect everyone, regardless of the situation.

The National Security Agency offers a list of best practices to keep your home network secure, such as updating your operating systems and safeguarding your mobile devices, as well as some helpful tips designed to help you stay whenever you’re online – including taking precautions on social media to using different devices for different activities for protecting your personal information. With National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, USDHS Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency also features four things you can do to help improve your cyber hygiene and stay better protected.

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In addition to being prepared at home, our cities, and towns – across Indiana – have to be prepared for any emergency, in order to protect everyone they’re dedicated to serving, as well as making certain that the critical infrastructure systems that are a vital part of local government are maintained safely and securely.

Among the resources that are available includes the Emergency Manager Cybersecurity Toolkit. Developed by the Indiana Executive Council on Cybersecurity (IECC), is a free, downloadable resource for emergency managers that includes four key sections, including:

  • A survey to assist emergency managers in planning with their partners they work with to develop emergency and continuity of operations plans;
  • A cybersecurity incident response plan template; a training and exercise guide and;
  • Additional resources for navigating a range of different cyber incidents and threats.

While there really is no perfect plan or guide to use when planning for an emergency, nothing more is important than protecting our families and our communities. For more information, visit the DHS website on how you can get prepared and the Indiana Cyber Hub website at: