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Wednesday, January 3, 2024

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Now that we’re a few days into a new year, the confetti’s been cleaned up in Times Square and from all of the stadiums that hosted a college football bowl game.

And, yet, in less time than it takes to stage one final drive down the field or take a knee and run out the clock, a successful ransomware attack occurs every 40 seconds and attempts are made every 11 seconds.

With clock management like that, it’s almost as if some guy already knew what plays you were going to call. But, when it comes to protecting your company’s critical systems or protecting your own personal and financial information when you’re online, you’re going to want to have a better game plan.

To help make sure your year gets off to a better start , let’s begin by celebrating National Technology Day on Saturday, January 6th. It’s the perfect time to take advantage of more of the cybersecurity resources and best practices to help protect our tech-infused mobile devices, smart home products and, most importantly, our critical systems.

As with most of the things we try to improve, as part of our everyday lives, the effort begins at home. offers a great take on the eight essential personal cybersecurity tips that’ll help you start 2024 with a digital clean slate, including:

  • Updating your passwords
  • Enabling two-factor/multi-factor authentication
  • Reviewing app permissions
  • Keeping your software and devices updated
  • Being cautious with emails and links
  • Securing your home network
  • Regularly backing up your data
  • Educating yourself about the latest cyber threats and best practices

Conversely, if (even part of) your job involves the responsibility of making sure things (and we mean servers, backup systems, employee cyber policies, etc.) run smoothly, there’s a great article from ISACA Global about the five things information security, IT and cybersecurity professionals should consider putting on their “to do” list that’ll help an organization improve its performance. This is especially true, as it involves security risks and dealing with potential threats and malicious actors. Among the five steps to consider taking includes:

  • Building your AI Knowledge
  • Architect Security for the Cloud
  • Refocusing Security on the Human Element
  • Building Security Governance
  • Doing Your Boring Stuff Well

We’re often reminded that all of us can do more to avoid being a victim of identity theft, or to work at a company or organization that is impacted by a phishing attack or a data breach.

At times, it can seem like a tall task.

According to a recent report from IBM, the global average cost of a data breach in 2023 was $4.45 million, a 15 percent increase over three years. And the average total cost of a ransomware breach rose to $5.13 million. That’s 13 percent higher compared to 2022.

Fortunately, there are a lot of free cybersecurity resources available through the State of Indiana, including:

  • Indiana Executive Council on Cybersecurity (IECC) and the Indiana Cyber Hub website for the benefit of all Hoosiers, businesses, local government and schools.
  • Indiana Office of Technology (IOT) – featuring a wide range of services designed to assist local government.
  • Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) leads the Hoosier State’s emergency planning and operations, first responder training and fire and building safety. DHS also provides a key role with resources, such as the free-to-download Emergency Manager Toolkit 2.0 and other tools that can be used to help communities stay safe and protected.
  • Together with the important work in cyber that is performed by the Indiana National Guard and the Indiana State Police, cybersecurity is a top priority. Add in the strong partnerships that exist with federal agencies, such as the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA), there is a significant and ongoing commitment to capitalize on utilizing technology to create an even greater level of awareness for cyber in a way that’s intended to help all of us.

In doing so, we’re able to push it over the goal line when it comes to taking down more of the bad actors and cybercriminals that are out there. Happy New Year!