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National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM): A Note from our VP of Information Security & Infrastructure, John Woods

Every year, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United States Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) dedicate the entire month of October to spreading information about cybersecurity in the United States.  This program is not cybersecurity for business; this is cybersecurity for everyone.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM)

I believe very strongly that if we can make cybersecurity a part of everyone’s typical thought process in their personal lives, it will translate to increased cybersecurity for our company and our customer’s patients.  That is why in the past three years, we have taken part in this national effort.  The month-long campaign covers a broad gamut of cybersecurity topics.  This year, the program organizes topics according to the theme: “OWN IT.  SECURE IT.  PROTECT IT.”  We have focused on each of those components during the middle weeks of the month and provided a wide range of delivery formats to our staff.


We run a poster awareness campaign throughout our campus associated with NCSAM, as well as daily emails that cover a particular topic.  We have also hosted several in-person events like a mobile device security checkup, a lunch-n-learn on protecting your home and family in cyberspace, a cybersecurity trivia gameshow (with prizes), and a lunch-n-learn where we brief the staff on how PDX does security, how we gauge our success, and how we compare to rest of the world.

Practicing Cybersecurity outside of work

This campaign is an excellent opportunity to make cybersecurity real and personal, and not in a scary way.  It is a fantastic opportunity to help people outside of work, to possibly help people make a positive change to protect themselves and their loved ones.  Every email that I send and every session that I host is available for distribution to family and friends.  Sharing is encouraged.  My goal is to get the message to as many people as possible through whatever means possible.

The best-selling book The Hunger Games used a recurring quote: “May the odds be ever in your favor.”  The odds are not in the good guys’ favor in cybersecurity.  There are far more bad guys than good right now.  Our best chance to win the war against cybercrime is to deputize as many people as we can, and NCSAM is a month-long effort to do just that.  Take some time at home today and talk to your family and friends and make sure they know about their cybersecurity.  Help me make sure that everyone Owns IT, Secures IT, and Protects IT.

Guest Contributor: John Woods, CISSP, CISM

VP, Information Security & Infrastructure

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