Strengthening Cybersecurity Culture: How Public Housing Organizations Can Embrace Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Given that public and affordable housing organizations play a critical role in our communities—providing essential services to vulnerable populations—protecting sensitive data and ensuring the integrity of operations is not just a responsibility, but a necessity.

One effective way to build a more robust culture of cybersecurity within your organization is by participating in Cybersecurity Awareness Month, observed annually in October. Don't worry; someone has already done the heavy lifting for you by creating a free Cybersecurity Awareness Month toolkit that your organization can leverage to educate employees, partners, and community members. 

The significance of Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cyber threats are constantly evolving, becoming more sophisticated and targeted. This dynamic landscape demands a proactive approach to security that goes beyond technical measures. It requires a workforce that is well-versed in the latest cybersecurity protocols and empowered with the knowledge to identify and respond to potential threats.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month presents a golden opportunity for public and affordable housing organizations to enhance their cybersecurity culture.

This month-long campaign, managed by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA), aims to educate and engage individuals and organizations about the importance of cybersecurity, offering insights into current threats, best practices, and strategies for safeguarding sensitive information.


2023 key messages:

  • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  • Use strong passwords and a password manager
  • Update your software
  • Recognize and report phishing attacks

Why participate in Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

Last year, NCA released findings of a study involving 3,000 individuals in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. Nearly two-thirds of individuals in the study reported a lack of access to cybersecurity knowledge, stressing the need for education as a fundamental cybersecurity practice for organizations.

By participating in Cybersecurity Awareness Month activities, organizations can empower employees with the knowledge and tools to recognize phishing attempts, secure passwords, and identify suspicious activities. This proactive approach transforms employees into the first and last line of defense against cyber threats.

Regular discussions and educational initiatives help weave cybersecurity into the organizational fabric, making it a natural part of daily operations—this culture shift results in improved decision-making, reduced risk, and enhanced security posture.

Collaborative activities during cybersecurity awareness month offer the chance to build relationships with other organizations, experts, and government agencies in the field. Sharing experiences and knowledge can yield fresh insights and strategies.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month ideas for housing organizations

  • Workshops and Training Sessions: Organize workshops covering topics such as identifying phishing emails, creating strong passwords, securing personal devices, and practicing safe online behavior. Invite cybersecurity experts to share their insights.  
  • Cybersecurity Challenges and Competitions: Host friendly competitions that test employees' cybersecurity knowledge and skills. This interactive approach can make learning engaging and memorable.
  • Webinars and Guest Speakers: Arrange webinars featuring guest speakers who can share real-world experiences and case studies related to cybersecurity incidents. This provides valuable context and practical lessons.
  • Information Sharing Sessions: Encourage employees to share their experiences or concerns about cybersecurity. This open dialogue can foster a sense of community and shared responsibility.

Bottom Line: Be a Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champion

Embracing Cybersecurity Awareness Month within your organization is a proactive approach that can cultivate a robust cybersecurity culture.

Sign up for NCA’s free Champion program to receive free Cybersecurity Awareness Month resources for your organization, including:

  • Toolkit with ways to get involved
  • Sample social media posts and graphics
  • Sample articles
  • Sample press release and email
  • Video conference backgrounds
  • Email signature
  • Infographics
  • Tipsheets on key behaviors
  • Presentation your organization can use to talk about the campaign

Seize the opportunity to make cybersecurity awareness a year-round commitment and safeguard your communities in the digital age.

Access Your Free Cybersecurity Awareness Month Resources

Free cybersecurity resources from HAI Group and beyond:

Cybersecurity Center

Cybersecurity Blog Content

Cybersecurity Training (free for HAI Group members)

KnowBe4 Cybersecurity Training Discount Offer (available for HAI Group members)

KnowBe4 Cybersecurity Awareness Month Resource Kit

Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center membership (open to public housing organizations)

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