Embrace the New Normal

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Define cyber hygiene.
  • Explain why cyber hygiene is important to your organization.
  • Start on the path to cyber hygiene.


This module was produced in collaboration with the Global Cyber Alliance. Learn more about partner content on Trailhead.

Threats Are Everywhere

Organizations of all sizes and industries have been victims of cyberattacks, and the ramifications were felt around the world. Phishing, malware, credential stuffing—these terms have become part of the lexicon. And it doesn’t stop with large organizations. Cyber threats are everywhere, and how we prepare for and deal with them is part of our new normal.

It seems you can’t read the news or scan social media without coming across another story about how a company, organization, or government suffered a cyberattack. 

Think about your business. Imagine if your business systems and devices were infected or attacked. Those systems house high-priority data that help keep your business up and running. What if it’s lost? What if this impacts your customers? No one is immune to these threats. It’s up to all of us to do what we can to protect ourselves. And it’s up to you to do everything you can to protect your business. Unfortunately, it’s probably not a question of if it will happen, but when it will happen. Time to practice good cyber hygiene. 

What Is Cyber Hygiene?

Cyber hygiene is like personal hygiene, only for your devices, systems, and applications. You brush your teeth, wash your hair, and take care of yourself. Now it’s time to take care of the systems that you use to run your business.

A man is brushing his teeth, which are sparkling clean.

Cyber hygiene is when computer system owners, users, and administrators undertake activities to improve their cybersecurity. In today’s world, this is imperative to any business strategy, regardless of the size of the organization. 

The Protections of Cyber Hygiene

Think about it: Good personal hygiene offers a lot of protection and prevents issues like cavities, skin problems, and illness. It makes you feel better and even makes you more appealing to others. Similarly, cyber hygiene offers certain protections for your systems, devices, and applications. Good cyber hygiene puts you in a better position to handle cyber threats. 

The Basics of Cyber Hygiene

The first thing to remember is that cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility. Cyber hygiene takes work, but there are some basic steps that everyone can follow to make it easier to practice and maintain. 

Secondly, preparation is your best form of defense. You can’t always prevent, but you can always prepare. Just as there are new threats popping up, there are also new resources that help you protect your organization. Here are some groups that have dedicated themselves to helping you help yourself.

Global Cyber Alliance (GCA)
An international, cross-sector organization that provides practical and free solutions to improve cybersecurity and reduce most prevalent cyber risks that individuals and companies face.
Center for Internet Security (CIS)
Identifies and develops best practice solutions to safeguard private and public organizations against cyber threats.
World Economic Forum Centre for Cybersecurity (C4C)
Mobilizes the capabilities of a global network of partners, including business, government, academia, international organizations, and civil society to enhance and consolidate cybersecurity.

And lastly, because your organization is unique, know that certain cyber hygiene methods work better than others. Later in the module, we discuss how to develop a customized strategy and approach that works best for your organization. 

Help Is Everywhere

The good news is that there are valuable tools and resources that provide guidance on how to up your cybersecurity game. There are books, seminars, and entire industries dedicated to preserving your cybersecurity. Here are some helpful places to start your cybersecurity journey.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
An independent, nongovernmental international organization that brings together experts to share knowledge and develop International Standards.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
This organization is focused on promoting US innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology.
SANS Institute
A cooperative research and education organization that provides information security training and security certification.

With all of these resources available, why are so many organizations still vulnerable to cyberattacks? Here are some explanations.

  • They think everything is OK. They set up the securities once and never updated them, not realizing the vulnerabilities this creates.
  • They don’t know how to automate the updates or don’t realize that automation is possible.
  • They’re overwhelmed by the complexities and the amount of work they think cybersecurity entails. They’re not completely sure about what they can or even should do, and they don’t know where to start.

Sum It Up

Cyberattacks and threats are common in today’s world. It’s up to all of us to protect ourselves and our organizations the best we can—through strong cyber hygiene. Resources and tools exist to make cyber hygiene a reality for your organization. The next unit covers how to utilize these tools and take the steps to make it happen.


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