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Three (Inexpensive) Ways to Keep Your Organization Prepared for a Cyber Attack
In today’s digital world, organizations large and small experience ongoing network attacks, identity theft and data breaches. While advancements in technology have prevented many of these attacks from occurring, technology alone is not enough. “Cybersecurity is no longer optional; it is absolutely required,” says Ken McCullough, IT Department Chair at Madison College. “The dangers of ignoring cybersecurity risks are too great and the potential for catastrophic losses is too high.” 
 
While it might not be feasible for your organization to hire a designated cybersecurity professional, there are still three ways you can keep your company prepared:  
 
1. Educate your employees. Wisconsin’s technical colleges can help prepare your organization by educating and training your employees. At a minimum, McCullough recommends security awareness classes. “All employees of a company should receive basic training on cybersecurity safe practices,” he says. As an example, “Madison College offers an IT Security Awareness online course that serves this purpose for IT students.”
 
The colleges offer associate degree programs as well as many other shorter-term technical diplomas and certificate programs related to cybersecurity. In these programs, students are taught the skills needed to design, test, implement and monitor security measures for any company’s network as well as how to respond to breaches and viruses should they occur.
 
2. Set up an internship. “Instructors in these programs welcome opportunities for their students to do project work or internships,” says McCullough. “Perhaps your company could use some help.” Talk to your local technical college about setting up an internship.
 
3. Go through a third-party. McCullough says, “Small companies should ask about cybersecurity as part of any computer service or support contracts they enter into with third-party vendors. An example might be a web hosting company that would provide cybersecurity protecting a company website.”    
 
With attacks on the rise, be ready for whatever could happen. It’s better to be fully prepared for something that may never occur than to be caught off-guard for something that could be catastrophic. 
 
Wisconsin's 16 technical colleges serve every community in Wisconsin, providing learning opportunities close to home. The Wisconsin Technical College System offers more than 500 programs, awarding two-year associate degrees, one- and two-year technical diplomas, and short-term technical diplomas and certificates. The colleges also provide customized business solutions that help employers ensure a skilled incumbent workforce ready to improve processes or incorporate new technology. Visit www.wistechcolleges.org to explore all the benefits Wisconsin’s technical colleges have to offer.
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