Posted by: Jacqueline Beauchere, Director, Trustworthy Computing Communications

 

For more than a decade, we at Microsoft have been protecting consumers from online safety and security risks not only by our work in Trustworthy Computing (TwC), but in our partnerships with others in industry, business, and the non-profit community – an effort we refer to as “Fostering Digital Citizenship.”

In addition to  being the 10-year milestone of TwC, 2012  marks the decade anniversary of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), a not-for-profit dedicated to educating and empowering society to use the Internet safely – at home, work, and school. NCSA also focuses on protecting technology, networks, and other shared digital assets.

Microsoft is a founding member of NCSA, and I have been the company’s representative to the NCSA board of directors for more than half of its existence. In the last 10 years, NCSA has grown both in size and influence, and we’ve seen it flourish as a leading voice in Internet safety and security awareness and education.

One of its most noteworthy contributions to the online safety dialogue is its annual event, National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). Held each October in the U.S., NCSAM seeks to raise awareness of Internet-based safety and security risks, and to encourage individuals to adopt safer, more informed online habits and practices. Last October, NCSAM kicked off in Michigan in conjunction with the Michigan Cyber Summit; NCSAM 2011 stands as the largest, most successful Awareness Month to date.

Most recently, NCSA added Data Privacy Day (DPD) to its list of industry-leading engagements. 

DPD, observed annually on January 28, was established by the Council of Europe and the European Commission in 2007. The annual goal of Data Privacy Day is to increase awareness of privacy and data protection issues among consumers, organizations and government elites.

Even though NCSAM and DPD both come only once a year, staying safer online and aiming to safeguard one’s privacy should be daily considerations. That’s why Microsoft, NCSA, and a host of other companies, groups and government agencies joined forces to create STOP.THINK.CONNECT. – a simple, actionable message and campaign to encourage individuals and families to stay safer online.

To assist in that effort, Microsoft, NCSA, and others develop and leverage educational resources and materials that appeal to a range of audiences. Check them out at www.microsoft.com/security and www.staysafeonline.org.  You can also follow Microsoft’s online safety efforts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.