This October marks the 20th annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month. While it was initially founded as a national movement in the US, Cybersecurity Awareness Month has since grown into a global initiative. And for good reason.\n\nToday\u2019s cybersecurity market is suffering from a skills gap of 3.4 million trained professionals, with security practitioners being overwhelmed by a continuous onslaught of increasingly sophisticated attacks while having to educate their organizations. The average cost of a data breach in 2022 was $4.35 million, providing a strong incentive for attackers to do whatever is necessary to compromise potentially valuable networks. And what is the first and last line of defense for organizations against cybercrime? People.\n\nAccording to research by Standford, human error accounts for more than 80% of cybersecurity incidents. This trend points to the growing need for awareness and education in the cybersecurity space\u2014not just for prospective security professionals but also everyday citizens. After all, cybersecurity is everyone\u2019s responsibility, and safe behaviors online range from regular day-to-day tasks at home to professional settings. That\u2019s why Microsoft partners with the National Cybersecurity Alliance, CISA, and organizations worldwide to amplify the importance of cybersecurity best practices and to expand the understanding of how to be cyber smart.\n\nRead on to learn more about how you can better educate your organization on the fundamental elements of cybersecurity and take the next step for cyber resilience.\n\n4 key focus areas for cybersecurity education\n\nThe rise of hybrid work, an ever-increasing external attack surface, and the daily threat of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks have made people the primary threat vector. Humans, paired with the right technology, are the biggest asset towards fighting cybercrime in an organization, and cybersecurity awareness programs are key to enabling security teams to effectively manage human risk by changing how people think about cybersecurity and helping them exhibit secure behaviors.\n\nAccording to the recently published 2023 Microsoft Digital Defense Report, basic security hygiene still protects against 99% of attacks. This is great news for CISOs, as it underscores that not everyone needs to become a cybersecurity expert. Instead, it is vital to raise the bar broadly on cybersecurity awareness and education so that everyone has a role to play in securing organizations.\n\nHere are four core tips to focus on when increasing cybersecurity education in your organization:\n\nUltimately, organizations play a vital role in fostering cybersecurity awareness among their employees and communities. By emphasizing the importance of cybersecurity, organizations can encourage individuals to adopt best practices and ensure the safety of their digital environments. While these safe behaviors are important, blending user-friendly practices with cutting-edge tech like generative AI, security teams can boost efficiency and keep a sharp eye on threats, freeing them up for hands-on cyber defense work. This heightened awareness and approachability not only strengthens protection against cyber threats but also helps attract new talent to the ever-evolving industry, which is in dire need of more skilled professionals to combat escalating cybercrime.\n\nTo learn more about current cybersecurity best practices, visit the Microsoft Cybersecurity Awareness Website to download your Be Cybersmart Kit and check out available educational resources. Also, visit Microsoft Security Insider for the latest threat intelligence insights and get guidance to help your organization increase its cyber resilience.