Blog at a glance: What is a human firewall, what cybersecurity threats are out there, and how do you go about creating one at your organization?
During 2020, COVID-19 led many businesses to roll out rapid cloud migration and adopt remote working. Digital transformation was accelerated to improve collaboration and communication in the cloud. But as businesses continue to adapt to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, robust IT security must remain a key priority.
In this blog, we’ll focus on one area of IT security often referred to as the ‘human firewall’ and explain why it should be playing a key role in any robust cybersecurity strategy.
What Is a Human Firewall?
First things first. Let’s establish a quick human firewall definition. The concept is quite simple. It refers to the people at your organization, and their potential to become a one-stop cyber-crime fighting machine. The first line of protection against certain types of cyberattacks, like phishing attacks, your employees are as important as the hardware and software that make up your IT security.
Most organizations have some training in place around how to create a strong password or how to avoid a phishing attack, but a human firewall goes one step further. It involves establishing a group of people within your organization who promote and carry out cybersecurity best practice. They protect your organization and lead by example, bringing along other members of staff with them—further building up the strength of your human firewall.
What Is the Nature of the Threat?
It wasn’t so long ago that cybersecurity attacks were in the headlines due to worldwide ransomware attacks. It’s important to note that just because these attacks no longer feature as prominently in the news, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still happening. The world’s attention is understandably gripped by COVID-19, but your business priorities should still keep a focus on security.
In fact, cybercriminals are now exploiting vulnerabilities directly caused by the fact that more people are working remotely. In some cases, rapid cloud migrations and accelerated digital transformation have even left organizations more vulnerable.
Phishing attacks often revolve around emails sent to users containing malicious code. They try to trick users into giving away personal information such as log-in details. This might take the form of an email pretending to be from a reputable source, perhaps even within the organization, such as the CEO.
Cybercriminals are using the pandemic as a theme for their phishing campaigns—for instance, making use of emotive content such as daily death tolls. When people are confused and emotions are high, there is a greater risk of the momentary lapse of concentration required for a user to click on a malicious link. Phishing attacks are also increasingly being led by artificial intelligence, making them even more sophisticated, realistic, and harder to spot.
A dispersed and decentralized workforce presents an easy target for cybercriminals, as remote workers and their devices are further removed from the purview of the company’s IT department. Employees are using their own devices, which haven’t been patched or managed by IT staff, leaving them vulnerable to attacks.
So, security must be taken seriously. Fortunately, there are many steps that can be taken, including the human firewall.
Weakest Link, No Longer
It is sometimes said that weakest line of defence is your employees. It only takes one careless moment for an employee to click on a phishing email. When we are all busy working to meet deadlines, people are more susceptible to this than they might think.
But we believe this is the wrong way to look at it—and the efficacy of the human firewall proves this. With the right strategy, this “weakest link” idea can be turned on its head. Your employees are your greatest asset, and, with the right training and guidance, they can be a strong part of a robust cybersecurity setup.
Business leaders and CIOs are right to make security a priority due to the increased reliance on remote working. But the importance of security in business should never be ignored. Regardless of whether your teams are working from home or back in the office, building a human firewall is a step that can help tighten up your defenses.
The Importance of Security in Business
Worksighted can help you stay ahead of threats. We offer a risk review assessment to provide an accurate understanding of your organization’s IT infrastructure, to help you identify potential security risks, and to promote security best practices.
However, the best place to start is with a free Power Hour with our IT security experts, who will discuss your business and current IT setup to define the best plan of action for your organization. Schedule your Power Hour today: it’s the fastest way to start tightening up your cybersecurity defenses.
We hope we have answered the question: what is a human firewall? For more information about how your organization can create a robust cybersecurity strategy, get in contact with the Worksighted team today.