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Four Ways to Stoke Up the Human Firewall

By: Tim Foley

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One of the biggest and most neglected hazards to your business lies much closer to home: your employees.

The human factor is one of the most important aspects of your business’ security program. A recent report conducted by ProofPoint, Inc., found that 44% of people think an email is safe when it contains familiar branding BUT more than 30 million malicious messages sent in 2022 involved Microsoft branding or products.

Today’s cyber-security attackers are looking to infiltrate businesses’ confidential data and systems by going through an organization’s employees, utilizing such tactics as phishing and malware to penetrate system security and access sensitive information. It’s critical to ensure your company’s security program takes into account the human firewall and works to minimize the possibility of human error.

To help you get started, below are 4 ways you can stoke up your human firewall:

Educate Your Employees on Security

The most important aspect of reducing human error is to raise awareness and conduct ongoing security training to educate your employees on potential threats. Training on such topics as malicious email identification and elements of untrustworthy websites reduces the chance employees click on emails and links that lead to network-infiltrating viruses. In order to be effective, training and awareness programs need to be continuous and focus on changing user behavior. By creating a company culture that is educated and practices effective security principals, your business will be better protected from potential threats.

Create Security Policies and Procedures

Putting specific policies and procedures in place guides employees toward better security practices and holds them accountable for their activities. An Acceptable Use Policy implements rules and responsibilities for employees to follow with regard to their computers and online activities. This policy may restrict accessing sites more vulnerable to malware and viruses, such as social media, and prohibit risky behavior, such as external file sharing, that could lead to loss of data or a security breach. Having these policies in place helps protect your company from immeasurable credibility or financial loss from a breach.

Control Data Access

Another way to enhance the human firewall is to encrypt data and password-protect sensitive documents and systems. With mobile technology continuing to increase and employees accessing more company data on the go, it’s important to ensure that documents and mobile devices themselves are properly protected. If an employee loses their phone or laptop, you want ensure that the person who finds the device doesn’t have full access to your company’s data.

Audit Controls and Logging Capabilities

It’s important to take a critical look at your employees’ access levels and the behaviors of where, when, and how they access your company’s data. By running an internal audit and spot-checking security practices, you can discover behavior that may be leaving your network and data vulnerable to attack, and correct the issue before it becomes a critical problem. If you determine there is a consistent, detrimental security practice among employees, it may be necessary to correct the problem by holding an employee training on the matter.

The human factor is an extremely important aspect of your company’s security, and involves ongoing training and awareness of security best practices. Without a properly educated and prepared human firewall, your company’s vulnerability to external attack is increased no matter how secure your network. Is your human firewall prepared?

Questions to Help Improve Employee Security Training

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to determine if the human firewall protection in your organization needs a boost: 

  1. Are you educating and training your users?
  2. Do you have security policies and procedures in place that are shared with your employees?
  3. Do you know how your employees access company data?
  4. Are you actively auditing controls and logging capabilities?
  5. Are you analyzing your security program and findings?

Read how to navigate the questions above in our Strengthening the Human Firewall article.

Questions to Improve Employee Security Training

Contact us today for a security audit and assistance with employee awareness training. By protecting your business now, you’re protecting your future.


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