We face evolving cyberthreats every day. Technology advances and so do the hacker’s methods to crack our codes and steal our data. Many have implemented antivirus programs and firewalls to fight off hackers, but sometimes that is not sufficient.
One of the most important security measures a company can take is to strengthen their human firewall.
We’ll look into what the human firewall is, and how it can help you improve your cybersecurity.
A digital battlefield
We are connected on an international level because of the range of modern technology. It has made it possible for us to connect with people on the other side of the world with a single click. We can send messages, financial transactions and enormous amounts of data that is likewise exchanged on a daily basis.
The digital landscape, however, is not just fun and games. Hackers and scammers thrive online and have found several ways to steal information from us that they can exploit. This makes cybersecurity a crucial element of any organization’s security management and defense.
In the traditional sense, we used firewalls, encryption and antivirus programs to protect our software and data. That is, however, not the only thing that hackers target nowadays. Even though hackers can force their way into systems through vulnerabilities and weaknesses, they target humans as well. Hackers use social engineering as their way into systems and storages and exploit our emotions to do so. That is when the human firewall comes into play.
What is the human firewall?
The human firewall refers to the concept of having employees as the first line of defense in an organizations’ cybersecurity.
It uses the principle of firewalls that essentially is a tool or software that filters, monitors and controls any incoming or outgoing network traffic. Its main purpose is to defend your digital fortress from unwanted programs and access attempts. It thus acts as a barrier between you and untrusted actors and networks.
The human firewall therefore is the employees of the organization that protects data and software from becoming targeted by cyberattacks. Even though there are many solutions to digital security, hackers will continue to target people, as it’s human error that is a significant vulnerability.
- Hackers use phishing attacks, social engineering and many other types of hacking to trick people into either giving personal information, or access to softwares and data.
Organizations can strengthen their cybersecurity by strengthening their employee awareness around their digital security - and emphasize that they are the most important element of proper cybersecurity.
It’s the employees who can spot suspicious activity and report phishing, so the systems can learn to recognise the threat. Proactivity is a key element of good cybersecurity and it becomes an integral part of any organization’s cyber defense.
The Components of a Human Firewall
Below we’ll take a closer look at some of the elements in a human firewall, so you know what exactly a good firewall consists of.
User education and training is the first step in improved cybersecurity. That counts both for employees in an organization, students at a university or private people using technology. People should know what a phishing email looks like, how to make proper passwords and the importance of regular updates.
Staying vigilant and skeptical of messages, phone calls and attachments can get you a long way when it comes to cybersecurity. When you know what is safe to click, and what you should avoid you immediately become a better defense for your cybersecurity.
One of the easiest ways for hackers to get inside your systems and devices is to do one of two things; either send out phishing, or to do a brute force attack that tries to guess and crack your password. So, if you eliminate both, you minimize the risk of becoming the next target of a cyberattack. Strong passwords are long and unique - hence very difficult for the hacker to crack. You can furthermore use MFA (multi-factor authentication) to make the hacker’s job even more difficult, so they hopefully give up trying.
You not only have to consider doing awareness training, you should also keep training and do it on a regular basis. The cyberthreat changes every day, so you also need to stay updated on the latest developments within the cyber landscape.
Use reporting tools
It’s also a good idea to use the tools that many browsers and service providers provide; it makes the reporting process and security maintenance easier and part of your routine. When you report suspicious activities you not only help yourself, but you prevent others from getting the phishing as well, and thus strengthen your defenses.
Benefits of a Human Firewall
Besides just improving your awareness on cybersecurity, the human firewall can benefit you and your workplace on several levels:
- You reduce the success rate of cyberattacks on your workplace; when you know what to look for, you avoid any suspicious attachments and links.
- You can detect suspicious activities early on, and thus respond quickly to any potential threats. By having a human firewall, you can protect your sensitive data you store on your device and in the cloud.
- Having implemented cybersecurity and established a human firewall, you minimize the cost associated with data breaches and legal fees. In addition, you keep a good reputation by complying with cybersecurity regulations and plans, which’ll always be well received with partners and customers.
- Fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness promotes a feeling of responsibility in the workplace. When everyone stays vigilant and active in working for a better cybersecurity, they will know their role in maintaining a secure digital environment.
Enforcing the human defense
The employees in an organization are the first line of defense. Hackers target employees and attempt to trick us into thinking that their link, attachment or phone call is genuine and benevolent. That makes the human firewall more important than ever.
Awareness training should help you get a better understanding of the importance of proper cybersecurity but also give you an insight into the world of cyber - the newest trends and threats you can face in your daily activities online.
You can invest in comprehensive cybersecurity training, promote a vigilant culture and thus establish a strong defense. We should not be the reason that hackers get inside our systems and devices, so our human firewall should stand as tall as ever.
Caroline is a copywriter here at Moxso beside her education. She is doing her Master's in English and specializes in translation and the psychology of language. Both fields deal with communication between people and how to create a common understanding - these elements are incorporated into the copywriting work she does here at Moxso.View all posts by Caroline Preisler