As the term implies, a human firewall is a group of people or employees who are committed to following the best practices against cyber attacks, like ransomware or phishing, and protecting their organizations from loss. Human firewalls primarily help to detect and report any suspicious activities that may attack the network security systems and prevent them effectively.
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Why do businesses need human firewalls?
With the increasing amount of data available in the digital space, the chances of becoming the victim of cyber attacks are also increasing day by day. Following the best security practices and keeping systems up to date are not enough to keep an organization secure from cyber threats. Maintaining a group of strong human firewalls is essential to protect an organization’s assets and prevail in a safe and secure IT environment.
The following are common security threats a human firewall can prevent effectively:
Phishing is one of the most common cyber security attacks where attackers send fraudulent messages that pretend to come from trustworthy sources. The main purpose of phishing attacks is either stealing sensitive data or installing malware on the victim’s system. It helps attackers to organize advanced attacks, like advanced persistent threats or ransomware.
Ransomware is an advanced level of malware attack based on asymmetric data encryption methods that block companies or users from accessing their data until a ransom is paid. After releasing a ransom, the attackers provide a private key to decrypt the data and files to the victims.
Data theft or loss is an act of stealing data or files stored on systems, servers, or databases through malicious activities to obtain valuable information. The information can be anything related to financial, personal, health, social security, and so on. Employee negligence is one of the most common reasons for data theft in organizations, often due to keeping company information on their personal devices or unsecured systems at home.
Phone scammers are a common threat that target businesses of all kinds. For example, phone scammers can pretend to be tech support engineers who notify employees of issues that need immediate attention. Unsuspecting employees can fall for it and provide these phone scammers with important information, including login credentials. Such an event puts companies’ data and financial security at risk.
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How to develop human firewalls
Even with cybersecurity software and devices, data can still be vulnerable to cyber attacks; therefore, a strong human firewall is important to keep an organization’s digital information safe and secure. Cyber threats such as phishing emails and ransomware can effectively be handled by employees if they are well aware of these attacks.
Here are some of the ways to build a group of potential human firewalls:
Create awareness among employees
Organizations need to conduct awareness programs on cyber crimes by bringing all the staff on board. Creating awareness among employees on a wide range of possible cyber security risks like phishing emails, data breaches, and other cyber attacks, train them to detect and quarantine suspected messages or links and track down the malicious activities are essential to prepare them to safeguard company’s information and systems.
Enable multi-factor authentication or 2-factor authentication
Enabling MFA or 2FA may strengthen human firewalls and provide employees an extra layer of protection against cyber attacks. MFA requires two authentication factors: something they know like a password and something they have like a device. It may prevent cybercriminals from logging into the employees’ accounts easily.
Provide company devices to employees
The growing number of remote workers may increase the chances of becoming a victim of cyber attacks. If companies can provide devices to employees along with essential security tools and software, it’s easy for companies to protect data.
Top benefits of maintaining human firewalls
Human firewalls are a powerful weapon that provides a host of benefits to businesses of all kinds. The following are some significant benefits of maintaining human firewalls:
Businesses may incur different types of losses including, data loss, financial loss, the reputation of the brand, and more due to cyber attacks. Building strong human firewalls can help organizations to avoid these types of business losses.
Improved brand reputation
Human firewalls are a significant part of upholding the brand reputation of a company. The ultimate outcome of all business agendas is to improve the brand reputation. Having a strong and diligent security culture may increase the value of an organization and thereby a better ROI.
Avoid fines and lawsuits
Educating employees to follow best security practices may help organizations to avoid fines on data protection.