Hardening The Human Firewall

Human Firewall

Businesses today face the challenges of cloud computing, mobile devices, and employees working from home and public places. When it comes to the preservation of information security, many organisations invest in expensive solutions to secure their business perimeter.

The majority of information security threats come as a result of internal negligence, or external users. In order to combat the challenges of the human factor, organisations need to look at their employees as a critical piece of their digital security strategy and to view them in the same context as firewalls.

Potential risks must be identified, controlled, and policies must be put in place. The effectiveness of these policies can then be validated and remediated where necessary. In order for risk reduction policies to work, your employees must understand what you are trying to achieve, as well as their own accountability.

The key to hardening your human firewall is the communication and reinforcement of your policies and procedures to your employees. There are many ways in which you can communicate policies to your staff, such as interactive eLearning.

It is important to ensure that the method you use is the right one to convey your message. Many employees dislike the level of time and commitment needed to complete eLearning courses. Try to make learning more appealing by incorporating new media such as webinars, podcasts and videos.

Educated employees are the most effective firewall. This is especially true for employees that take a place at the front end of your business and deal with the data protection of your clients.

In order to make sure that your employees are vigilant in regards to your policies, make sure that data compliance and risk is at the forefront of your employees minds. It is possible to adopt solutions such as posters that remind staff of potential data security breaches. An example of this could be as simple as a screen saver that remints employee’s not to leave their desktop accessible when unattended.

It is also important to hold annual awareness days in your organisation that include CEOs or company directors. By involving this level of management, employees will understand that information security is a top priority for the company. You can coincide this day every year with Data Privacy Day on January 28th.

In conclusion, it is not technology that’s dangerous, the danger comes from the people that use it. In order to minimise risk, compliance needs to be engaging, understandable and relevant for your employees.

Robert O'Brian

Robert O’Brien is the CEO of MetaCompliance, the leading information security and compliance software specialists. MetaCompliance aims to make a difference in the way that organisations protect themselves in the face of compliance and legislation.