Corporate Security: How to Deal with Human Factor?

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How to Deal with Human Factor

Hacks, worms, malware and viruses are never far from the headlines. Corporations across the globe spent small fortunes every year trying to protect their systems from such problems but there is one major aspect that gets overlooked: the human factor in cyber security.

A company can have the most sophisticated system in place, but many of the major vulnerabilities lay with the people who are regularly using them. Study after study has highlighted the human factor in cyber security as a problem, yet still it remains. So how do you deal with this issue?

Develop stronger systems

Perhaps one solution is to take the employee out of the equation. Workers already know what they should and shouldn’t do, but one small lapse could bring chaos to the entire system. In his expert analysis, Dr JR Reagan of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, suggests in the future the emphasis should be on developing systems that can successfully identify phishing e-mails and prevent bad links from being opened, but as these innovations are some way off, corporations need to find a way to address these issues here and now.

Raise staff awareness

Research shows that not nearly enough staff regard IT security as an issue, and if this problem is not addressed, it doesn’t matter how much of its budget a company spends on securing its systems.

From the smallest law farm to the biggest corporation, every company should have firm protocols that staff should be aware of. Employees should know what they need to do to help prevent a security breach, but they should also be informed how to act if they suspect a breach might have occurred.

From the smallest law farm to the biggest corporation, every company should have firm protocols that staff should be aware of. Employees should know what they need to do to help prevent a security breach, but they should also be informed how to act if they suspect a breach might have occurred.

Curb Social Media Use

Protocols will vary from corporation to corporation, but there is one area every firm needs to toughen up on: social media. One way of effectively managing the human factor and reducing the risk to security is curbing the use of social media. Obviously, this is a move that won’t be popular with some employees, but it’s far too tempting to click on a harmless looking link on Facebook or Twitter, which could introduce malware.

If a corporation doesn’t want to limit the use of social media, then staff need to be aware of the basic rule: no clicking on links if they don’t know where they are leading to.

Security Reviews

Another way to successfully deal with the human factor in cyber security is to regularly review their current systems. Security experts say too many firms wait until they have had a security alert before they review the measures they have in place. Are they adequate to contend with the next big virus or a newly discovered security flaw and human error?

Another factor that companies often fail to consider is the security providers themselves. Their ability to manage the latest threats and possible beaches should be monitored, and if it is felt they aren’t proactive enough, it’s time to find another firm.

Protect mobile devices

Today, corporations are more dependent on mobile devices than they ever were before; the same applies to the staff. Mobile devices are now a fact of life, which is why it’s fortunate there is plenty that can be done to enhance their security.

Corporations – and their employees – should eliminate the ‘human factor’ where they can and have application and device controls installed for an added layer of protection. Removable devices like data sticks should be encrypted, and each mobile device should have some form of guard against malware and viruses.

Analyse the security budget

Another way of tackling the pressing issue of the human factor is to take a look at the security budget and how it is distributed. Could it be better used to shore up the security system and protect your firm from vulnerabilities? Where possible, enhance the system to take the responsibility away from staff, and have measures in place should human error occur.

Hacks, viruses and malware cost businesses billions every year. While every firm should have security measures in place, businesses of all sizes should look beyond this and empower themselves against the human factor.

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