In today’s world of Internet records and cloud-based data, organizations and individuals are scrambling to learn everything they can about cybersecurity and how to maintain it. It can seem like a daunting task, especially in the midst of a troubling time that includes breaches of sensitive consumer and government information, such as the recent Sony hack and the hack of the State Department in late 2014.
For government agencies, the conversation about cybersecurity is perhaps even more important because of the confidential nature of data stored by their systems. In the battle against hackers and malware, it is good to have cybersecurity teams and software to protect against intrusion, but it can be even more integral to educate individual employees about their role in the grand security scheme.
Individual clicks matter
In a recent article for the Huffington Post, certified information systems security professional Richard La Bella used a front-door analogy to describe the regular employee’s role in the security of a company’s infrastructure. A person can have the most up-to-date alarm system, locks on the windows and a raucous guard dog, but if the front door doesn’t get locked before bed, all those other measures don’t mean much. An unlocked door is an invitation for burglars or worse – just like an employee’s work computer can be an invitation for hackers and malware if the employee isn’t careful.
La Bella stressed the importance of ignoring potentially harmful links, such as those in emails or on the sides of online articles. He stated that employees (himself included) have a responsibility to help keep companies and government agencies safe.
“We are at the front door everyday, that digital front door,” he said. “When we power up our computers in the morning, and open our email, sometimes there’s a link or an attachment just waiting to be clicked or open, and that link or attachment, whether we realize it or not, is laden with malicious software (a virus or backdoor) that will leave the front door open to our business.”
In other words, when an employee’s device has been compromised, the agency he or she works for faces risks as well. In order to offset potential breaches in security that occur at the individual level, it can be crucial to educate government employees about what to click and what not to click while at work.