Many of us have heard the term firewall in terms of technology. But, have you heard of the term human firewall? Is it possible for humans to be firewalls? Well, in a sense it is. According to an article written by Thierry Wohnlich on Cisco Press, “the concept behind [a human firewall] is to build a persistent consciousness about information security in the minds of the information system’s users so they won’t make errors or misbehave when dealing with information.”
In short, being a human firewall means making yourself and others aware of the dangers of information online and how important it is to keep that information secure. Though computers and the internet have gone a long way in protecting its users, it’s important to exercise your technological street smarts and take steps to keep yourself and your information safe. We all do this to an extent already, but technology is only getting stronger. Human firewalls are needed now more than ever.
Here are five ways you can become the best human firewall around:
- Take advantage of password managers.
You’ve heard it a million times before; use a different password for every website because it’s more secure that way. You likely groan upon hearing it because it’s a pain to remember them all. Sure, you write them down on a Post-It or a scrap of paper, but then when you need it to recall a password, it’s lost among everything spread out on your desk. Well, password managers take away those pains. According to an article by Jason Parker on CNET, “with password managers, you need to remember only one master password, then you can let the software remember all your log-in information.” He mentions that some even create strong passwords for you that are secure. Because the saying is true, different passwords = better security. Check out which password managers are best for you here.
- Never, ever use public wifi.
Okay, maybe never, ever using it is a stretch. Going online away from home and working at Starbucks or McDonald’s has become too much a part of our daily lives despite its security risks. One of the major ones according to Total Networks is that “open public Wi-Fi spots don’t encrypt data, so your device is practically an open book waiting to be analyzed by hackers.” But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to work only at home or your office. You just have to go on the offensive. Total Networks’ suggestions are to not connect automatically to open networks unless they are ones you trust, connect to networks that are secure and encrypted (it makes things difficult for hackers who want to steal your data while it’s in transit), and making sure your computer’s OS is up-to-date with the latest security, anti-virus software and general updates.
- Install anti-malware software and use it often.
Many businesses and homes have anti-virus programs installed on their devices. While these are useful in snuffing out problems before they get bigger, it’s also wise to invest in some anti-malware software. It will often pick up infected files, software, and viruses that normal anti-virus software might miss in a scan. Malwarebytes is a great one to use, but there are others out there (and some that help with both viruses and malware) such as Spybot – Search & Destroy and the Emsisoft Emergency Kit.
- Keep your computer running efficiently with system cleaners.
Computers don’t run like new for long. Over time, we add more and more stuff to it like new software, word documents, spreadsheets, presentations. There’s also the bloatware that comes pre-installed on your computer, running in the background often without you knowing. Finally, there are the temporary files that store up like mad, eating up your hard drive space. All of those things, plus the longer you own the computer, make it slow down and not run as efficiently as you’d like.
While it would seem easy to just replace every computer in your office when it goes bad, it’s entirely too costly and with your whole business stored in those machines, parting with them and starting fresh (even with backups) is frustrating. To prolong the lives of your computers, consider using the many system cleaners available online, such as CCleaner. According to Download.com, “in addition to browser tracks cleaning, CCleaner will clean tracks from other programs, empty your Recycle Bin, delete temporary files, and clean your Registry, quickly scanning for invalid entries before removing them.” You also don’t have to worry about losing anything important. CCleaner backs your entire Registry up before you need to hit delete. If you’re looking for other system cleaners, check out the others that are available here.
- Back up your data at all times with the help of business grade backups.
From the minute you get the computers running in your business, you should have something in place to back up your data. You never know when something could happen and everything you’ve worked with on your computer could be wiped out. While external drives are useful, you should also consider backing up your data online through cloud services. Your data is not only backed up in a safe place, but it’s also secure through encryption and simple for you to access anywhere. Tim Fisher of LifeWire reviews eight online services you could use for your business and if you need any more suggestions, check out this article from Enterprise Features.
With this list, you’re now armed with the best ways to become a human firewall. Now, go out there and save the information world!