Imagine a highly fortified castle. There are high walls, a moat, and guard dogs posted throughout. You’d think no one would be getting in or out. And yet when the adversary arrives, the drawbridge is lowered, and they are let right in. Why did this happen? There was a weak link in the castle’s defenses that had nothing to do with the security controls put in place. It was the human element. 

Take this scenario and apply it to a network. Traditionally, networks have been secured like a castle. There’s even a name for it; “The Castle Defense.” Fortify the perimeter to keep the good guys in and the bad guys out. But what happens if someone opens the door and lets the attacker right in? All the defenses were for naught. 

That makes the human element of your network security a critical component. Are you actively testing your employee responses to network attacks? When failures occur, is education happening to reduce re-occurrences? (If you are a Symplexity Secure customer, this is already in place!)

What happens when an employee continues to fail these tests? Often, difficult conversations are needed. Is the risk presented by this employee too great for the organization? Should access be restricted or job roles change? Or in the most severe cases, should termination be considered? 

Attackers are looking for the least path of resistance. If that path was technology related, wouldn’t you do everything you could to fix it? Why would we then respond any differently if it was human related instead?  It’s an uncomfortable thought, but one that must be considered. 

Aaron is a Senior Network Engineer at Symplexity. He achieved his CCIE Collaboration in 2014 and has more than 15 years of experience working in the IT sector. Aaron provides penetration testing(red team) services for our Symplexity Secure clients to help them validate existing security controls and simulate real world attacks on their networks. When not at work, he enjoys biking on Fort Wayne’s wonderful network of trails, smoking meat, and building Legos.

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