Securing the Network Against Inevitable Human Slipups

Did you know that 64 percent of employees admit to visiting non-work related web sites every day? Beyond the obvious productivity hits of such activity, these employees are opening the door to a whole host of cyber threats and putting their organization’s information assets at risk. Despite our best efforts to build a culture of information security and raise awareness through workforce education and training, human errors are inevitable.

photo of human hands on the keyboard of a Dell XPS laptop notebook

No organization is 100 percent risk-free, so a robust network security solution remains a vital component of IT security. A good next-generation firewall scans all inbound and outbound traffic in real-time for Trojans, worms, intrusions and other malicious activity. This means that even if a user inadvertently clicks on a video on the internet that has been compromised with malware, the firewall will block the download before the user’s computer can be infected.

Additionally, a next-generation firewall further reduces the risk of human slipups by giving organizations the ability to control which web sites users can visit and what applications they can use. Massage Envy Spa, one of the nation’s leading health and wellness franchises, has been able to protect users from themselves, blocking 55 out of 64 web-content categories that are either dangerous or unproductive. “We can keep employees off of social media and still grant access for those who need it by using the Dell SonicWALL Content Filtering Service in our Dell SonicWALL NSA and TZ series  Firewalls,” notes Adam Jacobi, Massage Envy’s director of IT services.

And by reinforcing the critical principle ‘think before you click’, organizations can reduce the number and severity of those human errors. What’s more, these controls introduce another opportunity to educate users about why a certain site or application is dangerous, so they’ll be less likely to engage in risky behavior again in the future. Next-generation firewalls provide a valuable tool in influencing and controlling the human side of IT security, which is particularly apropos in the midst of National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Eliminating the productivity-security trade-off

Importantly, next-generation firewalls must provide all of this control without impacting network performance – and by extension end-user productivity. Too often organizations choose convenience over security and don’t take full advantage of the firewall capabilities for fear of inhibiting user productivity. That’s why Dell SonicWALL next-generation firewalls deliver extremely high throughput, eliminating the performance-for-security tradeoff.  In fact, NSS Labs recently released its 2014 Next-Generation Firewall Security Value Map (SVM) and placed Dell SonicWALL in the recommended quadrant for the third straight year.

Specifically, organizations can better protect themselves from human errors and raise user awareness by taking these key steps:

  • Deploy a next-generation firewall that can scan inbound and outbound traffic in real-time without reassembly or buffering files to keep performance high.
  • Configure the firewall content filtering services and choose the website categories that make sense for your organization and those which should be blocked.
  • Use the application control capabilities on the next-generation firewall to ensure that your users are protected from unproductive or dangerous applications.
  • Ensure content filtering clients are used for remote users to provide protection when they are away from the office.
  • Setup notifications to explain why websites or applications are being blocked so users understand the situation and will be less likely to repeat mistakes.

Dell SonicWALL next-generation firewalls are part of Dell’s comprehensive suite of solutions that help organizations address the human side of IT security. You can get a more comprehensive understanding of Dell’s vision at And why not share your perspective at #BetterSecurity4All on Twitter, or delve even deeper into more connected IT security that enables business at Dell World 2014, Nov. 4 – 6, in Austin, TX?

About the Author: John Gordineer