The Human Risk

keyboard and mouse

What if I told you that the biggest cyber threat to your organization originates from the day the Earth was created? You might laugh and tell me I’m wrong and that this cannot be since cyber was not even a concept back then. Duh. Well there is nothing technological to this threat. Humans. Heard of them? Yes, your employees are the most likely cause of your organization’s IT security breaches. This might be like founding out Santa isn’t real all over again if you are someone who has close relationships with your staff, but unfortunately this is the case. If you’re reading this, you might already know that humans are the biggest cause of concern for 90-95% of IT leaders. But you might not. So, by the time you have finished reading this you will be aware of just how irresponsible humans can be. Of course, some are not just irresponsible and act deliberately. According to a 2017 Kaspersky report, around 5% of all cyber security attacks were carried out by internal staff with malicious intent, whereas 23% were due to careless/uninformed employees. But surely you have hired people who you believe are responsible and experienced at their job? Well I should hope so, but when it comes to cybersecurity a lot of people are uneducated on the issue. This may be the result of a lack of training, or by copious amounts of pages containing regulations and rules concerning cybersecurity that a) your employees do not want to read and b) if they do, it is be too technical to actually comprehend. This lack of knowledge can cause a great deal of damage to your organization. Just under half of cybersecurity attacks in 2016 were contributed to by careless/uninformed staff and 53% of malware attacks were also due to contributions by careless/uninformed staff.

But carelessness is not your only problem. Those pages and pages of regulation I mentioned? This might be the reason your organization is being attacked. A paradox at first glance, but overwhelming staff with regulation can scare them into hiding incidents due to fear of being reprimanded. 40% of businesses around the world have employees which hide an incident when it happens meaning you won’t know about it until you need to know about it and, by then, it might be too late.

But no, you tell yourself, you are a cool boss who is relaxed and doesn’t overwhelm your employees. In fact, you’re pretty lax and even allow them to use their own devices. Rooky error. This is a key vulnerability within your organization. Numerous incidents occur because of BYOD implementation, such as the lack of control on your employees’ devices, lost devices, sharing company data and information and the list goes on. Sure, allowing your employees to use their own devices might be appealing as it cuts costs for you, but in the long run the cost of data breaches might be much more than just suppling the organization with devices.

So how can you combat this? You can’t fix someone’s brain to be less careless. Ah if only we could…the world would be a better place. But you can increase security policy enforcement. With only 44% of companies having their employees following their security policies properly, there needs to be action taken to increase this number. Train, train, train and train again. Your employees probably don’t even know the extent of the damage they can do to your organization. Let them know just how scary they can be! But because we can’t always rely on other people, an alternative, which is favored by 43% of businesses, is to use more sophisticated IT security software. Yes, another hole in your wallet. But at least you can put a price on it. What is the price of your security being breached? That’s right, you can never know until it happens, so it’s probably better to prevent it than to mitigate it.

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