Employees occasionally make mistakes without taking into account how dangerous they can be for the cyber security of the organization. Human errors were the cause of 21% of data breaches in 2018, according to the Verizon Data Violation Investigation Report for 2019.
How dangerous are human errors for your cyber security?
Despite all security solutions and corporate policies, employees still make mistakes that can lead to data breaches such as:
• Send valuable data to incorrect recipients by email
• Accidentally send documents by email with confidential data
• Publish confidential data on public websites by mistake
• Incorrectly configure assets to allow unwanted access
The Ponemon Institute’s 2019 data violation cost report, based on interviews with companies that experienced a data breach between July 2018 and April 2019, found that the average cost of involuntary human error violations is $ 3.5 million.
According to Ponemon’s study, negligence of employees or contractors is the main cause of 24% of data breaches. For the most part, these human errors are committed by the so-called “unnoticed informants” who may be compromised either by; for phishing attacks, infected, lost or stolen devices. The average cost of human error in cyber security is $ 133 per record. And organizations take about 242 days to identify and resolve a problem related to such unnoticed actions.
Now, let’s highlight four important employee safety mistakes.
1. Use weak passwords
A password management policy is essential for all organizations. Whether or not a company uses additional security measures, such as two-factor authentication to improve access to confidential data, it must establish clear rules on the use of secure passwords and define procedures to properly manage, store and share passwords.
Ensuring a reliable password policy is essential for data protection.
2. Careless handling of confidential data
When employees work with a large amount of data every day, they are likely to make mistakes that lead to data leaks. The main reasons for this are negligence, fatigue, lack of knowledge about cyber security threats and lack of understanding of the value of the data.
The most common and dangerous mistakes that employees make when handling data are:
• Accidentally delete essential files with confidential data or security information
• Delete files on purpose without understanding their importance
• Send emails with confidential data to the wrong recipients
• Accidentally make changes to documents by carelessness
• Share confidential data with colleagues who use unsecured messages
• Send attachments in unsecured email when sending confidential data
• Do not back up critical data
3. Use of outdated or unauthorized software
Outdated software is a hacker’s best friend,as it has known vulnerabilities and can be easily exploited.
Unfortunately, employees often help cyber criminals compromise confidential data by:
• Ignore software updates.
• Disable security features.
• Download unauthorized software.
4. Lack of knowledge about cyber security
Most employees are fully focused on their work and do not care too much about safety procedures. But employees who are not educated about the main Internet security rules can cause a true cyber security crisis in their organization.
Let’s take a look at several mistakes that employees make due to lack of cyber security knowledge:
• Follow suspicious email links and attachments
• Use of personal devices for work purposes.
• Use of public Wi-Fi without a VPN.
• Use of insecure USB devices.
• Make unauthorized changes to the system
Best practices to prevent human errors
Employee error prevention is the best strategy for those who wish to keep their critical data safe. The only way to mitigate human errors in cyber security is to use a complex holistic strategy to prevent internal threats and improve your cyber security.
By employing the following practices and solutions, you can effectively protect your company from employee safety errors:
• Update your corporate security policy.
• Educate your employees.
• Use the principle of least privilege.
• Monitor your employees.