Human error is an unfortunate thing that we’ll never truly be able to avoid. People make mistakes. Indeed, human error accounted for 90% of the data breached in 2019 and that figure continues to rise year-on-year.
According to Oz Alashe, CEO of CybSafe: “It’s almost always a human error that enables attackers to access encrypted channels and sensitive information. Staff can make a variety of mistakes that put their company’s data or systems at risk, often because they lack the knowledge or motivation to act securely, or simply because they accidentally slip up.”
In February this year (2021), there was a major ransomware attack against the Accellion cloud service provider. But that was just one of many attacks. Indeed, there were 118 cyber breaches in February alone this year. Alongside the Accellion breach, the Oxford University COVID-19 was also hacked by a cyber gang, the Foxtons estate agency accidentally leaked thousands of customer financial records and Npower completely shut down its app after a major breach.
With the average cost of a data breach also rising 12% in the last five years, the tech sector is taking measures to ensure their budgets allow for the investment of specialized technology insurance. But what are the human errors that cause the most damage and what could your business be doing to mitigate them?
It might sound a little ridiculous, but weak passwords are one of the primary causes for data breaches even today. This is why all businesses should have additional security measures like two-factor authentication in place. They should also enforce the concept of not using personal passwords in the workplace. Avoid passwords containing corporate data and store all passwords securely. As a rule of thumb always think “the more random, the better.”
Handling sensitive data
In a modern business, an employee might be tasked with handling thousand of GB worth of data every day. With this kind of data fatigue, there’s bound to be a few elements that slip through the cracks due to tiredness or indifference, not to mention lack of knowledge. Employees could accidentally delete sensitive data, remove important files or send emails to the wrong participants. These are the kind of errors it’s a little harder to iron out but with practice, you will get better.
If you haven’t updated your software in a while, have disabled security features for convenience or have downloaded some unauthorised software onto the company network recently, you might have laid the groundwork for a breach. The best way to prevent this is to employ an IT manager to take charge and ensure everything is up to date and in the best possible shape.
Lack of knowledge
Finally, perhaps the most common cause of data breaches, in general, is a basic lack of cybersecurity knowledge. Things like employees using personal devices for work, using public Wi-Fi with no VPN and clicking on suspicious emails often lead to major breaches. The solution here is simple – education, education, education!
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