Organizations, large and small, are made up of people. Sure, there are computers, machines, devices, and software involved as well, but at the core of a business, there are people. They are receiving emails, installing software, and handling sensitive company data. They are also a target for cybercriminals and cyberattacks and could be your weakest link when it comes to cybersecurity. It’s called the human factor, and it should be a big consideration for your business’s cybersecurity planning and program.
Cybersecurity And The Human Factor
Humans are not machines. They make mistakes, forget things, and even avoid doing something simply because it will conflict with the task they are currently involved in. In other words, they can thwart your cybersecurity plans inadvertently…and sometimes intentionally. Consider these examples of how the human factor creates a giant hole in cybersecurity measures:
- Sending a quick company email from a non-protected personal mobile device
- Losing a company device, or a personal device that has accesses company information, for example, company email)
- Skipping the “install updates” message that pops up in the middle of a big project
- Turning off anti-malware protection software, even if it was an accident
- Re-using passwords to make logging on to business-related apps and tools faster
- Skimming the latest cybersecurity email sent by the business they work for
- Excitedly posting a company photo to social media without checking it over for potential cyber attack opportunities
- Hiding a cyber breach
Frankly, these types of examples are likely occurring weekly, or even daily, in many businesses. And when you layer in the number of employees that are working for a business, the cybersecurity picture can look pretty bleak. But it doesn’t have to be. Understanding the human factor as it relates to cybersecurity, can help your business strengthen its cyber defenses.
Strengthen Your Cyber Defenses
A cybersecurity policy is an important first step, but it’s not a catch-all scenario. A policy will never be able to document all possible situations that could occur. And, if it did, no one would be able to read and retain all of that information. Rather than trying to cram everything into one giant cybersecurity policy, consider instead highlighting the major components and supplement with cybersecurity training and good old-fashioned people engagement.
Everyone learns differently and at a different pace. Utilize training to discuss current cyber attack scenarios, how to combat threats, and what to do when faced with a potential attack. And remember that training should be a two-way street. Be prepared to have discussions with employees about threats they may have encountered, how the current I.T. security policy impacts their daily work, and why these trainings are crucial.
Be overworked or overloaded can lead to accidental errors, which could create a risky situation for an organization. For example, an employee that is inundated with emails all day long may be more prone to opening and clicking on a phishing email. Understand employee workloads, learn to spot the signs of a stressed employee, and offload projects if/when possible. This can not only help an employee stay sharp when it comes to cyber attacks but can also enhance employee satisfaction.
Share Information on Cyber Attacks
Cyber attacks happen, and employees need to know this. They need to know the type of attack, where it originated, and if the attack was successful or not. Sharing this information helps make cybersecurity real in the eyes of your employees and takes cyber attacks out of the “it won’t happen to me/us” category. Actual occurrences help employees understand that threats are real.
Reward Positive Cybersecurity Activity
Oftentimes, company meetings, employee reviews, and company celebrations highlight productivity and performance. Why not include positive cybersecurity activity as well? Incorporating positive activity not only demonstrates the importance of cybersecurity but also aligns cybersecurity with other meaningful data points. And, if you think about it, one cyber attack could wipe out the benefits of productivity and performance quickly.
Incorporate An Endpoint Security Solution
Yes, we still need the software and tools to back us up. Adding an endpoint security solution helps protect the “endpoints” in your organization – laptops, desktops, and mobile devices. These endpoints can serve as an access point that could be exploited by cybercriminals. Layering in endpoint security helps protect against malicious attacks.
Mistakes happen. But, by incorporating the Human-Focused Security measures outlined above, your organization can increase its defenses against cyber attacks.
Do you want to know how your Human Security measures up? Of course, you do! Click here for your FREE, no-obligation Human Security Assessment. Our virtual service scans your networks and the dark web, building a picture of how secure your employee’s online behavior really is.