Human error can be devastating to your company’s cybersecurity. Despite modern security solutions and corporate policies, employees still make many mistakes that lead to data breaches, including sending data to incorrect recipients via email, accidentally emailing docs with private data, publishing classified data on public websites by mistake and misconfiguring files to allow for unwanted access inadvertently.
While the cost of a breach caused by human error or system failure is usually lower than the cost of a breach caused by a hacker or a malicious insider, you still shouldn’t underestimate the consequences of employee negligence. According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost of inadvertent breaches from human error is $3.5 million.
According to the report, employee or contractor negligence is the root cause of 24% of data breaches. These human errors are commonly made by insiders who may be compromised by phishing attacks or have their devices infected, lost, or stolen. The average cost of human error resulting from these kinds of cybersecurity incidents is $133 per occurrence, and it takes companies about 242 days on average to identify and resolve any issues.
How Do Hackers Pierce a Company’s Human Shield?
Using Weak Passwords
Far too many people still allow hackers to easily access accounts by not putting enough effort into creating a unique series of characters. Ensuring a reliable password policy seems like such a simple thing to do, but unfortunately, we are still seeing far too many cases of easily discovered passwords being exploited.
Carelessly Handling of Sensitive Data
Employees work with a massive amount of data every day, which makes it likely that mistakes due to negligence, tiredness, lack of knowledge about cybersecurity threats, and not understanding the data’s value are likely to be made. Other issues that commonly arise include accidentally deleting essential files with sensitive data or security information; sending emails with sensitive data to the wrong recipients; sharing sensitive data with colleagues using secured messengers; using unsecured email attachments when sending sensitive data; and not backing up critical data.
Lacking Knowledge of Basic Cybersecurity
Most employees are so focused on their work that they don’t show as much regard for security procedures as they need to.
During the WannaCry ransomware epidemic, the human factor assumed a significant function in making organizations overall defenseless. While Microsoft had released system updates to close the vulnerability that allowed WannaCry ransomware to propagate to computers, numerous organizations worlwide still hadn’t applied the update to their systems.
With non-IT staff being the most vulnerable connection: for instance, employees with local admin rights disabled security solutions on their computers and allowed the WannaCry infection to spread from their computer onto the whole corporate network.
Employees that aren’t educated about major Internet security rules can cause a real cybersecurity crisis in your organization. Companies should offer regular training and security updates to all employees periodically.