In the context of cybersecurity, ‘human error’ means “unintentional actions - or lack of action - by employees and users that cause, spread or allow a security breach to take place.”
As employees rely on more and more tools and platforms (all requiring usernames and passwords) the potential for human error grows. When not provided with easy, secure solutions, employees start taking shortcuts to make life simpler for themselves.
The error could be as simple as reusing passwords, not using a strong password, or unknowingly downloading a malware-infected email attachment.
According to the IBM Cyber Security Intelligence Index Report, 95% of cyber security breaches are caused by human error. And the average cost of cyber security breaches caused by human error is $3.33 million according to the Cost of a Data Breach Report 2020 by IBM.
In other words, if human error were somehow eliminated, 19 out of 20 cyber breaches wouldn’t occur at all!
Types of human error
Most human errors can be categorized into two different types: skill-based and decision-based errors. The difference between the two is whether or not the person had the required knowledge to perform the correct action.
- Skill-based errors: small mistakes that happen when performing familiar tasks. In these cases, the person knows what the correct action is, but due to a temporary lapse, or negligence, fails to do so, perhaps because the employee is distracted, tired, or not paying attention.
- Decision-based errors: occur when a user does not have enough information or knowledge about the specific circumstance. Or, through their inaction, they don’t realize that they’re making a decision.
Knowledge is Power: Reduce human error with effective security awareness training.
Much of human error happens when end-users don’t know what the correct action is in the first place. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure their employees have the necessary training and skills to keep the business and themselves secure.
This is why the first step we take with every new IT client is an in-depth assessment of the company's security, equipment, software, and organizational roles. It is essential that we understand your company’s roles and responsibilities around IT in order to assign role-based access and to help us identify potential operational risks, liabilities, and inefficiencies.
Prioritize a security-conscious work culture
If employees don’t understand what the risks are, and what the correct action should be, they will continue to make mistakes. Therefore, the best way to eliminate human error is to eliminate opportunities for error to occur in the first place. It’s essential that your company creates a security-conscious culture by offering regular cybersecurity trainings as part of your comprehensive defense strategy.
1. Reduce the opportunities for error
- Role-Based Access: Users should only have access to the data and functions they need to perform their jobs. If a user commits an error that leads to a breach, this will limit the amount of information that’s exposed.
- Password management: Password-related mistakes are the most common human error and are easily avoidable by requiring a password manager app. The additional use of two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection to your accounts.
2. Schedule regular security trainings
- Educate your employees on cybersecurity basics and best practices to help them make better decisions, and encourage them to ask questions when they’re not sure.
- Security awareness training should be offered throughout the year to keep policies top of mind and to encourage a security-conscious mindset.
The right IT provider can transform employees into your first line of defense
95% of breaches are caused by human error, which means that prioritizing end-user education can have an enormous impact on reducing risk.
While human error may be the greatest security risk to your organization, the right IT provider can help you implement proper employee training, data management, and WFH policies that will protect business continuity — and ensure your employees can work safely and efficiently no matter where they’re connecting from. With adequate policies and training, Techmenity can turn your employees into your first line of defense against any cyberattack or breach.
Techmenity’s proactive approach to IT services will help your company minimize the risk of human error through education and implementing IT security policies that reduce the opportunity for error.
Contact us to schedule a discovery call or read the posts linked below to learn more about Techmenity’s IT services.
This article is part of our Hybrid Workplace series: