Human error is still a highly dangerous threat in the realm of IT, specifically in cybersecurity, as many businesses find out the hard way.
Between hybrid working, SaaS (software as a service) solutions, and a general increased reliance on the online world, companies that fail to implement preventative measures often fall short of the mark when it comes to protecting some of their most valuable assets: data and digital content.
No matter how tight your IT security system is, human error can still prove to be one of the biggest weaknesses in the armor.
Thankfully, there are ways to go about reducing the odds of human error causing an issue, and in most cases, it starts by revisiting the digital skills that your individual team members possess.
If you feel like you could be doing more to mitigate the chances of human error in your own business, here are some suggestions you may want to take a look at.
It’s important to take note of which of your staff members has access to which part of your IT infrastructure.
Carefully assigned permissions are important in keeping your data safe and secure in the right hands. For example, you wouldn’t want an untrained member of staff accessing highly sensitive files that they’re not cleared to handle.
Setting clear permissions that correlate to your employees’ capability levels is a good way to go. This can be a highly complex topic, both in a practical sense and ethically speaking, so you may want to check out a detailed guide on how to control overprivileged identities for some much greater insight.
Training is a core component of the modern workplace. Without regular training, your employees will likely struggle to keep their skillsets sharpened.
This leads to a range of detrimental workplace factors, such as a dip in productivity, process effectiveness, overall job satisfaction, and security.
Digital skills training can help close up a digital skills gap your workforce might be experiencing (it’s incredibly common), which could raise cybersecurity awareness and reduce human error across the board.
Training doesn’t have to leave you out of pocket either, as there are many online learning platforms aimed specifically at businesses worth checking out, and they can be completed with ease.
Encourage Safe Online Use
Good examples often come from the top, so if you can encourage safe online use and represent this with your senior staff members, the rest of your team should follow suit in time.
This means practicing your own online safety skills, be it learning to recognize fraudulent websites, choosing strong passwords, spotting spam emails, or a range of other common threats; the greater your individual understanding of cyber-hygiene, the easier preventing human error becomes.
It’s important to note that human error is still the cause of most data breaches, and bad passwords are a large contributing factor to this.
You can use password management tools to help you keep track of your passwords and make sure your employees regularly change their passwords (at least once a month).
The same goes for any entry points into your company system – changing passwords regularly is essential. For an extra layer of password security, a multi-factor authentication system is a must.
Many companies opt to use this kind of system to greatly bolster their security rates. For example, a password may be phished or, if it’s bad, guessed, whereas a randomly generated time-sensitive authentication number will not have the same issue. Combining both to have a multi-factor verification method is a good way of defending against active cybercriminals who seek to exploit human error.
One-time passwords (passwords or codes that are generated every time the individual access your system) can be set up via a reliable security provider, your system provider, or an IT specialist. You can also use various apps to take care of this for you; just make sure you can rely on them first.
This can reduce human error by simply strengthening vulnerable access points. Say an employee has their password discovered by a malicious party – if they aren’t able to bypass the secondary access verification code, you’ve effectively prevented a data breach.
Moreover, if a password is fraudulently obtained, a good security system can detect where that password is being entered from, and steps can be taken to immediately lock down your infrastructure.
The right tools can make all the difference. Outdated hardware or software components can be extremely vulnerable to the overall IT system, so they should be upgraded whenever possible.
Employees working with outdated tools may be more likely to perform errors and missteps in general, as tools can start to malfunction or fail to work effectively over time.
This goes for every aspect of the system, too, from your printers to your browsers and everything in between. Staying updated can empower your employees to operate with the tools they need to carry out their online responsibilities in safety.
Moreover, if your employees are uncomfortable with the tech you currently have in place, you’ll need to address this issue. This might be fixable through training, but in some cases, it might involve switching to a different system.
It’s important to consult an IT expert before you make any big changes, especially if you hope to keep downtime to a minimum.
The more comfortable employees are with using tech, the easier they should find it to stay safe online.
Get to Know Your System
Where is your system most vulnerable to human error? In which areas of work do your team members need more training? Where have breaches happened before? The more you know about your system, the easier it is to come up with a preventative approach that works best for your company.
Regular system assessments and monitoring is a must in this regard, so make sure you come up with a checklist and get everyone working on the same page. Unity and awareness can be powerful allies in the workplace.