The human factor in IT security compromise and its mitigation

January 25, 2022
min read

Look at the following statistics on insider threats. There are over 2,500 internal security breaches in the US every single day.  

The impact of insider threats affects more than 34% of businesses globally.  Within the last 2 years, the increase in such incidents has gone up by 47%. The cost to businesses surpassed $2.7 million in 2020. 

Yet, employees are not the only threat when it comes to cybersecurity. Lax systems within the organization have a big role to play. 

Companies that do not realize the importance of cybersecurity do not invest in securing their networks and systems. The IT specialists may not keep up with system updates, and so much more.  

Our article looks at the human factor in IT security compromise and its mitigation, let’s see what we uncover below.  

Lack of proper investment in security features 

Do you know that only 14% of small businesses have trust in their security measures?  A staggering 47% do not have any idea of how to protect themselves against attacks. 

IT security

Out of every 4 businesses, 3 do not have the personnel to deal with IT security. System failures and human error account for up to 52% of data breaches. 

There is almost a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to cyber and data security. As long as you have not felt the impact, there is nothing to worry about.  

Yet there are plenty of measures a company can take to protect itself. The most basic is to install the necessary measures. Such include antivirus, antimalware, and anti-ransomware. The IT specialists must also enforce the use of firewalls. 

And, additional layers of security like Blazing SEO ISP proxies can increase cyber security. Take the example of residential proxies. They assign a real IP address from the Internet Service Provider (ISP) as your proxy IP address. They are more secure than data center proxy servers. 

The company enjoys online anonymity, thus keeping everyone safe from cybercriminals. And, the proxies are also ideal for web scraping and access to geo-restricted content. 

Because the ISP provider ties the residential proxies to actual locations and devices, there are fewer chances of bans from remote servers.  

Employee actions 

We shared some interesting statistics on insider threats in the introduction. Employees can put a company at risk, whether consciously or unconsciously. A simple act like clicking on an email link can open up areas of vulnerability. 

The same applies to the use of devices and apps that are not secure. For example, research shows that 53% of employees use consumer messaging apps to discuss work-related matters. Visiting untrustworthy sites or sharing links is also a major source of cyber threats.

IT security

The company has to take the right measures to ensure the reduction in insider threats. The premise is quite simple. An important element in data protection and security is humans.  

Some effective measures include:

  • Investing in training opportunities for all employees around cyber security. They should know the right way to use the online platform. It is also important to teach them how to identify and react to cyber threats. 
  • Creating a culture of cyber awareness within the organization.  No one should look at it as a role that lies squarely in the hands of The IT Department. 
  • Investing in proper communication technology. Security-oriented solutions like Rocket.Chat enable employees to exchange work-related information without compromising data security or user experience.
  • Having proper data management and handling policies in place. This is especially critical due to the rise in remote working. 
  • Develop a cybersecurity policy that guides any online activities.  
  • Adopting zero-trust policies or assigning user privileges depending on the job role. 
  • Establishing clear ways of communicating security breaches.  

An environment where everyone understands their role in cyber security can significantly reduce the number of attacks. 

Mitigating against human errors 

Human error with regards to cyber security comes down to one basic principle. Did the individual have the necessary knowledge to perform the right action?

Let’s take the example of that employee who clicks on an email link. Did he know that such an action could open the gates for cybercriminals?  

Someone could have the knowledge and still make errors due to negligence or a lapse in judgment. Lack of sufficient knowledge can result in errors when it comes to decision-making. 

Let's go back to the example of remote workers. Could they be using their own internet-connected devices for communication and work purposes? Without the right security measures, it can place the company at risk. 

An option would be to introduce the use of secure messaging apps like Rocket.Chat. Such provide a safe way to communicate, without exposing the organization to vulnerabilities.  

We have already talked about some effective measures in the point above. We can agree that investing in employee training and awareness-raising is critical. 

Other mitigation measures can help reduce incidences of attacks. These include:

  • Strong password and multi-factor authentication. Most people are pretty lazy when it comes to passwords. QWERTY, 123456, 0000, or important dates continue to reign. Yet, these are some of the least challenging combinations for hackers. 
  • Ignoring the important role of running updates. Such provide patches to vulnerabilities. Yet, many people would rather not deal with the inconvenience.  
  • Ensure physical safety for persons and devices. That includes denying access to unauthorized persons within the building. It is easy for someone to steal a laptop or mobile phone and use it to gain entry.
  • Ensuring everyone understands regulations around data privacy.   
  • Reducing the opportunity for human error to occur is vital. It can go a long way in reducing the incidences of cyber-attacks.  

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Final thoughts 

Human beings contribute quite significantly to cyber insecurity. It could be a conscious or unconscious act on their part. The latter typically arises from a lack of knowledge or inattention.  

Mitigating cyber insecurity should be a pre-emptive rather than reactive process. It starts with identifying potential areas of vulnerability. Take the example of insider threats. The company should pay more attention to what employees are doing online. 

There is also a need to invest in the right training. But, it goes so much farther than just training.  It is important to build a culture of awareness and the need for cybersecurity. 

Everyone must play an active role in ensuring safety while online. It requires modeling or changing behavior to one of greater consciousness, and always being mindful to take the right action. 

Find out more about data protection solutions built into Rocket.Chat or schedule a call to find out more.

Author Bio

Daniel Martin loves building winning content teams. Over the past few years, he has built high-performance teams that have produced engaging content enjoyed by millions of users. Dani also enjoys photography and playing the carrom board.

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