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Human error remains one of the leading causes of data breaches

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Regardless of how much a business invests in cybersecurity, its empire can always come crumbling down because of a single human error.

That’s why it is crucial to have all your employees on the same page when it comes to cybersecurity matters.

The latest data shows that human error was the cause of 27% of data breaches in the US this year.That’s right — over a quarter of data breaches happen because of employee’s lack of knowledge and awareness. If you are not questioning whether your business is at risk of suffering the same consequences, you should be.

Recent Data Breaches Caused by Human Error

One of the most notable errors that took place recently happened at LinkedIn. It affected millions of people only because someone at the company failed to update the certificate. When LinkedIn’s SSL certificate for some of its domains in the US expired, the company failed to replace it, which led to a massive hoax.

Millions of users weren’t able to log in and access their data on the platform for several hours. The event also made us.linkedin.com domain unavailable for a longer period of time. It affected other subdomains as well. Luckily, LinkedIn’s team reacted quickly and fixed their error as soon as it was possible.

It was a major opportunity for hackers to jump in and take over. Uncontrolled certificates make for an excellent opportunity to do so. Sophisticated cybercriminals can use expired certificates to impersonate the company or gain unauthorized access for malicious purposes.

Another breach that was caused by a human error affected a large number of customers in 2018. The company mismanaged its data and exposed an entire database filled with customer records. The problem was poor password management. It resulted in the exposure of over 200 gigabytes worth of customer data. It included email addresses, names, and IP addresses as well.

4 Significant Errors That Lead to Breaches

Human error can impact even the most robust security networks out there. Here are the four most common mistakes that have led to data breaches recently:

#1 Weak Password Management

If your business doesn’t have a password management policy in place, then employees can go about itany way they want. After all, not all employees take time out of their day to educate themselves on mobile and desktop security. The chances are, they’re not aware of how vital password management is.

Poor password management habits include:

  • lack of strong passwords,
  • using default credentials,
  • storing passwords on sticky notes or in other non-encrypted forms.

It can lead to unwanted consequences for your security system.

Employees shouldn’t be using default credentials. Also, they shouldn’t store passwords in non-encrypted files, or mix their personal and business devices. Policies of the company should enforce using strong passwords and storing them in a password manager instead.

#2 Careless Handling of Sensitive Data

Employees who work long hours are likely going to slip up and make a few mistakes here and there. While this is all normal, it is crucial to make sure all your employees are handling sensitive data with enough care and attention. Sometimes, the lack of awareness about potential security threats can lead to carelessness at the workplace.

Some of the most common mistakes include:

  • accidentally deleting sensitive files,
  • sending emails to wrong addresses,
  • not keeping backups,
  • not encrypting sensitive data.

Employees should be more aware of the importance of handling sensitive data with care. It is essential to encrypt and back up important files before it is too late.

#3 Using Old or Unauthorized Software

An outdated piece of software is any hacker’s best friend. Software downloaded from unauthorized sources often contains malware and viruses. Outdated programs also often lack security features.

You should stay away from programs offered on suspicious websites and sources. Make sure to raise awareness among the employees about the importance of keeping all systems and applications up to date.

#4 Lacking Cybersecurity Knowledge

Most of the time, employees focus on their work, so they don’t pay much attention to online security measures and procedures. That’s why each business should have a dedicated security team in place. That team should be in charge of educating other employees and enforcing cybersecurity practices.

The lack of cybersecurity knowledge is the most common reason why employees make critical errors. Uneducated employees can cause a crisis within any organization, regardless of its size or industry. After all, those who don’t know much about cybersecurity are more likely to open infected files, click on phishing links, and rely on public WiFi.

4 Enterprise-Level Solutions to Reduce Human Error

Now that you know the most common human errors, here are four solutions that will help you keep your company safe:

  1. Start by updating your corporate security policy. This document is crucial for maintaining enterprise security. It should contain important information on security procedures. It will help your employees stay on track with all security events.
  2. Educate all employees on topics related to cybersecurity, regardless of their position at the company. Whoever has access to the company’s data and devices should be aware of the consequences of specific
  3. Restrict employees’ access to data by establishing a privileged access system. Only allow access to those areas of the network that the employee needs to get their job done. The fewer files they can access, the less likely they are going to expose the company to risk.
  4. Enforce using cybersecurity software solutions. Download free encryption software, subscribe to a virtual private network service, and install an antivirus as well as other security software.

Time to Move Forward

We’re heading into 2020, which means new security threats are around the corner. Take this time to prepare your company for the upcoming year and all the challenges it might bring. It includes educating your employees on the importance of cybersecurity, as well as implementing other measures to reduce human error.



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