Quite often when people think of cybersecurity they think of a team of hackers hidden away in a basement in some far flung country. And while this scenario might be possible, the fact is that it’s a company’s own employees who are the biggest threat to the cybersecurity of a business. And those employees probably don’t even realize it. When it comes to the breach of protective firewalls, software patches and secure information it’s the humans who use these systems who are the biggest threat – not the systems themselves. So, why are humans the weakest link in cybersecurity and what can be done about it? In this article we’ll answer these questions and more.
The simple answer to this question is that humans are fallible. And because of that fact, hackers realize that the easiest way to gain access to their targets is to focus on and exploit human nature. In this day and age of multitasking, just-in-time production methods and highly pressurized work environments, all it takes is a single mistake or a moment of distraction by a harried employee for the floodgates to be opened. It’s also important to realize that the problem may not actually be that group of hackers in that basement on the other side of the world. Increasingly it’s the trusted employees themselves who are responsible for espionage and shady activities. When it comes to a computer system, it will only do what it’s programmed to do. But when it comes to people, absolutely anything can happen.
Besides getting rid of humans altogether, there are many things that can be done to increase cybersecurity in the modern company. Increased cybersecurity is also becoming increasingly important – as much for companies who handle sensitive information that belongs to their customers as it is for companies who deal in proprietary knowledge and ideas.
A strong cybersecurity defence includes both technological and human fortification. While training and education are important when it comes to human resilience against cyberattacks, when pitted against supercomputers and experienced hackers, the average employee who’s just trying to do their job is no match. Anti-fraud technology can help nudge employee behavior towards best practice compliance. It can even circumvent human error and detect when internal malicious activities are occurring. Anti-fraud technology minimizes the risk created by human error or malfeasance by reducing the dependence on individual accountability.
Even with anti-fraud technology, it’s undesirable, if not impossible, to eliminate human participation altogether. For this reason, it’s important to create a cybersecure culture within the company to ensure that best practices regarding security compliance become second nature. This is achieved not only through education and training, but by incentivising and rewarding cybersecure behavior. Appointing cybersecurity advocates in each department, starting from the top, can instill a cyber secure culture by communicating the importance of cybersecurity and feeding back the effectiveness of the initiatives.
Regardless of the type of cybersecurity initiatives in place, they need to be tested and analyzed for effectiveness. Putting in place a system that hasn’t been proven to be effective will ultimately be a waste of effort and money. System tests can help people and companies understand the risks and feel prepared to defend against them. Testing should be constant and continually updated. If there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that criminals will never stop honing their skills. And neither should your company.
Partnering with a Managed Service Provider like MBC ensures that your business is protected by comprehensive threat monitoring and detection. Our team of cybersecurity experts are abreast on the latest emerging threats and deliver real-time responses to critical alerts within your business network. Get a free assessment today and find out how you can keep your business secure.