The unintentional action, or lack of action, by users that results in the cause, spreading or allowing of a security breach is known as human error. Human error has been estimated to cause 95 percent of cyber security breaches, according to a study by IBM. Knowing this should make preventing it a high priority for your organization. However, since such a large spectrum of actions can fall under the human-error umbrella it can be quite challenging to address.
The sophisticated work environment is accompanied by an increasing number of tools and services that require usernames and passwords that users must remember. If not given alternative and secure solutions, employees are prone to taking shortcuts to make things more convenient. Additionally, the pressures that come with the constant threat of cyber criminals affecting their decision making can also take a toll. Social engineering has been utilized by bad actors which manipulates employees into handing data over to criminals without them having to write a line of malware program or software exploit. These few examples illustrate how human error can open the door for a breach. While security training is not a silver bullet, it can greatly reduce the chance of an issue occurring when deployed correctly.
Human error is often broken down into two categories: skill-based errors and decision-based errors. Skill-based errors happen during a routine task or activities. While the user knows how they should proceed, a temporary slip in judgement results in an opportunity for a cyber security breach. On the other hand, decision-based errors happen when insufficient information about a specific action or task is had by the user, resulting in a faulty decision.
Common forms of human error include using weak passwords or storing them in unsafe places, using outdated/unauthorized software, falling for phishing emails by opening infected links or attachments, using public Wi-Fi without the safety of a VPN or plugging in unsafe devices such as unknown USBs. Improper handling of sensitive data, including deleting sensitive files, sending sensitive data to unintended recipients and not backing up important data, are also regularly made mistakes.
Human error can occur due to tiredness, being distracted, an unsettling environment where there is not enough privacy, and too much noise or extreme temperatures. With that being said, preaching awareness through cyber security training and creating a culture where cyber security is prioritized can go a long way towards cleaning up human error.
Traditionally, security awareness training involved hours of lectures and slideshows at annual sessions. The hope was that users would remember all the material and if not, at least the “educating users” box could be checked off for businesses. This method does not work, and everybody hates it. In order to see results, companies must reduce the opportunity for error in addition to improving the decision-making processes of end users as part of a comprehensive mitigation effort.
Strong programs must meet certain criteria and genuinely engage users in order to be effective. For starters, material must be broken down into segments that can be easily absorbed at a time without being overwhelming. This, in return, supplies the benefit of continuous learning so users are getting repetitive security awareness training instead of a one-time deal. Also, relevant material must be used to keep users engaged and avoid loss of interest. The advice given must be practical so users can walk away with actual steps that can be put to use immediately in their daily work life—this helps build memory and can be accomplished using phishing simulations, for example.
Text-based content can grow old quickly and should only be used when complemented by more engaging visual content, such as humorous videos and question/answer sections that give users a sense of achievement for completing a course. Above all, factors outside the training itself may be the most important. To ensure security awareness training effectiveness it must be part of a culture where security is consistently given the consideration it requires and users are encouraged to ask questions and voice concerns.
Effective cyber security training often includes:
- Social engineering
- Physical security
- Cloud security
- Internet & email use
- Public Wi-Fi
- Social media use
- Passwords & authentication
- Working remotely
- Mobile device security
- Security at home
When it comes to choosing the right program, look no further than KnowBe4’s Enterprise Awareness Training Program. Baseline testing is used with engaging interactive web-based training, mock attacks and repetitive assessment through simulated phishing, vishing and smishing attacks to create secure environment that is highly resilient to potential attacks. Make no mistake, your employees will continually be exposed to complex social engineering attacks. With the help of KnowBe4, you can effectively manage this problem with a comprehensive approach that is backed by experts with a technical background. Additionally, interactive modules, videos, games, posters and newsletters combine to form the world’s largest library of security awareness training content. Scheduled reminder emails are also a feature of KnowBe4’s automated training campaigns. High-level and granular stats and graphs ready for management help make up the enterprise-strength reporting of KnowBe4.
ACP CreativIT is happy to help your organization deploy an awareness training program that can significantly cut back on human error. Contact us to talk to one of our experts today or visit our cyber security page here.