Reducing Human Error and Creating a Security-First Culture

Reducing Human Error and Creating a Security-First Culture

Whether or not you’re aware of it, your employees have a reputation in the cyber community. Most hackers and malicious actors regard them as easy targets.

Meaning that for all the resources your company may put into security software and training, the human element remains a bit of a wild card. Be it an honest mistake, disregard for the rules, or outright deception, insider threats are everywhere.

Businesses hoping to strengthen this weak link must cultivate a company-wide cyber awareness that increases their security posture one person at a time.

Main Branches of Insider Threats

The numbers don’t lie. According to research out of Stanford University, “approximately 88% of all data breaches are caused by an employee mistake. Human error is still very much the driving force behind an overwhelming majority of cybersecurity problems,” says Influencive.

Break that troubling statistic down even further and there are at least three distinct patterns that begin to emerge.

  • Employee negligence. Mistakes and carelessness are the most typical type of threats. A common example? An employee accidentally attaches an incorrect file to an email. This alone causes 6 out of 10 security incidents.
  • Credential targeting. Phishing schemes turn employees into prey, clocking their credentials as the ultimate target. These stolen logins account for about 25% of all incidents.
  • Malicious insider. Researcher and security experts Deep Secure found that for the right price, 45% of employees would be willing to sell corporate info to people outside their organization – and 5% would do it for free.

Once you are able to recognize the main types of insider threats, it’s easy to see why simple training or security awareness may be insufficient.

Checklist for Building a Security-Minded Culture

Establishing a company culture oriented around security means cultivating a shared sense of responsibility, a belief that employees and IT teams must work in tandem to keep the organization safe.

If you want to build on this approach, experts recommend engaging in the following steps to create a more company-wide sense of vigilance:

  1. Get leadership’s support. Show buy-in at the highest levels and let decisions around security-focused communications, budgets, and roles come from the top.
  2. Consistently nurture and maintain it. Stay committed with long-term security training that’s as dynamic as ever-shifting cyber crimes are.
  3. Support attitude shifts. Focus on cooperation and collaboration between your staff and IT teams to foster a culture of compulsory compliance.
  4. Foster shared responsibility. Employees need to understand where the onus is on them to stay safe instead of just seeing that as a job for IT.
  5. Encourage peer accountability. For company security to become the norm, you may need to reinforce safety values via advocate, social, and peer support.
  6. Focus on time over budgets. Cybersecurity is a time commitment. Since it’s a resource that can’t be regenerated, make sure IT and staff are using theirs to learn about impactful prevention and reaction methods that really move the needle.

Leave Room for Human Risk Management (HRM)

“Human Risk Management (HRM) is the new class of user-focused security that empowers businesses to understand, reduce, and monitor their employee cyber risk,” explains

HRM deals with four main components including: promoting secure employee behavior, enhancing security processes, minimizing phishing vulnerability, and mitigating external threats.

Cyber threats are evolving in complexity and frequency. As they advance, tools like HRM coupled with a unified, security-first company culture are becoming increasingly vital. And while training has its role, the broader goal is promoting secure employee behavior that’s more like second nature – for everyone.


Content created and provided by ONEAFFINITI.