The human factor in data security breaches
The ‘human factor’ has been recognized as the weakest link in building a safe and secure digital environment. Organizations continually experience data breach incidents, even though there is an excess of research on Information Security. Irrespective of any technological solutions introduced, human factors remain an area that lacks mandatory attention.
Assuming that people will follow prescribed secure communication and behavioral patterns and therefore system security expectations will be fulfilled, may not necessarily be true. Security, especially Data security is not something that can merely be purchased; human factors will always prove to be an important space to explore.
When it comes to data security and protection, the human factor is frequently the most difficult to regulate and forecast. This means that internal risks are a huge (and growing) issue for businesses. The volume of digital data is expanding exponentially as a result of digitalization, as is the number of interactions with the data.
Taking it a step further, increased contact exposes the data to new security flaws. Internal threats pose several concerns, including financial fraud, data corruption, the loss of critical information, and the installation of malware. These occurrences may result in data breaches exposing sensitive information such as Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or Intellectual Property (IP).
Insider threats are cybersecurity hazards that originate within an organization. Users having lawful access to the company's assets, such as current or former employees, contractors, business partners, third-party vendors, and so on, might cause them. Insiders differ greatly in terms of awareness, motive, intent, and access level.
Insider attacks of various types including - Social engineering are on the increase in enterprises of all kinds. Typically, it entails duping someone within the business into making a security error or revealing critical information. Phishing and baiting are two types of social engineering techniques. Malicious actors that engage in social engineering use human emotions such as curiosity or fear and corrupt the information of their targets. Employees who publicly or with unauthorized third parties share private data might generate major concerns. This sort of occurrence is typically caused by carelessness: information is sent to the incorrect email address, a reply all button is pressed instead of a simple reply, and private material is mistakenly shared publicly.
The usage of unapproved devices, software, apps, and services in the workplace is frequently difficult for IT departments to track down, giving rise to the phrase "shadow IT." While shadow IT can boost productivity and foster innovation, it also poses a severe risk to data security. It can result in data breaches, compliance violations, and other issues. Finally, as Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) rules proliferate and mobile devices proliferate, firms face a slew of internal security issues. These include the possibility of data loss due to employee carelessness or malevolent intent. Portable gadgets, particularly USBs, are simple to misplace or steal, despite their convenience.
Employees taking their work laptops or portable devices out of the workplace is becoming more popular. This might occur for a variety of reasons, such as remote work, attending an industry event, or visiting a customer. Work equipment becomes more vulnerable to physical theft and outside interference when they leave the protection of business networks.
To solve this, firms should begin defining guidelines and executing comprehensive insider threat programs to lower risks while maintaining the proper mix of people, procedures, and technology. Being proactive may enable firms to identify hostile insiders and avert data breaches caused by employee carelessness, safeguarding their assets and reputation. Organizations must ensure that all workers are aware of the key asset with which they are working and how they must be managed safely. Employees must be ready to identify phishing and other social media threat vectors, as well as how external attackers may contact them.
Another key part of preventing insider threats is well-stated corporate policies. Enforcing them might also aid in avoiding misunderstandings. Companies should consider placing sensitive data, monitoring data flow, and determining who has access to secret data when designing cybersecurity policies and procedures.
Implementing strong technological controls is another critical element in reducing insider risks. Companies should not rely on a single solution to secure all assets. It is recommended to integrate numerous security measures that boost visibility and maintain track of employee behaviors for an effective insider threat detection approach. Insider threat management tools such as Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software are designed to find sensitive data, handle data loss across many channels, detect violations of data usage policies, and provide corrective steps. By deploying the right tools, enterprises can ensure the security of their sensitive data and compliance.
Filip Cotfas is Channel Manager at CoSoSys.