Ready for disaster: understanding human error in IT security threats (part 1 of 3)

Posted by Bec Ney on Mar 25, 2019 8:23:00 PM
Bec Ney

Ready for disaster: understanding human error in IT security threats (part 1 of 3)

Coffee in hand and keen as ever, the inadvertent saboteur walks into the office. They take a seat, exchange friendly words with a coworker about quality vs. quantity on Netflix and log in to start the day. This efficient employee is also completely oblivious to the operational catastrophe a misplaced keystroke will cause later in the day.

Unfortunately, human error makes even the most devoted employee capable of (unintended) vandalism. But just how prevalent is the problem? It’s estimated that 52% of security and data breaches are due to human error. The same analysis reports that 42% of error-related breaches are caused by “general carelessness” such as “accidentally deleting important files, sending company data to the wrong email recipient, neglecting software updates or even misplacing mobile devices.” So what are the underlying agents that lead to these costly lapses in judgement? We’re glad you asked...


Common types and their causes

According to Understanding Human Failure, there are three types of human error: slips, lapses and mistakes.

Slips and lapses are familiar actions performed incorrectly because a person banks on instinct and repetition to get the job done. Mistakes occur when a POA (plan of action) is flawed or a task is carried out erroneously because of missing information or instructions.

The consequences of a lapse in judgement range from negligible to catastrophic. The worst IT breaches can take a company completely offline, severing any and all services to precious clients, as well as compromising high-level intel. The long-term effects are just as bad: employee morale drops, productivity decreases and your reputation is damaged. In some cases, irrevocably.

One of the biggest cybersecurity breaches of 2018 jeopardised the usernames, email addresses and passwords of approximately 150 million MyFitnessPal users. The intrusion was the result of Under Armour using a weak hashing scheme called SHA-1 (with known flaws) for the majority of its password protection. The fact that this breach could have been easily prevented shows how unstable IT infrastructure is when best practice is not observed.


Mitigate the risk of an IT breach with robust preventative measures

When it comes to the protection of your IT ecosystem, the adage ‘plan for the worst and hope for the best’ comes to mind. With the correct structures and procedures in place, you can mitigate damage and aid in the swift recovery of your systems. Let’s take a look at a few effective safeguards against an IT security breach:

  • Alert your employees to the dangers of opening unsolicited emails or links.
  • Implement automatic security updates across your network.
  • Only implement reputable anti-spyware and anti-virus programs and ensure your workforce knows not to download or install any others.
  • Have an actionable disaster recovery program in place should your systems crash.


Introducing DRaaS by The Missing Link

Statistics don’t lie:

  • The average organisation experiences 27 hours (more than 3 working days) of unexpected downtime per year — with an average cost of $550,000 per instance.
  • 96% of businesses with a disaster recovery plan manage to fully recover operations after experiencing a disaster, while 9 out of 10 businesses without a recovery plan will fail after experiencing a disaster.

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is a managed cloud-computing service that replicates your entire business environment to recover data and resources following a paralysing security breach or system crash. It’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to future proof your business against operational disruption.

How disaster-ready are you? Use our free Disaster Recovery tool to find out.

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Bec Ney

Head of Marketing


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