ransomware is most common through phishing

The Human Element: Training Employees for Cybersecurity

February 14, 2024

Human Error: Cybercrime’s Best Friend

No one needs to be educated on the important role of technology in business today. Similarly, everyone understands that protecting ourselves and our organizations from cyber threats is more important than ever. Unfortunately, many people still overlook the most essential element of cybersecurity: the humans.

A Common Entry Point

People are often the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain, offering a common entry point for cybercriminals. 74% of breaches include the human element, according to Verizon’s 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report 1. Ransomware, for example, is often spread through social engineering tactics that take advantage of human error by preying on emotions, such as fear or curiosity, to trick people into clicking malicious links or downloading infected attachments. According to Huntress’ 2023 Report, more than 40% of respondents from mid-sized businesses don’t conduct regular cybersecurity training, creating significant risk for their organizations 2. By educating employees about cybercriminals’ tactics and how to spot them, companies can better protect themselves from attacks.

Read more about the human factor here.

Creating a Cyber-Aware Culture

Companies need to create a cyber-aware culture to mitigate the risks of human error in cybersecurity. This means all employees should be aware of the potential risks and be trained to recognize and report suspicious activity. Huntress’ 2023 report states that 32% of respondents identified better security awareness across their organization as an area that needed the most help. Further, 9% indicated they only raise awareness when a security incident occurs in real-time 2. Cybersecurity education should be an ongoing process, with regular reminders and training sessions to maintain vigilance and keep everyone up to date on the latest threats and best practices.

Training Employees for Effective Incident Response

In addition to prevention, companies must also focus on effective incident response (IR). This means having both a plan in place for responding to a cyber-attack and an IR team trained to execute that plan. According to IBM’s 2023 Cost of a Data Breach Report, “organizations with both an IR team and IR plan identified breaches 54 days faster than those with neither.” Additionally, in their 2022 report, IBM stated that organizations with an IR team that tested their IR plan saw 58% cost savings in the event of a breach 3. This proves that with proper training, employees can be an asset in mitigating the damage caused by a cyber-attack.

Risk Assessments and Proactive Risk Mitigation

Another aspect of the human element in cybersecurity is leveraging security vendors to help identify and manage sources of risk. Companies should conduct proactive risk assessments to evaluate their security practices and identify prioritized areas of improvement. A CIS Assessment is a great place to start. Proactive risk mitigation can also help to minimize the damage of a cyber-attack. IBM cites that organizations that took a proactive, risk-based approach to security saw an 18.3% reduction in the cost of a data breach versus organizations that took a more passive approach 3. This includes utilizing methods like vulnerability scanning or penetration testing. These methods involve adopting an attacker’s perspective to identify exploitable vulnerabilities that will cause the most harm.

Learn about Dewpoint’s Threat and Vulnerability Management services

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Learn about how Dewpoint helped mitigate the impact of a ransomware attack

Leveraging IT Managed Services for Third-Party Security

IT Managed Services providers can offer valuable cybersecurity services to businesses. These providers can help companies reduce the risk of cyber-attacks by implementing strong security measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems. They can also monitor networks and systems for suspicious activity, and promptly respond to potential threats. Additionally, managed service providers can help businesses stay up to date with the latest security trends and regulations and provide training on best cybersecurity practices. By partnering with an IT Managed Services provider, businesses can more effectively manage their cybersecurity risks and protect against threats.

Read about Partnering with IT Managed Services Providers for Long-Term Success

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Take the Proactive Approach to Security

When it comes to cybersecurity, the human element is a factor that cannot be ignored. Fortunately, there are proactive steps that organizations can take to avoid unnecessary risks and mitigate the potential damage of a breach. Contact us today and start a conversation with one of our cybersecurity experts.

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Dewpoint, an award-winning, Michigan-based technology firm, has been helping businesses prepare for, stay ahead of, and respond to IT challenges for over 26 years. From IT security to infrastructure management to automation, cloud migration, and beyond, Dewpoint has long been a trusted technology resource for businesses.


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