Human Error: The Greatest Threat to Data Security


Much of the buzz around cybersecurity issues faced by SMBs and enterprises is related to the idea of an obscure shadowy figure hidden in a basement somewhere typing madly on a keyword. While the external threat of criminal activity should never be discounted, by far, the greatest threat to any business exists from within the business itself: human error.

A recent survey of over 100 information security professionals in January 2015 indicated that 72 percent of respondents saw end users as the biggest security threat. As with almost every IT system inside a business, security stakeholders agree that the issue is PEBCAK-related, or simply put, the Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard.

Think of the sheer number of offers you receive in your inbox for free holidays, too-good-to-be-true deals on electronics or perhaps promotions to meet singles in your area who are looking to mingle. The tactics and subjects lines are endless, but the end result is an insidious entry point into the communications backbone of the business via unsecured email.

Potential email breaches aside, most employees at one time or another have tried to access a cloud-based application to achieve a goal only to find it’s not on the “approved list” of software from their IT department. Perhaps it’s for transferring a file that is too large for regular email or to add a password to more sensitive content  – actions easily achieved using free software online. The examples are endless, but there’s a good reason IT administrators are against the use of any Shadow IT. They simply don’t want business data stored in consumer-grade cloud applications.

Secure Messaging is one way to address this particular issue because employees can easily protect the content of their messages, add large file attachments and send/receive from any device. More importantly, there must be administrative rules in place to ensure employees are prompted to “send secure” based on the content of their email. If we know anything about human nature it’s that no matter how great a technology product is, its value will go largely unexploited if it is not easy to use or disrupts the natural workflow.

With this in mind, any secure messaging solution must be a seamless addition to the existing workflow, simple to setup and support, and require minimal user training.

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