People make mistakes. In the world of data breaches, those mistakes can open companies up to huge expenses and legal strife. According to a recent report from Beazley , human error accounts for over one-third of all data breaches that occur. While malicious hackers make headlines for stealing sensitive information, addressing several simple employee scenarios can eliminate the human error element and reduce the risk of a data breach by 30%.
“Oops, I left my bag in the cab!”
Misplacing or leaving personal items is never convenient, but when absent-mindedness intersects with work files, a little slip can mean big trouble. Leaving a laptop, smartphone, or other work device laying around means any sensitive data on the device is potentially vulnerable. Using encryption or providing server-based rules governing who can download and save files can help reduce risk after the inevitable slip.
“Sorry, wrong Sally!”
Autocomplete in email subject lines is a helpful technology for busy professionals. After all, typing the first few letters of a name is much faster than looking up a full email address. But that same technology is often responsible for people accidentally sending sensitive information to the wrong recipient. In some cases, large quantities of company data can be sent into the ether due to this common error if key customer records or other sensitive information is miscommunicated.
“I always forget my passwords…”
Password apathy is a classic mistake that has more to do with best practices than pure human error. If employees are not forced to change passwords often, they won’t. Similarly, if an easy-to-guess password can be entered, company data is still at risk in a big way. Failure to use newer technologies like two-factor authentication can also play a big role in this scenario.
“Does Bob still have access to his account?”
Employee churn triggers a number of necessary steps to protect sensitive information. When an employee leaves the company, any digital accounts he or she used to do business must be disabled. In some cases, employers may want to disable access at the exact moment the bad news is delivered, preventing intentional or malicious use of company systems.
The best way to avoid a data breach due to human error is to implement an easy-to-use system to prevent it. By automating controls that govern documents and the ability for employees to transmit files, companies can cut the risk of a data breach by a third or more.