Human Factors Are Key to a Solid Security Posture

Human Factors Are Key to a Solid Security Posture

By Matthew Vulpis

The dawn of the new digital era has created an unprecedented number of possibilities for modern-day enterprises. New devices and applications are allowing businesses to venture into data analytics, automation, machine learning, and many other practices that add ease and optimization to their daily processes. Unfortunately, amidst digital transformation, organizations are not the only ones optimizing their tactics, as cybercriminals also take advantage of the plethora of innovative technology.

These new kinds of cybercriminals have become more sophisticated, growing in volume and speed, using every form of cyberattack at their disposal. Overall, businesses suffered 50 percent more cyberattack attempts per week in 2021, and it's only expected to get worse, with the cost of cybercrime predicted to hit $10.5 trillion by 2025. Currently, 75 percent of businesses feel as if they need to put more emphasis on cybersecurity, with enterprises now heavily investing in cybersecurity solutions.

Many organizations are finding the answer to their problems by partnering with managed service providers (MSPs) to bolster their cybersecurity defenses. MSPs have become IT experts, across all functional areas, including trials, beta tests, project management, installation, training, monitoring, maintenance, upgrades, and especially customer support. They've also quickly become essential for businesses that need reliable cybersecurity solutions.

"MSPs are great partners to seek out, as they can guide organizations on the right path and help them stay protected from the increased incidents of cybercrime," said Nick Heddy, Chief Commerce Officer of Pax8. "MSPs can educate clients about the need for a holistic security solution and the evolving cybercrime landscape, as well as provide businesses with a complete collection of security solutions so that they can stay protected and minimize risk. Staying current with the rapid evolution of cyber threats creates new challenges for MSPs, but a curated set of solutions, easily integrated into their back office, is now possible."

While MSPs can help shore up most potential openings that cyber attackers could take advantage of, there are still some aspects of defense outside of their control. The most prominent aspect is in relation to employees and the exploitation of human error as an avenue for cybercriminals.

"In a security context, human error means unintentional actions, or lack of action by employees and users that cause, spread or allow a security breach to take place," said Tracie Crites, VP of Sales and Marketing of Breach Secure Now, which provides a white-labeled service built for MSPs. "BSN focuses on a client's weakest security link – their employees. This encompasses a vast range of actions – from downloading a malware-infected attachment to failing to use a strong password - which is part of the reason it can be so difficult to address."

Human error is currently the number one reason for hacks and breaches among organizations. According to a study by IBM, human error is the main cause of 95 percent of cybersecurity breaches. In other words, if human error was somehow eliminated, 19 out of 20 cyber breaches may not have taken place at all.

"Cybercriminals are diligent in finding new, sophisticated methods to trick unsuspecting individuals into putting themselves at risk," Crites said. "Having a proactive approach is key in a robust security culture, and tools, like our Employee Vulnerability Assessment (EVA) included in our BPP, is just what MSPs need to help defend their clients' weakest links."

The EVA provides insight into an organization's first layer of defense, its employees, by combining key security metrics with friendly competition. It does this by generating a Employee Security Score (ESS), which uses a sophisticated algorithm to transform end-user education into an analytics engine. By assigning an ESS to each user, employees can see where they fall in their peer group and in what areas they can improve.

By averaging all end-users ESS, each organization is assigned a Company Overall ESS. Leveraging this score gives management insight into their overall security hygiene and highlights the need for technical safeguards.

The BPP also provides an array of other resources for employees, including dark web monitoring, routine simulated phishing, written security policies, and security risk assessments. The platform also offers continuous education for workers in order to keep them up-to-date on cybersecurity methods and techniques.

"A recent study revealed that 48 percent of hackers and incident responders spend 1-5 hours per week keeping up with security news, trends, and technologies, so why aren't we educating our clients' employees more than once a year?" Crites said. "Weekly 2-minute micro-training videos and short quizzes combined with a monthly security newsletter keep cybersecurity short, engaging, and interactive while keeping employees informed. White-labeled emails sent on your behalf to all your users also means hands-off management."

Overall, human employees are always going to be an essential part of any business, so as the world continues to transition into a digital age, enterprises must be sure that their employees are helping more than they are hurting.

"With cybercriminals lurking in the shadows, waiting to exploit the first employee mistake they see, MSPs have to find a way to turn their clients' employees from a vulnerability to an advantage," Crites explained. "Platforms like the BPP can help MSPs achieve this goal of educating employees, benefiting everyone, from the employees to the company, to the MSPs themselves."

Edited by Erik Linask
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