Human Error: How to Mitigate Cybersecurity’s Achilles Heel
By Mike Zawisza and the Prosperoware Team
Fear of falling victim to a cyberattack or data incident is at an all-time high as hackers and cybercriminals are taking advantage of the immense amount of data chaos among organizations. The situation has become so severe that the White House has declared the threat of ransomware on-par with terrorism. The World Economic Forum has also ranked cyber risks among the key global risks.
But these incidents aren’t always the result of hyper-savvy hackers and cybercriminals cracking security codes to find their way in. In fact, 94% of organizations fall victim to data incidents because of internal human error.
When it comes to cybersecurity, human error is any organization’s Achilles Heel. So, what’s the fix?
Organizations looking to mitigate risks due to human error should implement process-driven collaboration, protect data with need-to-know security models, and minimize unnecessary data. Follow along to learn how to implement all these steps.
Enable Process-Driven Collaboration with Provisioning & Data Context
When organizations rely on one or more collaboration systems, collaboration chaos can become a problem. When users are left to their own devices, they save files with random naming conventions and store them in inconvenient places like their vulnerable personal drives.
While only a few projects or matters being saved like this might not be a problem, as they pile up, it can create a “buffet” of data for hackers and cybercriminals to steal, delete, and even hold ransom over your organization.
To mitigate this, organizations should start creating logical storage locations for documents through provisioning projects or matters across collaboration systems. Then they can add folder templates and standardized naming conventions to make collaboration easy. When users know where to place data, they are less likely to save it in their local drives, reducing the risk that a hacker will get access to their content. From there, organizations can add rich, custom metadata to projects or matters across systems. Adding and tracking such custom metadata allows users to quickly search and find their content, improving collaboration and productivity.
Not only that, but this metadata allows your organization’s risk management team to easily understand the business context of data and apply relevant security and minimization policies. Risk teams can effectively manage access according to a Zero-Trust strategy and set up document archives through or AWS to access data in case of a breach or outage.
While these processes are necessary, they can be time-consuming when done manually. We recommend leveraging a software solution — like Prosperoware CAM — to automate this process.
Provisioning your virtual workspaces is a key step, but you must also protect data and regulate user access.
Protect The Data You Need
The weakest link in any organization’s cybersecurity model is human error. That’s why it’s necessary to regulate and monitor the access permissions of your organization’s users so you can protect the data you need.
When an employee clicks on a suspicious link out of curiosity, they expose the organization to risk. Every datapoint the employee has access to is now vulnerable. And when these hackers get into your system, they often go undetected for an average of 280 days, copying and deleting important data and intellectual property.
There are also other cases when users intentionally abuse their level of access, especially if their relationship with the organization is coming to an end. For instance, a disgruntled employee may download copious amounts of data to create sprawl, or even expose it for cybercriminals. In this case, human error goes beyond a mistake, and becomes an active threat to your organization.
To limit the damage and keep yourself and your organization safe in the event of what our CEO & Co-founder, Keith Lipman, calls a “bad day,” you should implement Zero-Trust security measures or Privileged Access Management (PAM).
Both strategies entail giving the least privilege and access to users to start with, and then adding and removing levels of access as seen necessary. This means no longer automatically assuming users need access to all projects or matters, or for the entire duration of them. The process also involves regular audits and access recertification of users for suspicious or inappropriate activity, such as accessing files not relevant to them or downloading documents they have no part in working on.
The more data access is limited to a need-to-know basis, the less the organization is vulnerable to data loss and hacks.
Minimize Data You Don’t Need
The final step in mitigating the effects of human error is to ensure your organization is disposing of the data that is no longer necessary to keep around. Not only can this excess data create a great deal of data chaos, it can also find its way into the wrong hands if proper minimization strategies aren’t in place.
For instance, let’s say a user clicks on a suspicious email link and exposes themselves and their credentials to a hacker. This cybercriminal would have access to potentially hundreds or thousands of files and projects that the organization should have minimized a long time ago. And even “unnecessary” data floating around has sensitive materials within, such as client information, financial records, or organizational plans.
By implementing proper data minimization strategies, your organization will not need to worry about any information from previous projects being stolen as the most important elements will have been protected with need-to-know or Zero-Trust security, and the unnecessary data will be safely minimized.
How Prosperoware Helps
Prosperoware CAM is a Software-as-a-Service platform (SaaS) for adoption and governance of collaboration systems. It allows organizations to provision, classify, protect, move, and minimize data, mitigating data chaos and reducing risks related to privacy & cybersecurity.
CAM enables organizations to create logical locations for users to place data. It provides rich custom metadata, empowering users to locate documents, and risk management teams to understand business context in order to apply the right security & data minimization policies.
CAM integrates with Microsoft 365 (Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, OneNote, Planner, Lists), iManage, NetDocuments, HighQ, and more to come.
Here is what CAM can do for you:
- Provisioning of workspaces, Teams, Channels, Lists, users & groups, and folders from Project Portfolio Management, CRM etc., or through a human workflow using readily available templates.
- Rich, custom metadata for project or document context.
- Unified project directory for content location for end users and risk management teams.
- Provision automatically or on-demand internal & external users, manage permissions across collaboration systems, and integrate with leading ethical wall systems.
- Data Loss Prevention (DLP) with activity monitoring and bulk security & metadata changes.
- Data protection by creating a separate archive of documents to access in case of incidents.
- Minimize data by setting automatic data disposition policies or apply litigation hold.