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Eliminating Data Breaches Caused By Human Error

by | Mar 13, 2018 | Blog, data breach, Risk Management |

The digital era has seen a highly concerning upward trend in reported data breaches, with human error being the main cause. Today, the organizational resilience buzzword is thrown into the corporate lingo on a daily basis, but are organizations actually practising it? Are they making it a strategic imperative? The simple answer is no.

A recent request to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in London has reported a 66% increase in data breaches since 2015. Of these, two-thirds of the incidents reported to the ICO were due to human error. According to the report, a 500% rise in the courts and justice sector were stated as well as a 317% rise in insurance firms and a 157% rise in general businesses. This trend, identified in London, represents a similar trend happening globally: a proliferation of data breaches due to human error.

So, Who Is Responsible For Data Breaches?

The majority of corporations today are still terrible at keeping sensitive information safe. To name just a few examples, the personal information of every US voter was leaked last year; the social security numbers of over 100 million Americans were stolen; and over 560 million login credentials have been exposed through a database, including the emails and passwords of as many as 10 popular online stores.

While the blame game of shifting all the responsibility onto hackers worked for a time, the public is now beginning to hold organization’s accountable for data breaches.

So, What Do Data Breaches Mean For Your Organization?

Accountability is at an all-time high. With the rise of the CorpSumer, organization’s are being judged on more than just their prices and product quality. More and more customers are now looking at the entire organization when choosing what products to buy and with the internet,  the 24-hour news cycle and social media, nothing can be kept secret for long. 

Corporate Social Responsibility is the new buzzword and customers value it quite highly. Indirect financial factors such as data security are the new ways in which customers are choosing who they buy from.

What You Can You Do About Data Breaches

The good news is, human error is preventable. The mass reports of data breaches due to human error has an easy solution, yet many organizational decision makers look at hotfix solutions for data breaches as they occur, rather than anticipating them.

How Intelligent Software Reduces Data Breaches

In today’s digital era, the less human input on automatable work processes, the better. Reducing employee time spent gathering, categorizing and conducting basic data analysis is essential in reducing data breaches due to human error. Mundane or repetitive tasks reduce concentration and increase the likelihood of mistakes that can detrimentally impact your organization.

Treat Data As A Valuable Resource

One of the basics of information security is making sure employees have access to only the types of information that they need to perform their job. Having software that makes organizational data have varying levels of clearance means that employees can see what is relevant to them, while CEO’s and other members of upper management have access to the bigger picture.

In the digital era, a good way of looking at data is like a resource. Data should be considered one of your organization’s most important assets. It allows you to develop consumer insights, establish realistic business objectives and understand what you are doing right and wrong. As such an important organizational resource, eliminating data breaches, especially caused by human error should be a primary objective.

Automation

Intelligent software that automates work processes and creates a set work protocol for tasks can greatly reduce human error in not just data breaches but many other aspects as well. Work processes that are either automated or have discrete, predetermined completion procedures reduce employee variation in regards to completing the exact same task. Less task variation results in a reduced likelihood of human error.

Work processes that are repetitive or can seem trivial are often the main causes of data breaches caused by human error. Predetermined work processes for discrete work protocols ensures every employee is completing the task the same way. This means less variation, less room for error and more consistent results.

Human error is the greatest cause of data breaches for organizations today, yet it is preventable. While the digital era can be held accountable for a lot of the reasons for data breaches today, it also holds the solution.

As human error continues to cost economies millions each year, it is becoming a strategic imperative to implement software that can keep it to a minimum. There is software out there that are helping organizations in greatly reducing the negative impacts of human error. However, when choosing the right software, you must do your research.

While we often learn the most from our mistakes, it is important we learn from the right ones and eliminate the rest.

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