Threats to data beyond cybercrime: the human factor

With the news cycle dominated by data that has been stolen by cybercriminals, it is easier to overlook the other, sometimes benign ways your data may be placed at risk and become inaccessible to your employees and customers.

There are numerous ways data can be put at risk.

    1. External bad actors – Clearly, this is the risk that gets the most headlines. Cyberattacks from hackers, foreign governments and entities with bad intentions are a serious, ongoing threat. Ransomware viruses, for instance, are data kidnapping schemes that freeze access to your data until you pay a ransom. These are especially difficult, because once you have been hit, using an after-the-fact antivirus program will offer no help. Additionally, there are phishing scams and other malware that can damage and or steal your data
    2. Human error – One of the major causes of successful cyber attack and malware attacks is employee error. Opening emails with attachments that download viruses or links to web pages that mimic real sites are common mistakes people make. For example, employees who find a thumb drive and, curious about its contents, insert into the USB of their computer. All of these errors are generally preventable with sufficient training. But, too few businesses recognize the severity of the threat. Employees need to be trained to recognize phishing scams.

In our next blog, we talk about the environmental situations that expose data to risk.