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Why You Can’t Just Simply Buy Cybersecurity

Data breaches are becoming costlier, more frequent and increasingly difficult to combat. This has scared many business owners and founders into thinking that buying the latest tech hardware or a minimal cybersecurity effort will be sufficient to tackle the growing hack problem.

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Security providers’ marketing strategies and promises haven’t made this misconception easy to dismiss. Every new security compromise and data leak is often met with a new product that promises impregnability and superior defense against hackers. And business owners respond by purchasing new security tools and solutions. After all, buying new security tools and devices is cheaper than the reputation damage that follows cyber attacks.

What this approach has done, rather than discourage hackers, is increase post-hack costs and corporations’ net spending on securing their environments. However, all these challenges and problems can be mitigated if we simply understand that cybersecurity is not only a technology issue and that it can’t be bought.

Cybersecurity Is More People-Centric Than You Think

The internet is simply a collection of people using internet-enabled devices to interact to achieve their individual goals. However, the intentions of one person may be damaging to another or several people. Cybersecurity is intended as a protection for all internet users, ensuring they have a wonderful and safe experience.

The perpetrators and targets of cyber attacks are humans, who sometimes take the form of small businesses and large corporations, using technology as a tool. According to auditor Deloitte, 91% of all cyberattacks begin with a phishing email to an unsuspected victim. This shows that the bulk of the problems in cybersecurity is based on the human element, making all cybersecurity measures that are purely technological a waste of time.

Why Are Purely Technological Measures Bound to Fail?

Most organizations have become overly fixated on the latest specs and tech devices, thinking downloading the latest antivirus version or installing the newest firewall is sufficient protection against malware and other cybersecurity threats. These tools are undoubtedly pivotal for information security, but they are ineffective without proper staff orientation, training or practice. 

Reasons Why You Need More Than Just Technological Tools

There are several sources of vulnerabilities in the cybersecurity landscape, from ransomware to social engineering. To top it all off, none of these threats are ever the same. The underlying principle may remain the same, but the mode of action and the number of connected devices on the network increases the risk level.

Too Many Points of Vulnerabilities

The increased usage of Internet of Things (IoT) devices has opened up a new source of entry for hackers. These devices, as well as multi-function printers and scanners, have low processing power, making them the target of hacking attempts. While antiviruses and firewalls may be installed on capable internet devices on the network, it is only a matter of time before they become ineffective, making a multi-pronged, multi-engine approach of true MDRs and EDRs backed by a capable Security Operations Center a complete necessity.

To compound matters, no one antivirus can protect you against malware. According to the AV-Test Institute, there are over 5,700 new malware variants every hour. Antiviruses rely on two primary principles; they compare files on the system with known malware or check for suspicious behavioral patterns in software. None of these principles has provisions for unidentified viruses with unique modes of attack.

Hidden From Sight and Target Easy Preys 

Hacking companies with poor cybersecurity saves cybercriminals considerable time and resources. And, like the average playground bully, hackers target businesses with the weakest IT infrastructure or the most money. This means that employees don’t have to plug in a bad drive or access malicious links to incur the wrath of these bad actors.

Hackers use other cheeky means like malvertising to introduce malware into a network. Unless your company performs routine network sweeps and checks, such malware may go unnoticed and unreported until it completes its course. 

The Possibility of an Insider Attack

According to Security Intelligence, insider threats make up 40% of data breaches. These data breaches are not easily diagnosable with cybersecurity tools alone. Insider threats flourish because they typically have no technological origin. In the event that a criminal mastermind within the organization instigates the insider threat, chances are that they’ll cover their tracks, leading to distrust between employees.

This quote by Kevin Mitnick, a security consultant and convicted hacker, summarizes these reasons. He says:

“Companies spend millions of dollars on firewalls, encryption and secure access devices, and it’s money wasted; none of these measures address the weakest link in the security chain.”

Why Are Humans the Weakest Link in Cybersecurity?

Humans are the weakest link in information security. They make it easier for hackers to remotely access systems worldwide. All it takes is for an employee to use a weak password or download malware from the internet without knowing it. 

Humans are much more complex than computers because they have free will and can make independent decisions. Because you cannot control how employees interact with these systems or the mistakes they make, the discussion of people being the weakest links begins to hold substance.

Technology operates on zero trust, an unheard-of principle in human-to-human interaction. Because humans tend to trust and see the good in others, they are more likely to be exploited through phishing scams and other social engineering attacks.

Sometimes, identifying elements of cyberattacks and understanding how to avoid them is not enough. Personal habits, like checking social media between tasks, can also get in the way of work rules and routines meant to safeguard your network and keep your infrastructure safe. 

Common Cybersecurity Risks Associated With the Human Factor

As a CFO, CIO or IT director charged with maintaining your organization’s cyber integrity, there are certain risks you should watch out for. 

Weak Passwords

There are so many applications and technologies that require password access, and the number rises with every new signup to a streaming service or an e-commerce website. It is nearly impossible to use unique passwords for all of them and remember them without additional help. 

To prevent having to look up a password every single time before signing in, people began to 

  • Use one password for multiple applications and services
  • Use easy-to-remember passwords that may include their pet or lover’s name 

Both of these practices are recipes for weak passwords and provide an easy way in for cybercriminals.

Configuration Problems

Administrators are not immune to mistakes; they are human as well. They are responsible for the configuration of access levels of employees within an organization. A misconfiguration somewhere — granting an employee clearance to privileged information — may be all that is needed for a full-fledged attack.  

Weak Authentication

Segregating access levels using passwords alone, or making these passwords easily changeable, can be harmful to an organization’s cybersecurity program. We get that you want to save time and quickly read, write or execute files on the server. However, with no additional layer of authentication, your server data can be accessed with a simple “forgot password” action by a non-staffer. Instead, ensure that you are properly protecting your digital assets by implementing multi-factor authentication.

Developing the Ultimate Cybersecurity Strategy

Companies’ IT teams must implement multilayered processes and cybersecurity strategies that consider all factors. Teams considering all factors in plotting their defense against cybersecurity attacks are likelier to have a backup plan in scenarios where their first line of defense falls apart. 

We’ve already established that there is no one cybersecurity solution to hackers; it must be a suite of solutions to stand a chance. Or rather, a set of factors to consider when developing a cybersecurity strategy. When designing your organization’s cybersecurity strategy, you should consider the following:


The first step to developing this strategy is documentation. If well written, documentation can determine the success and failure of your cybersecurity efforts. The government has been integral in helping define a cybersecurity continuum with the NIST CSF (CyberSecurity Framework). Understanding how the U.S. government is tackling cybersecurity is applicable for many businesses, as well.

The documentation must contain all the technical and non-technical details of your company’s cybersecurity policy. This includes which compliance models and regulation standards to adopt,  how often to perform risk assessment or the underlying cybersecurity framework of choice. 

In creating the perfect documentation, you must remember that your IT infrastructure and the resources at hand play the most significant role. This documentation should be kept secure and encrypted at rest and in-motion.

Susceptibility to Change

New technologies and cybersecurity practices are popping up left and right, which can be distracting. New products and features from your organization can also have that effect because you must account for it in the strategy. Switching practices to accommodate these changes can only be possible with suitable systems in place. Also, detecting operational changes within your infrastructure is as crucial as adapting your infrastructure to these changes.

Industry Compliance

Certain industry and government policies (like PCI, SOC2, GDPR and ISO 27001) are meant to ensure that businesses’ cybersecurity practices meet industry standards. Other times, industry compliance can include the base practice models and tools or the certification requirements for IT security staff and CISOs.

Vulnerability Management and Cost

The fundamentals of vulnerability management revolve around understanding why each device works a certain way and their contributions to the overall security of your framework. Appreciating the basics provides the much-needed context for every routine scan output and metrics. Vulnerability management is a proactive approach. As such, physical equipment purchase is essential for effectively managing vulnerability on a network. 

Patch Update and Continuity

Backups and data recovery solutions are insufficient; they are costly to set up and cannot guarantee a total recovery and the desired continuity you’d expect. Access level management and personally identifiable information are usually replicable even if you do succeed in recovering lost data. Instead, you should be regularly updating software and IoT devices and utilizing a destroy and reinstall approach to stay ahead of the stream.

Bringing the Human Element Back to Cybersecurity

Bringing humanness back to cybersecurity can significantly improve safety, reduce cyberthreats and better manage data breaches. Take steps to increase trust among teammates and coworkers. 

One of the precursors of a successful organization is employees’ active participation and desire to get better at their jobs. Rewarding such behavior will change how people within your organization do their job and not see cybersecurity measures as activities that get in the way of carrying out their duties. 

Adopt shared responsibility models. This helps you to understand that mistakes and flaws are common denominators in workspaces governed by people and install measures that will maintain the overall security posture of your organization. Another advantage of adopting shared responsibility models is that it increases risk management success because people share mistakes and actively ask questions.

Allocate resources and delegate specific tasks. Making a clear outline of the expectations and the expected performance of each person creates a certain level of alertness and security risk attached to their roles. This way, you know where to look when there’s sensitive data leakage.

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Implement the Human Element in Cybersecurity Strategy for Improved Results

The common misconception in cybersecurity is thinking that eliminating the human element will mitigate cybercrime. With guidance from cybersecurity experts like ne Digital, you can create the ideal cybersecurity strategy with a mix of people, culture and technology and processes. ne Digital is an elite team of managed cybersecurity experts dedicated to reducing the growing pandemic of cybercrime worldwide.

Prevent important information about merger and acquisition transactions from leaking. Contact us today for your free consultation and the seamless incorporation of the human element in your cybersecurity strategy. 

Topics: Cybersecurity

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