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Why we need to recognize the human factor in security breaches

From weak passwords and neglecting security updates to ransomware, bad actors are continually stalking unprepared users in cyberspace. But if you look closer, security incidents happen because users are unaware of the dangers. To guard against the growing threat landscape, defense solutions must be complemented by risk awareness and education.

According to a recent report [1], the average cost of a data breach in 2021 reached $4.24 million. In the coming years, cybercriminal activity will be one of the biggest challenges we face. Izumi Nakamitsu, the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs [2], said earlier this year that digital technologies’ ‘explosive growth’ creates new potential for conflict. Particularly at risk, she said, are critical infrastructures. At the same time, the cost of cyberattacks for organizations and consumers are rocketing. Cybersecurity Ventures [3] predicts it will hit a staggering $10 trillion by 2025.

Cyberattacks don’t just affect business brands, reputation, and revenue. They leave a trail of destruction behind, including psychological impact on employees and negative issues for those at the end of supply chains. They can also have adverse repercussions for services central to our daily lives, such as utilities and health institutions. Because it is difficult to measure these ramifications, it does not make them less critical.

Don’t forget the human element

While technology provides the open door for malicious actors, it is ultimately humans who are impacted by cyber breaches. As such, cybersecurity is a human story – and we must not forget empathy for everyone involved in security breaches from stressed-out Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) trying to minimize impact to hospital patients who have had personal data exposed, for example.

How convenient it would be if we could purchase a piece of technology that could do everything for us and keep us safe. But unfortunately, that isn’t possible. Firewalls and other security solutions can’t do it all.  They depend on humans to configure them and filter out the noise. Technology may harvest, analyze and store data, but the big decisions still need to be taken by humans. Why? Because at the moment, human imagination and intuition can’t be replaced by machines.

Human error can lead to cyber breaches

On the flip side, humans can trigger cyber breaches. According to research by IBM [4], human error is a contributing factor in 95% of cybersecurity breaches. To put this into perspective, if the human error were taken out of the equation, 19 out of 20 cyber breaches would never happen.

While the human element represents the first line of defense, it also acts as the weakest link in the data protection chain. Of course, we all make mistakes. Recognizing human fallibility is essential.

Much of human error could be tagged as organizational error as they exposed users to risk without making them aware of the dangers. Organizations need to empower CISOs to make the right decisions and ensure diversity of skills to maximize protection on multiple fronts and enable users to do their jobs without compromising corporate security. This necessitates organizations collaborating holistically across departments to ensure they are not operating in silos, have the right tools and security awareness training.

Begin with intelligence-led security awareness training

Organizations must find the right balance between harnessing the irreplaceable power of the human element and adopting advanced technologies to create a secure working environment.

This begins with educating users. Training makes users more aware and ultimately provides the organization with greater overall protection. Here at Orange Cyberdefense, we create awareness strategies to integrate all users from top to bottom. We create bespoke content made up of physical and online sessions such as phishing simulations and gamification modules—our unique threat intelligence education approach powers these.

Tapping into the power of CISO as a Service

In the digital economy, the CISO’s role is more important than ever. A CISO is responsible for establishing an organization’s security strategy and ensuring all its data assets are fully protected, compliant, and in line with regulatory procedures. Here at Orange Cyberdefense, we can offer CISO as a Service ensuring organizations have highly qualified professionals at their side to keep security permanently on track. We can also provide CISO consultancy, including building strategic security roadmaps, compliance risk management, governance implementation, and security awareness.

Think like an attacker

Ethical hacking is designed to help organizations look into the minds of malevolent actors and identify security vulnerabilities in organizations using real-world assessments.

At Orange Cyberdefense, our ethical hackers, also known as white hats, use the same malicious skills as cybercriminals to attack systems with the owners’ authorization. It helps organizations understand where flaws are in their systems and also prepare for attacks.

SOAR can accelerate security operations

Many security operations centers (SOCs) are struggling to keep up with today’s growing threat landscape. A managed Security, Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) solution can help organizations accelerate their security operations with scalable and automated incident response workflows.

Many SOCs are understaffed and dealing with a growing mountain of alarms.  Orange Cyberdefense provides a managed SOAR that industrializes repetitive tasks. This reduces analyst fatigue and maximizes efficiencies, especially with limited staff, providing faster triage and response times.

Enhance visibility and detection accuracy

Some organizations want a more centralized and granular approach to security – harvesting the most valuable security data from networks, endpoints, and cloud environments 24/7. As well as managed detection and response, they also demand comprehensive cyber threat intelligence.

To satisfy these all-encompassing requirements, we at Orange Cyberdefense have developed the comprehensive Managed Threat Detection [xdr] service. It provides detection, triage, classification, and incident notifications based on detected incidents supplied from our customers’ IT environments. 

Being prepared

Every business today is at risk of a cyberattack. We here at Orange Cyberdefense have a range of solutions that can shore up defenses and reduce risk. But, to maximize their effectiveness, employees must be cyber security aware.

Cyber breaches impact us all directly or indirectly. The best way of reducing them is to create a culture of cybersecurity awareness. Of course, these attacks will never go away, but we can strengthen an organization’s cybersecurity by working together.

To learn more about how the human element is pivotal to cybersecurity, register for Orange Cyberdefense’s webcast “Blending Culture and Technology to Optimize Security Outcomes” on 30 November 2021. 


[1] The Ponemon Institute and IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021

[2] UN statement June 2021

[3] Cyberventures Official Annual Cybercrime Report

[4] IBM Security Services Cyber Security Intelligence Index

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