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An employee at a desk in front of a laptop raises her hands as though she’s made a mistake. Another person points at her.

Why Employees Are Your Biggest Cybersecurity Risk (and How to Change That)

Discover why employees remain the biggest cybersecurity risk for businesses and how to mitigate threats with a zero trust architecture and managed detection and response (MDR) services from Oxspring.

Picture this: you're on the commuter train on a Monday morning, and the person next to you pulls out their laptop. They’re dealing with what looks to be sensitive company data, casually scrolling through confidential files and customer information in plain view. As you watch in disbelief, they input their password to the company’s intranet, in plain sight of all other surrounding passengers.

This cringe-worthy scenario, unfortunately, is not far-fetched. It's a stark reminder of why employees remain the biggest cybersecurity risk for organisations of all sizes. Despite the implementation of advanced security measures, human error and lack of awareness can render even the most robust defences useless.

According to a 2023 report by the Ponemon Institute, the majority of insider threat incidents (55%) are caused by careless or negligent employees. The human factor in cybersecurity vulnerabilities manifests in various ways:

Poor Password Practices

GoodFirms reported that 3 in 10 users have been victims of data breaches due to weak passwords. Many employees still struggle with creating strong, unique passwords, leaving them susceptible to credential stuffing attacks or brute force hacking attempts. Reusing passwords and not regularly changing passwords are also common problems.

Phishing Susceptibility

43% of people have compromised their work's cyber security while working (AAG IT Services). Tactics like phishing emails and fraudulent websites prey on human psychology and exploit natural tendencies like trust and compliance. A single employee falling for a phishing scam can grant cybercriminals access to sensitive systems and data.

Inadvertent Data Exposure

According to the 2020 Insider Data Breach Survey,  97% of the surveyed IT leaders expressed concerns about the risk of insider data breaches. In today's collaborative work environments, employees often share files and data across various platforms. Without proper training and awareness, they may accidentally expose confidential information through improper file sharing or use of unsecured devices.

Lack of Cybersecurity Awareness

70% of cybersecurity professionals claim that their organisation is impacted by the cybersecurity skills shortage (Terranova Security). Many employees simply lack the knowledge and understanding of cybersecurity best practices, leaving them ill-equipped to identify and mitigate potential threats.

The consequences of these human-induced vulnerabilities can be devastating.

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Addressing the Human Factor with Zero Trust and MDR

While human error is an unavoidable reality, organisations can implement robust cybersecurity measures to mitigate these risks. Enter the concepts of zero trust architecture, and managed detection and response (MDR) services, two strategic approaches that address the inherent cybersecurity vulnerabilities posed by humans connected to your business: employees, contractors, and third-party vendors.

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Exploring the Zero Trust Approach

The zero trust security model operates on the principle of "never trust, always verify." It assumes that every user, device, and application poses a potential threat, regardless of whether they are inside or outside the corporate network. By implementing zero trust, organisations can significantly reduce the risk of human-induced cybersecurity breaches.

Continuous Verification

Zero trust architecture ensures that every user, device, and application is continuously authenticated, authorised, and validated before granting access to resources. This eliminates the risk of unauthorised access, even if credentials are compromised.

Least Privilege Access

Users are granted the minimum level of access required to perform their job functions, reducing the potential impact of a compromised account or insider threat.


Networks are divided into smaller, isolated segments, limiting the lateral movement of threats and minimising the blast radius in the event of a breach.

Monitoring and Analytics

Zero trust architecture leverages advanced monitoring and analytics capabilities to detect and respond to potential threats in real-time, enabling organisations to quickly mitigate risks and minimise the impact of security incidents.

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Mitigating Employee Cybersecurity Risks with MDR Services

While implementing a zero trust architecture is a crucial step in addressing employee-related cybersecurity risks, it requires specialised expertise and resources that many organisations, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, may lack. This is where the value of a trusted Managed Detection and Response (MDR) provider like Oxspring becomes evident.

Oxspring's MDR services provide comprehensive cybersecurity protection tailored to businesses of all sizes, enabling them to effectively mitigate the risks posed by employees and secure their sensitive data and networks.

24/7 Threat Monitoring and Detection

Oxspring's MDR services continuously monitor your organisation's systems, networks, and endpoints for potential threats, ensuring round-the-clock protection against cyber threats that could be inadvertently introduced by employees, such as malware infections or unauthorised access attempts.

Advanced Threat Analytics

Leveraging cutting-edge technologies like machine learning, behavioural analytics, and threat intelligence, Oxspring's MDR services can detect even the most sophisticated and stealthy threats that may evade traditional security measures. This includes identifying anomalous behaviour patterns that could indicate insider threats or compromised employee accounts.

Rapid Incident Response and Containment

In the event of a security incident, whether caused by human error, negligence, or malicious intent, Oxspring's experienced cybersecurity experts provide swift and comprehensive incident response. They work to contain the threat, minimise damage, and facilitate a rapid recovery, ensuring that the impact on your sensitive data and operations is minimised.

Employee Awareness and Support

Oxspring's MDR services go beyond technology by offering consistent support for clients. Our MDR service is designed to educate your workforce on cybersecurity best practices, such as identifying phishing attempts, implementing strong password hygiene, and securely handling sensitive data, reducing the risk of human-induced breaches.

Scalable and Cost-Effective

Oxspring's MDR services are designed to be scalable and cost-effective, enabling businesses of all sizes to access enterprise-grade cybersecurity protection without the need for substantial in-house resources. This ensures that even smaller organisations can protect themselves against the cybersecurity risks posed by employees without breaking the bank.

Book A Free Consultation

By partnering with Oxspring for MDR services, organisations can effectively secure their sensitive data and networks, while mitigating the risks posed by the human element – the weakest link in cybersecurity defences. With Oxspring's expertise and advanced technologies, businesses can proactively identify and respond to potential threats, minimising the impact of human-induced cybersecurity incidents.

If our blog post interests you and you’d like to find out more, please get in touch!
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