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Blue Monday and what it means to cybersecurity

Simon Sharp

Businesses to be proactive and use the day to think about their employees as key to their cybersecurity. Contributor Simon Sharp, VP International – ObserveIT.

Pseudoscience and marketing ploys aside, as an awareness day, ‘Blue Monday’ does help to remind us why businesses must put the emphasis on their people when it comes to good cybersecurity. The key to detecting and stopping insider-led data security breaches starts with understanding the people who are behind them. Who are they? What are their wants and needs? What problems do they face?

All too often, breaches start with an unhappy, disgruntled or unenthused employee (or even a third-party contractor). That person may decide to act maliciously, stealing or destroying valuable information out of spite, or they might just accidentally compromise data out of negligence. Either way, this is bad for business.

Understanding user behaviour and having the tools that spot unusual, suspicious or policy-breaking activity are key to catching the early indicators of a breach. Establishing the context behind a user’s actions also means that breach investigations can be handled properly, that business leaders can learn from incidents — implementing overdue changes that improve work and coaching staff in better cybersecurity habits.

Today, there is a strong tendency for an ‘us versus them’ mentality to form between cybersecurity teams and insiders, especially if policies are seen to limit productivity. But, I argue zero-tolerance scare-tactics aren’t going to help you get the best out of people. Trust and understanding must be put (back) at the very heart of cybersecurity to get the best results, particularly when it comes to the insider threat problem. Ultimately, that’s an approach that will make today a lot less blue.

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