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DevSecOps: Mitigating the Threat of Human Error



Solutions Review’s Expert Insights Series is a collection of contributed articles written by industry experts in enterprise software categories. Prashanth Samudrala of AutoRABIT examines how human error will always threaten security, but a DevSecOps strategy can help mitigate it.

Expert Insights badgeCybersecurity needs to be a top concern for organizations in all industries. In fact, cyber-crime has been up 600 percent since the start of the pandemic. These attacks are happening across all sectors– small and large businesses alike. The results can be catastrophic. What can a company do to protect itself against this increased threat? There are various potential vulnerabilities, including system failures, hacked passwords, fraud, etc. But the most considerable risk to a company’s cybersecurity efforts might come as a shock: the employees themselves.

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DevSecOps: Strategizing Against Human Error

Human error is a major contributing factor to 95 percent of all data breaches. A successful data security plan requires a multi-tiered plan of action to defend a company’s IT infrastructure from becoming compromised. These attacks can be extremely costly, negatively impact consumer trust, and even lead many victims to shutter operations. The first step to properly protect yourself from cyber-attacks is to fully understand the threat. We thought we’d dig deeper into the risk that human error can pose to your system, the potential consequences of these breaches, and what you can do to prevent them.

Human Error’s Impact on Cybersecurity

Our team members are our greatest resource for accomplishing company goals. But along with the potential for progress, certain actions and mistakes can also expose them to incredibly costly data security breaches. Remote work has exploded over the last couple of years. And while this has saved employees the headache of daily commutes, it’s meant unbridled opportunity for those bent on gaining access to private information. Using unprotected personal devices, failing to download updates, and working on unsecured networks have been fertile breeding ground for hackers.

The increased reliance on digital communications, such as email and messaging apps, has made employees more susceptible to phishing and malware attacks. And while these attacks can come as a result of one small mistake, they can be quite costly. The average cost of a malware attack is in excess of $2.5 million. From accidental deletions to falling victim to a phishing attack, human error comes in many forms. A weak password, for example, can grant a cyber-criminal access to sensitive customer and company data. These types of exposures might go unnoticed for days, weeks, or even months while the cyber-criminals have free reign within your system. Eliminating or even greatly reducing these types of errors will protect most potential entry points for bad actors.

Dangers of a Breach

Failing to properly protect your company’s platform can result in a variety of negative outcomes. Most notably, the potential inability to access your system — either by employees or customers — can quickly impact your company’s bottom line. On average, every minute your system is inaccessible costs your company $5,600. Financial figures always get our attention, but they aren’t the only negative effects your company will see after a data breach.

Consumer trust is what keeps customers coming back for your services. This goes beyond simply providing a reliable service, but also properly protecting your customers’ sensitive data. A data breach — which often comes as a result of human error — has the potential to expose customer data, shattering their trust in your ability to protect them. And this trust is very difficult to rebuild. In fact, an overwhelming 88 percent of people say they won’t do business with a company they don’t trust to properly protect their data. Data security failures for those in regulated industries like healthcare and finance are particularly damaging, as they can also knock a company out of compliance. This leads to fines and penalties, not to mention a lot of bad press.

How DevSecOps Tools Help

Addressing security concerns from the very start of the development pipeline ensures nothing slips through the cracks. This is why DevSecOps has grown to become the new standard for dev strategies. DevSecOps tools like CI/CD, static code analysis, and automated data backups are a non-negotiable aspect of the application development lifecycle. Not only do they increase productivity and boost data security, but they also reduce the potential for human error to introduce vulnerabilities to your projects. Repetition becomes boring. And tasks such as testing thousands of lines of code become quite tedious over time. Automating these tasks through automated DevSecOps tools prevents the inevitable errors that result from humans performing highly repetitive tasks.

The potential for a piece of data to become exposed or corrupted increases with each person who has access. This is why it’s important to update role permissions through an automated release management platform to ensure that the only people who have access to any particular data are the ones who need it. DevSecOps tools provide more control over your development pipeline. Audits and reports ensure you maintain and keep a current view of what’s happening within your environment. Automated tools take error-prone tasks out of your team members’ hands. Scheduled and repeated data backups maintain a current snapshot, so even if the worst-case scenario happens, you’re prepared.

Human error can never be fully eliminated. We can only be aware of the potential threats and address them with intentional tooling and attention. Integrating DevSecOps tools can be the difference between experiencing a costly data breach and remaining secure and compliant.

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