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The New ‘IT’ Couple: Automated Alerts and Cyber Awareness

The connected world that we’re now living in, along with the Internet in general, has undoubtedly made our lives better in countless ways. Unfortunately, they’ve made our lives more dangerous, as well – particularly when you consider the current state of cybersecurity worldwide.

According to one study conducted by Panda Labs, there were 18 million new malware samples captured in the third quarter of 2016 alone. That number breaks down to an average of about 200,000 per day. Likewise, new and devastating techniques like ransomware are on the rise. More than 4,000 ransomware attacks occurred every day in 2016 – an increase of 300% over the previous year, according to the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the FBI.

Based on these stats, it’s easy to see why cybersecurity is such a rising concern among organizations in nearly every industry. But the most important thing for them to understand is that the hackers aren’t some group of cartoon super villains operating from a secret bunker somewhere. In truth, they don’t need to be. Cyber-attacks are far easier than that to pull off because of two unfortunate little words: Human Error.

According to the 2016 Data Security Incident Response report, human error was the single leading cause of incidents by a wide margin – coming in at 37%. The next highest causes, phishing, and malware attacks, came in at 25% and are also likely attributed to human error to at least some degree. Phishing attacks are only as effective as they are because of their ability to weaponize someone’s own naivety against the organization that they work for, after all.

With this in mind, improving employee awareness and vigilance around cybersecurity is of paramount importance for organizations moving forward. Building an awareness campaign using automated alerts becomes one of the single most effective ways to accomplish precisely that.

Automated Alerts in the Modern IT Environment

To say that modern-day IT environments are growing more complex than ever is an understatement. Even businesses that are not technically operating in the “technology” space need a robust IT infrastructure to survive.  For most companies, this is the single most important asset in terms of building the type of competitive advantage that will carry them into the next decade.

Unfortunately, as IT managers are tasked with accomplishing more with fewer resources, this also makes cybersecurity and response incredibly difficult. IT managers simply do not have time to identify an incident that has occurred, then manually launch and monitor responses from a notification solution. Yet in the immediate aftermath of an attack when every second counts, this is absolutely the kind of thing that needs to be done. In that way, it becomes something of a paradox – the one thing you don’t have time to do is the thing that must be done above all others, particularly when human error is concerned.

Because of this, automated alert systems become an invaluable resource in terms of warding of cyber criminals and mitigating damage from security incidents. When an event happens to an organization that is using an automated alert system, those alerts are instantly sent out to appropriate staff members.

A system can take into account whether someone is on duty or off, on call or out of the office, and so many other variables – letting all recipients have all information as quickly as possible so that they can quickly fix issues before they cause downtimes or delays.

Think about it like this: whenever some type of event disrupts the status quo, employees can essentially be separated into two distinct camps. There are those who are affected by the interruption and those who can help get things back on track. The issue is that without the appropriate information concerning a security situation still in progress, those in the first category can absolutely make things worse for those in the second by way of human error alone.

An automated alert system doesn’t just help create awareness to the types of threats an organization faces.

It also acts as a reliable system to get the right information to the right people at the right time, so they can work as a collective to get things back up and running again. It’s also the type of solution that has never been more important than it is today… and it’s only going to get more important tomorrow, six weeks from now, next year and beyond.

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