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Why human error can be costly in terms of data loss

At a glance

  • A new report from Zurich and the EIU has revealed human error is the most likely risk to data security for SMEs
  • SMEs can take several basic steps to reduce this risk amongst their staff
  • Download the full Zurich/EIU report to discover how technology is changing the SME industry

Despite now operating in a world of potential cyber attacks and data loss, when it comes to technology in the workplace, human error is one of the largest risks for smaller firms.

A recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which was commissioned by Zurich, found that despite businesses embracing technology in order to share data and communicate with customers, only 46% of SMEs have trained their staff in its correct use. The report revealed that human error is the most likely risk to data security.

3 factors that can lead to human error within companies

  • Lacking of basic training
  • Staff overload
  • Subject disengagement

Even more disturbingly, just 28% of these companies regularly review their security policies, setting the scene for a potential reputational disaster.

A click away from disaster

For brokers, making their clients aware of these risks and also advising on training programmes for staff could be key to staving off possible future nightmares.

In order to reduce the risk of human error, here are three key tips to help ensure that data losses are reduced:

Basic errors: While human error is almost inevitable in some cases, it can be exacerbated through inadequate training and human resources programmes. If your customers have unqualified staff members overseeing systems without proper knowledge or training, then instances of human error are more likely to occur. If your customers have staff constantly making the same mistakes, then there is a definite need for them to re-evaluate their training agenda in order to fix the problem.

Staff overload: Stress, long hours and tight schedules can all affect an individual’s physical capabilities resulting in increased errors. If your customers work in ever-moving environments where schedules are constantly being moved around, then increased errors and decreased productivity can easily occur.


Subject disengagement: When mistakes are caused by forgetfulness or lack of communications within a team, then there are simple steps customers can take to reduce this. The key is direct engagement between management and staff. Simple reminders between supervisors and staff members can ensure that everyone remains more conscious of procedures when performing their duties – whether it’s data entry or social media updates.

With the Zurich/EIU report highlighting that two-thirds of UK SMEs now utilise technological trends in their businesses, and with this figure constantly growing, it will be the companies that make fewer mistakes in the future that will thrive within their industry.

Image © Getty

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