The Human Risk Factor in Cybersecurity: Things for Cybersecurity Vendors To Consider

  • UserVal Tsanev
  • May 15, 2024
  • 5 min read
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Imagine you've provided organizations with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions. You are certain that the organization is well-protected from any type of cyberattack.

Unfortunately, you have forgotten one thing - humans, the most unpredictable of them all. The human risk factor in cybersecurity is often underestimated yet when exploited, it can result in catastrophic damages.

According to an article published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the human aspect of cybersecurity can cost organizations up to $400 billion. Furthermore, 35% of this was caused solely by staff negligence and error.

This article explores how the human risk factor in cybersecurity can be a vital asset and offers insights for cybersecurity vendors to develop relevant strategies to address these vulnerabilities.

What is the Human Risk Factor in Cybersecurity?

The human risk is everywhere, no matter the organization. It is defined as the risk caused by human behavior. Understanding how human behavior can become a cybersecurity threat can help vendors provide organizations with all-encompassing cybersecurity solutions that target all vulnerabilities.

Cybersecurity vendors can identify potential human-driven risks by comprehending the role that human risk plays in the human aspect of cybersecurity. The human risk may take many forms, including- selecting a weak or simple password, accidentally passing private corporate information to an outside source, or clicking on a link in a phishing email.

Additionally, even while employees are aware that they should complete certain authentication checks or secure or lock their devices when not in use, they can choose to overlook them this one time. But it only needs to happen once in order to cause a fortune of damage.

Human Risk Factor in Cybersecurity: Pathways to Cyber Attacks:


Employees are vulnerable to cyber attacks disguised as legitimate emails, text messages, and phone calls, among other things. This might happen across all devices, including work desktops, personal laptops, and mobile phones.

An article published by Webroot's discusses 11 forms of phishing common people can fall victim to. Phishing attacks come in many forms, but all try to steal confidential and sensitive information. Common phishing tactics include sending emails or SMS messages (smishing) disguised as legitimate sources to trick people into clicking malicious links, downloading attachments (malware phishing), or revealing personal details.

Another technique called spear phishing personalizes these attempts for high-value targets, while voice phishing (vishing) uses phone calls to impersonate trusted organizations. Deceptive websites (search engine phishing) and fake WiFi networks (man-in-the-middle) can also be used.

More elaborate schemes involve compromising email accounts (clone phishing) or impersonating company insiders (BEC) to request fraudulent payments. Even seemingly harmless online ads (malvertising) can have malicious code in them.

Weak Passwords:

When discussing cybersecurity, weak passwords are ones that are simple to guess. They provide no protection against unauthorized access and might be an easy target for cyberattacks.

What are the characteristics of weak passwords?


Short passwords are extremely easy to crack. The fewer the characters, the fewer combinations a hacker must try to determine the password. This is why when you set up a password, it is recommended to use at least eight characters.

East to guess:

Passwords that do not include any special characters, digits, or a mix of upper and lower case letters are easier to break since they reduce the number of combinations a hacker needs to guess the password.


Passwords containing easily guessable information, such as key dates, names, and so on, are also vulnerable to hacking.

How Cybersecurity Vendors Can Address the Human Risk Factor:

Zero Trust Security:

Zero Trust security abandons the classic approach to network security. Instead, it implies that anybody attempting to access resources, regardless of location (office, home, etc.) or device, must be constantly verified via authentication, authorization, and security checks. This applies to everyone, from internal staff to external users, and ensures that only authorized personnel have access to certain important information and data.

Routine Audits:

Routine audits undertaken by vendors or organizations help them to determine whether users are reusing outdated passwords and not updating them frequently enough.

Identity and Access Management Systems (IAM):

Identity and access management (IAM) acts as a digital gatekeeper for your organization's vital information. It is a combination of tools and procedures that ensure that only authorized people have access to the correct data at the appropriate time. Essentially, IAM allows IT managers to regulate who may access what within your organization's electronic systems. There are multiple systems used for IAM, such as :

Multi-Factor Authorization:

An (MFA) requires the user to enter one more detail in addition to setting up a password. For example, after setting up a password, the user can be asked to enter a code or scan a fingerprint to prove their identity, greatly reducing the human risk factor in cybersecurity.

Single- Sign On:

Users benefit from IAMs single sign-on (SSO) capability, which streamlines logins. They can access several programs without having to remember numerous passwords, which not only increases convenience but also discourages people from using weak or reused passwords.

Behavioral Authorization:

Organizations can use IAM and behavioral authentication to protect ultra-sensitive data and systems. This advanced system analyses user behavior such as typing patterns and mouse movements. Using AI, the system can learn a user's "normal" behavior and detect non-human-like behavior, automatically locking down computers if behavior appears suspicious.

Employee Education:

Cybersecurity vendors can provide organizations with sessions addressing employees discussing the latest cybersecurity threats and how to respond to them. They can also develop scenarios for employees to act out in order to equip them with the ability to identify and respond to cyber attacks.

How can Cybersecurity Vendors Measure the Human Risk Factor:

Cybersecurity vendors play a crucial role in helping organizations understand and mitigate human risk factors. Here are some key strategies:

Integrating with Current Data Sources:

Cybersecurity vendors can assist companies in incorporating their security data—such as incident reports and help desk tickets—into risk assessment instruments. This offers insightful information about previous security lapses and user trends.

Tools for Employee Surveys:

Cybersecurity vendors can provide modules for anonymous surveys that are linked with client security systems. These questionnaires may evaluate the general security culture of the company, pinpoint knowledge gaps, and determine how well-informed employees are about security best practices. This information can then be used for targeted training programs.

Standardized Methods for Scoring Risk:

Cybersecurity vendors can create standardized risk assessment techniques based on survey results, past security incidents, and user behavior data. This makes it possible to evaluate human risk more objectively across various client organizations.


The human element remains a critical, and often challenging, aspect of cybersecurity. Cybersecurity vendors can empower organizations to build a more secure cybersecurity system by understanding these vulnerabilities and providing solutions for them.

Are you a cybersecurity vendor who offers solutions that reduce the human risk element, but are struggling to connect with relevant CISOs?

Here’s where Execweb comes in. Execweb connects cybersecurity vendors with relevant high-level CISOs who are looking for their solutions by arranging 1:1 meetings with them, This can help you shorten sales cycles, increase win rates, and amplify your lead generation efforts.

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