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September 11, 2023

Why You Should Focus on User Behavior for Cybersecurity


In the vast ocean of metrics, strategies, and data analytics, we often find ourselves adrift, wondering which direction to sail for the best cybersecurity approach. With the myriad of threats and potential pitfalls, it can feel overwhelmingly confusing. Threats aren't just lurking in the dark corners of the internet; they're actively being engineered by cunning attackers. Now, imagine if you had a compass—a guide that simplifies your journey. In this article, we emphasize the critical importance of focusing on user behavior and why it might just be your North Star in the convoluted realm of cybersecurity.

When we talk about user behavior, we're not merely discussing what users click on or how often they log in. It's about digging deeper, employing behavior analytics to recognize patterns and anomalies in activity. Why? Because malicious agents often leave subtle fingerprints in their actions. By understanding and analyzing the typical and atypical behaviors of users, we significantly boost our chances to identify potential threats before they escalate.

Consider integrating a robust human risk management and cybersecurity training program into your organization's strategy. Such programs empower users with the knowledge to recognize and thwart attackers before they pose serious risks. The advantage? By the time threats become evident to the system, the trained eye can typically spot them, thanks to an understanding of intricate activity patterns.

What are Cybersecurity Compliance Metrics?

At Living Security, we typically find businesses tracking training engagement or completion rates to meet compliance directives. However, solely relying on these provide an incomplete picture of security within an organization.

These metrics fail to take into account the nuances of behavioral cybersecurity. Reporting on the right human-centric metrics should be a priority for businesses, because true information security isn't just about the cold hard data; it also involves understanding the human side—the cybersecurity behaviors. This is where focusing on network behavior and network activity becomes pivotal.

Think about it: attackers are constantly adapting. The very malicious individuals that threaten your operations are studying internet security practices and designing attacks that existing metrics might overlook. To effectively identify and defend against such threats, businesses need to delve deeper into behavior analytics. It's not just about how frequently a threat occurs, but how users interact with systems and data on a daily basis.

Incorporating behavioral security strategies helps companies identify abnormal activity before it escalates into a potential breach. Financial implications aside, the real cost of a breach can be detrimental in terms of trust and brand reputation.

To help with this, we advocate for a holistic approach that includes both traditional metrics and the study of user behavior. After all, internet security isn't just about safeguarding systems—it's also about understanding the humans who use them.

What are User Behavior Analytics?

At the core of behavioral cybersecurity lies a simple yet profound concept: understanding the digital habits of users to better protect them and the network they operate within. Have you ever thought about how our routine cyber security user behaviors, even the most mundane, can provide a rich tapestry of information? When you look at data from the lens of users and how they behave, it shines a light on potential threats lurking in the shadows.

The brilliance of behavior analytics lies in its predictive nature. Picture this: if an employee suddenly accesses financial records they've never shown interest in before, it might signify an internal threat or compromised account. Here, human risk management helps in recognizing this anomalous activity and puts it in the context of that user’s role, access to sensitive data, and other employees who may be doing similar activities. These instances can be discussed to understand what’s happening and what to do next..

This proactive approach empowers us not only to react but to predict. It's the difference between cleaning up after a spill and stopping the glass from tipping in the first place. With the rise of sophisticated attackers, relying solely on traditional internet security measures isn’t enough. Instead, by integrating behavioral security with existing security information frameworks, we can fortify our defenses like never before.

Yet the significance of human risk management isn’t identifying risky behaviors, but in fostering a security-aware culture. To help teams grasp the importance of safe online practices, human risk management, offered by Living Security in our Unify platform, provides tangible evidence of potential threats that can be discussed on a business level, not just via manually-populated spreadsheets. As we move forward, let's champion a future where we not only identify risks but also preemptively tackle them by empowering team members to be more vigilant, ensuring the digital realm remains a space of innovation, not trepidation.

The Importance of User Behavior in Cybersecurity

In today's digitally intertwined world, relying solely on standard training completion metrics can lead you astray in understanding the full depth of behavioral cybersecurity. We've seen that these metrics, while valuable, provide only a slice of the entire security landscape. Imagine you're only analyzing a company's financial metrics without considering its long-term growth strategies. Similarly, traditional training metrics only highlight a portion of your company's security panorama.

In contrast, the power of user behavior analytics offers a more profound grasp of how individuals interact with information security protocols. This approach dives deeper than mere network activity; it focuses on the very essence of cybersecurity behaviors within your organization.

The heart of true security information lies in understanding how users behave. By solely leaning on data from the various cybersecurity technology tools you use, you're potentially missing out on those nuanced patterns that could reveal where potential threats lurk. Behavior, especially on the internet security front, provides actionable insights about how real people engage, potentially making them more vulnerable to attackers.

We need to identify those patterns to better defend against cyber adversaries. Why? Because many of these malicious entities are now capitalizing on user behavior to find weak links. In the same breath, behavioral security empowers companies to anticipate and counteract these attackers before they exploit these vulnerabilities. By actively observing network behavior, we can spot irregularities, identify potential threats, and process information that ensures a more robust protective shield.

To sum it up, while awareness training metrics provide foundational knowledge about information security, it's the insights from user behavior that help us truly understand and defend against the myriad of cyber threats. At Living Security, we firmly believe in taking the data from your cybersecurity technology tools and viewing it in the context of teams and individuals. With Unify, you can identify risks and trends across locations, business units, and roles. This view enables you to deploy additional training or policy changes to those who need it.This helps ensure that your cybersecurity measures are not just compliant but are also genuinely effective.

Remember, in the vast and intricate world of cyber defense, it's not just about the numbers. It's about the people and their actions. The next time you assess your cybersecurity posture, ask yourself: Are we merely pulling reports and taking an educated guess across multiple tools, or are we genuinely understanding and responding to how our employees can help us stay cyber secure?

How to Measure Cybersecurity User Behavior

As we delve into the realm of behavioral cybersecurity, it becomes clear that understanding user actions is pivotal. Why? Because understanding cyber security user behaviors aids in devising strategies to identify and thwart threats. Additionally, it's vital to measure cybersecurity behavior to gauge the effectiveness of our strategies. Let’s explore how we can gauge such behavior effectively.

Unify shows you data from your existing cybersecurity technologies, pulled into one comprehensive view: the HROC (Human Risk Operations Center). It shows you this information in the context of employees, so you can target those that are risky (rather than somewhat arbitrarily assigning training to everyone). 

It’s essential to monitor this activity consistently. By assessing these behaviors, we can discern any abnormalities that might signify an intrusion. Many attackers are adept at mimicking regular user behavior. Still, with the aid of behavior analytics, we can recognize even the slightest deviations. Regular audits and check-ins on network activity provide insights into how to help defend against future threats. 

By combining the process of active surveillance with behavior analytics, we arm ourselves with the tools needed to counteract malicious attempts effectively. Unify, Living Security’s Human Risk Management platform, provides this continuous monitoring. The more technology you integrate with Unify, the more value you gain. For example, you can see MFA hygiene issues, data leaks, phishing clicks, and whether or not employees are using the password manager. 

In the realm of cybersecurity, with the escalating financial stakes involved in cybercrimes, ensuring the utmost information security is no longer a luxury—it's a necessity. By focusing on user behavior and employing effective analytics, we can bolster our defenses, ensuring a safer and more secure cyber environment. 

Improve Your Company’s Security Awareness

Malicious threats are continually evolving, and attackers seek any opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities. As such, understanding cyber security user behaviors can be a game-changer.

Behavioral security goes beyond just monitoring activity. It's about instilling a culture where employees are well-versed in information security protocols. When staff can identify potential threats or malicious requests, they become the first line of defense against attackers. This proactive approach not only defends the digital infrastructure but also safeguards sensitive security information.

This intertwining of internet security measures and employee awareness can also streamline the process of identifying threats. After all, the faster we identify a threat, the quicker we can defend against it.

Living Security is a champion in creating this synergy. With Living Security, companies can foster a culture that truly understands the importance of behavioral insights for robust cybersecurity. By focusing on human behavior, companies are not just responding to threats but are proactively staying a step ahead.

In conclusion, integrating behavioral insights with cybersecurity measures is a robust strategy in the modern world. We advocate for businesses to adopt such practices, emphasizing the dual benefits of technical protection and human awareness. If you're keen to amplify your organization's security framework with a touch of behavioral acumen, we're here to help.

Remember, it's not just about having protective measures in place; it's about understanding the behavior behind potential threats and using this knowledge to defend proactively. Dive deeper with Living Security and take your company's security awareness to the next level.

About Unify from Living Security

Unify, Living Security’s human risk management platform, pulls data from existing tools together and, for the first time, shows which employees or teams are more risky or vigilant. This helps you take targeted action, quickly, by implementing policy changes or additional training to the risky employees, while letting vigilant users stay focused on their jobs. All without pulling manual reports across multiple tools. 

Ready to embrace behavioral cybersecurity? Learn more about our Human Risk Management platform here

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