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In 1991, the first RSA conference consisted of just a single panel.

In the decades since, it has become a pioneer of cybersecurity discussion and innovation, with around 50,000 attendees annually. Every year, cybersecurity experts congregate to share knowledge and learn from each other’s experiences to create a more secure digital world for individuals and organisations to operate in.

This year, the conference is structured around ten key trends that consistently arose in the 2,400 speaker submissions received. These topics are connected by a central theme of the human impact on cybersecurity.

How does the human element effect cybersecurity?

Many cybersecurity essential measures are rightly based around ensuring that your digital infrastructure has the proper protections in place. However, the human element is a key factor in keeping your sensitive data safe. It was reported last year that 99% of cyberattacks rely on human interaction to work.

While computers can be reinforced to protect against cyberattack, people remain fallible. They can be tricked or manipulated, they can make mistakes and they can choose to purposefully compromise your information for personal gain. Insider threats aren’t always malicious. In fact, Nucleus Cyber’s Insider Threat Report 2019 found that 58% of organisations perceive lack of training and expertise as a key barrier to insider threat management.

The way that people engage with technology may imply that people are more knowledgeable about the digital world. However, Carbon Black’s Global Threat Report 2019 found that phishing attacks are the most successful kind of cyberattack. Of the incidents covered in the report, phishing affected 33% of organisations, up from 20% the previous year.

The fact is that human beings will be present to some extent at every point in your businesses processes. A working environment with a commitment to cybersecurity at its core and embraced by every member of staff makes all the difference to how well your systems are protected.

How do we secure the human element?

Awareness training is a key step in ensuring effective information security in your business. All staff should have a certain amount of cybersecurity knowledge no matter what their role within the company, and this should be made clear from their first day on the job.

There are numerous ways to protect against the more common insider threats, but keeping your business frameworks updated is crucial. Like all other aspects of your security, the training your staff receive should be updated frequently. Your employees should be offered regular training to keep their awareness of common digital threats fresh.

The relationship between your network and the people that operate on it is a prime target for hackers looking to exploit your business. The best way to reinforce your defences against compromise is to a thorough understanding of the risks of criminal techniques such as phishing and social engineering and a working knowledge of how to identify and combat those attacks.

Knowing where to focus when it comes to the human element in 2020 is what the RSA Conference 2020 will ultimately examine. Expert speakers will explore in depth how people can be either the strongest asset or the weakest link in your cybersecurity strategy, from integrating a security culture into your business to ensuring that everyone in your organisation knows what to do in the event of a crisis.