Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, and it is especially true when it comes to work. In the workplace, stress can come from many sources, such as high workloads, tight deadlines, difficult coworkers, or personal issues. Unfortunately, stress can also contribute to human error at work. In this blog post, we will explore how stress contributes to human error and cybersecurity risks and what you can do to mitigate this problem.
Stress and Cognitive Functioning
When we experience stress, our brain releases cortisol, a hormone that triggers the “fight or flight” response. This response is useful in situations that require quick action, such as running from danger. However, it is not helpful in situations that require complex cognitive processing, such as decision-making or problem-solving.
Research has shown that chronic stress can impair our cognitive functioning, including memory, attention, and problem-solving abilities. This impairment can lead to mistakes, errors, and poor decision-making.
Human error is one of the leading causes of data breaches caused by clicking on malicious links, sending work emails to the wrong individual, or to the wrong external party. Hackers prey on this vulnerability.
Stress and Attentional Tunneling
One of the most significant effects of stress on cognitive functioning is attentional tunneling. When we experience stress, our attention narrows, and we become hyper-focused on the source of stress. This hyper-focus can lead to a neglect of other important information, such as instructions, safety procedures, or warnings.
In a workplace setting, attentional tunneling can be particularly dangerous, especially when it comes to cybersecurity practices. A stressed-out employee may not notice the malicious email address of a sender, portraying to be their manager, requesting confidential information to be disclosed. Thus, inadvertently providing sensitive information to the cybercriminal.
Stress and Decision-making
Stress can also impair our decision-making abilities. Under stress, we tend to rely on heuristics or mental shortcuts to make decisions quickly. While heuristics can be helpful in some situations, they can also lead to errors and biases.
For example, a stressed-out manager might make a hasty decision based on incomplete information, or a stressed-out worker might skip security procedures to save time.
Mitigating the Impact of Stress on Human Error
There are a few steps that you can take to help mitigate the impact of stress on human-error.
Create a Pre-Work Ritual that doesn’t leave room for the scrambling to get out the door, or gulping down coffee in lieu of a healthy breakfast. Starting your day off on the right foot will allow you to walk into work calmly, and not stressed.
Get Clear Expectation for Your Day – Having clear and realistic expectations for your workday is necessary not only to help mitigate stress, but also to be successful at your job overall.
Avoid or Reduce Conflict – Interpersonal conflict can wear you down quickly, emotionally and physically, and create a work environment that you do not want to be part of.
Be Organized – When organized, it is less stressful if you find yourself in a rush. Also being organized means there will be less clutter, allowing you to operate smoothly.
Create Your Comfort Zone – Your work zone should be a place of comfort for you; from your desk layout to your chair position.
Stop Multitasking, Start Chunking – Multitasking is a great skill to master, however, it is not beneficial in all situations. ‘Chunking’ is a time management strategy that allows you to schedule chunks of time to focus on a specific task while minimizing interruptions.
Exercise: Talk a walk at lunch. Not only is it physically beneficial to get up and move around, but emotional as well. Getting some steps in with fresh air helps blow off steam and clear your mind.
Be Your Own Cheerleader – Remembering to congratulate yourself for your hard work and efforts allows you to loosen the reins of perfectionism.
Jam Out On The Way Home – Listen to a song that you find relaxing not only caps off your work day on a good note, but also eases you into your evening.
Stress is a significant contributor to human error at work. By understanding the effects of stress on cognitive functioning, attention, and decision-making, employees can take steps to mitigate its impact. By providing taking control of the day, employees can reduce the risk of human error caused by stress and lessen the risk of a cyberattack.
Finding the right employees is one of the most challenging tasks for businesses. They need to find people who share the same values and work ethic as the company itself. We’re happy to announce that we’ve added someone to our team who meets the requirements that we were looking for. We think you’ll be impressed by their skills. Please help us welcome:
Kacey Kastroll, Inside Sales Administrator
We are very happy to see our team continue to grow each year, and we want to recognize the employees who have celebrated anniversaries this year while being with us. We appreciate all of our employees and all of the hard work and time spent with us.
Bill Weisser and Greg Pack: 9 Years
Mike Fisher: 7 Years
Mihir Jadhav: 3 Years
Andrew Arlick: 1 Year
Jessica Hornock: 1 Year
Rick Magill: 1 Year
Focusing on our goal this quarter, we continued to provide expert information to help your business grow and prosper. The monthly webinar topics ranged from technology, cybersecurity, business training, HR best practices, and more. We want to be able to provide businesses with as much knowledge as possible to be able to succeed. If you haven’t checked out our webinars, please head to our YouTube channel to watch them all. And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel! We are taking a summer break to enjoy the fantastic weather and travel. When the webinars come back, be on the lookout for them.
“Balancing the Scales of Cybersecurity & Insurance”Watch Now
“Why IT Compliance Strengthens & Protects Your Business” Watch Now
We had the excellent opportunity to participate in the 2nd Annual Helen’s Hero’s Golf Outing. It is a great cause, and we are proud to support it!
If you are unfamiliar with what Helen’s Heros is, they are a non-profit that provides services and support to individuals who face any social determinants of health. For more information and to provide support, visit https://www.helensheroes.com/
CAREERS Are you interested in joining our team and unlocking your full potential? Check out our current openings today if you are a career-minded individual with the right attitude, team focus, and desire to learn.
Friday, July 29th is National System Administrators Day and we would like to spotlight our System Administrators and their importance.
If you have ever spoken with our Help Desk Team, then you have first-hand experience with a System Administrator. They are to help determine solutions to technical issues you may be experiencing. But what does their day-to-day job really look like?
The roles of a System Administrator are board and extremely beneficial to have an organization run successfully. Their duties include, but are not limited to:
Managing Windows, Linux, or Mac systems
Upgrading, installing and configuring application software and computer hardware
Troubleshooting and providing technical support to employees
Creating and managing system permissions and user accounts
Performing regular security tests and security monitoring
Maintaining networks and network file systems
The main goal of a Sysadmins is to ensure that the uptime, performance, resources, and security of the computers they manage meet the user needs, and industry standards.
ERROR: An Error Has Occured, Please Contact Your System Administrator
Be sure to show appreciation the next time you speak with a System Administrator! Not everyone can do their job successfully, and we here at PGH Networks greatly appreciate our service team and the hard work they put forth daily! Thank you!
NEED TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT?
At this point, you can tell that we greatly appreciate our support team and value their expertise. If your organization requires continued technical support, please contact us immediately!
Hackers and others with bad intentions build this malicious code to disrupt websites and create a variety of security issues.
Hacked websites can cause all sorts of problems for your business. Just a few include:
Preventing you and your staff from easily accessing and updating your website.
Discouraging customers from interacting or making a purchase.
Infecting those customers with malware.
Theft of sensitive information, such as login credentials.
Company data being held for ransom.
It’s in your best interest to know how to remove a malware infection from your website. Keep reading to learn more about website malware removal.
How Do I Know if I Have Malware on my Website?
Malware can infect files, operating systems, and websites in a wide variety of ways.
Often, malware spreads through downloads of files with malware hidden inside, phishing emails, and clicking malicious links, the Federal Trade Commission explained.
There are some common symptoms of potential malware infection on a website to keep in mind:
Frequent slow performance and freezing or crashing.
Unfamiliar pop-up ads, links, and download prompts.
URL redirects that take users off of the intended page.
Notifications from search engines, like Google, that your site has been blacklisted due to malware.
Malware may be instantly visible or deeply hidden within your website’s code. A website without obvious warning signs is certainly a good thing, but it’s not complete confirmation that the site is safe.
Can You Get Hacked Just by Visiting a Website?
Yes. Visiting a website hosting malware can be enough to infect your computer. And, more importantly, potentially spread that infection to your website and all of its users.
Your computer could begin to immediately download a file containing malware, for example. The specifics depend on your security software, web browser, and other tools you use.
An easy way to avoid this type of malware exposure is to simply be thoughtful about the websites you visit and the links you click. Installing antivirus software can also help prevent future instances of malware.
How do I Get Rid of Malware on my Website?
Malicious software infecting your website is a serious problem. And it’s not surprising that you want to keep things safe for your company, staff, and customers.
How can you eliminate malware from your website?
The best way to get rid of malware is to ensure a high degree of website security in the first place.
Website monitoring tools and malware scanners can keep you aware of potential threats. Security software can prevent the actions that lead to malware reaching your website. Regular data backups keep sensitive information secure and allow you to restore your website to a recent version, minus any malware.
Working with a network security provider like PGH Networks can strengthen your anti-malware strategy, too. A trustworthy provider can implement a strategic and layered approach to network security that maximizes protection.
Manual Website Malware Removal
If you have the technical know-how, you can review your core website files by inputting the appropriate commands in your terminal. This allows you to see if those files, which are rarely if ever changed, have recently been modified.
This task may not be within your area of expertise, however. And, of course, you want to resolve a malware attack as soon as possible. Keeping downtime to a minimum is crucial. So is ensuring a safe and consistent experience for all stakeholders.
That’s another reason to find a trustworthy and effective network security partner.
Cloud computing is more popular than ever with no signs of slowing down. According to the Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Report, 60% of businesses moved their workflow to the cloud in 2020. While we can credit this transition to the pandemic, pushing business operations to a more flexible and accessible platform has made it easier to keep up with rising remote expectations.
Cloud computing doesn’t only offer convenience. It provides unlimited storage capacity, reduces technical costs, encourages collaboration and scalability and automatically updates systems and restores data. The cloud environment has proven to be highly beneficial, but many are still on the fence about putting sensitive information in the public cloud due to security threats and potential data breaches.
Data loss and security issues in cloud computing are common deterrents from making the transition, but there are security components in place to safeguard sensitive data and reduce instances of account hijacking.
How secure is cloud based computing? With proper planning and execution, you can face common cloud computing security issues and challenges. Here are five best practices for cloud computing data security:
1. Keep Hardware Safeguarded
For starters, we recommend installing a next-generation antivirus solution, which can:
Protect your computers from malicious code
Ensure automatic updates can fix bugs
Keep data backed up regularly
Encrypt your device’s hard drive for security
2. Ensure Data Backup
Most cloud computing providers offer a solution that comes with automatic data backup, but it’s still important to make sure backups are in motion. Audit your system on a regular basis to ensure that all backups are scheduled and occurring on a regular basis. You may even consider backing up your data locally; keeping a few copies of your data in different locations can reduce your chances of losing it forever in the event of an incident. We recommend following the industry standard, the 3-2-1 Rule: Keep 3 copies of your data on 2 different media with 1 copy being off-site.
3. Encourage Strong Access Control with Password Policies and Multi-Factor Authentication
All data should be protected by a strong password to reduce chances of data breach and account hijacking. Regular password hygiene is essential to the safety of your systems.
We recommend updating your password every three months and choosing a strong and unique sequence that includes a variation of numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters, and special characters. Most vendors will help you create a strong password by offering suggestions for updates if you’re having trouble coming up with your own.
Handing out your password to all employees might sound like a good idea for workload handling purposes, but giving too many people access to your data center can be risky. Ensure protected data by limiting access control to a few employees. Putting password policies in place can make your workflow more organized and set expectations for best security practices.
It’s also important to adopt multi-factor authentication practices to reduce your risk of experiencing compromised passwords. A second step authenticator makes it much more difficult for breachers to access your sensitive information.
4. Create a Policy for Cloud Usage
Beyond limiting access to passwords, it’s important to have specific policies in place for employees who will be working with the sensitive data. Create a workplace framework that outlines how to access the cloud platform, how often they should frequent the cloud, and tips and tricks for preserving the integrity of the data. A robust policy for cloud computing can help you gain peace of mind and help your employees feel more confident as they navigate the cloud environment.
5. Work with a Trusted Provider
If you’re ready to gain access to your files from wherever you are, whenever you want, make sure you find a cloud services provider that you can trust. PGH Networks can take your business to the cloud and help you feel comfortable and confident about making the transition.
Whether you’re in need of an upgrade or you’re ready to say goodbye to physical hardware costs and repairs, we can help you move your data to the cloud and feel good about it.
Are you ready to explore your options? Connect with PGH Networks today to learn more about cloud computing opportunities.