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We often speak on the benefits of access control technology. However, one factor always present is the human element. While people have innovated impressive solutions, the flip side of human nature are the biases, mistakes, and imperfections. No matter how advanced our security measures become, the effectiveness of access control ultimately depends on the people who interact with it.

Security systems are designed to restrict entry to unauthorized personnel, safeguard critical information, and protect physical and digital assets. Human errors, whether intentional or not, can compromise or destroy a company’s infrastructure.

Human Error Cited as Top Cause of Data Breaches

According to Harvard Business Review, human error drives most cyber incidents. Take for example the Pennsylvania Department of Education data breach in 2018. A mistake made by an employee compromised the Teacher Information Management System. Personal information of over 360,000 teachers and staff was exposed, including their Social Security Numbers. In the aftermath, individuals impacted were offered a credit monitoring service as a precaution to identity theft or fraud. A spokesman for the governor’s office, Dan Egan, stated “we regret this human error and encourage those receiving the letter to take advantage of the free credit monitoring.” The estimated cost of the preventable incident totaled $641,000.

It isn’t just one organization’s bad day. From Security Today, a joint study by Stanford University Professor Jeff Hancock and Tessian found an astounding 88% of data breach incidents are caused by employee mistakes. A similar study by IBM Security found that 95% of data breach incidents are caused by human error.

With the digital age, remote and hybrid working, and hasty deliverables, people’s cognitive loads are more distracted than ever. People are more likely to click on a phishing email or send data to the wrong person as a result of fatigue, stress, and distraction.


Mistakes at work are compromising security. Remain calm, and don’t settle, there are measures that can close this gap.

Our first tip is to ensure users that interact with the system are equipped with the right resources. Selecting a program with training and support available is crucial to ensure staff is educated and prepared for correct use. An advanced system without knowing how to properly operate can result in ineffective results or difficult user experience.

Build a culture of awareness when it comes to phishing and social engineering protocol. Include security as a topic in meetings to share recent updates to the system, awareness of incidents, and reminders of best practices. Employees will remain vigilant and engaged through such initiatives to reinforce the importance of security in the workplace.

Institute a program that can catch misuse or soften the impact when someone makes an error. For example, ReconaSense will detect suspicious behavior and proactively increase security authentication where needed. The platform can be customized to follow specific protocols, set time limits, and ensure credentials are not scanned more than their intended use. Intelligent technology closes the gap of opportunity for human bias or mistakes.

After all, everything is on the line. Whether its personal information, critical trade secrets, or the entire business. You don’t want people, assets, and resources stolen to work against you. Knowledge is power, which we can turn around to harness in creating safer facilities.