Human error is one of the leading causes of data loss in business (estimated at 25%), as well as accounting for 90% of workplace accidents. Therefore, it is in everyone’s interest, no matter the size of the business, the industry, or the type of business, to take steps to reduce human errors, and thus their impact.
From something as small as not saving a file properly, to the almost disaster that saw the entirety of Toy Story accidentally deleted, human error, though impossible to eradicate completely, can be managed and avoided with a number of different strategies.
7 Ways to Reduce Human Errors in Your Business
Update Software Regularly
Data held on computer systems is always vulnerable to being accessed by those who shouldn’t, and by keeping all software up to date, organisations can ensure that they maximise the protection offered against wannabe hackers.
An automated and secure cloud storage system means that even if something is erroneously deleted, it can be recovered fairly swiftly, minimising the impact and disruption. There are many different types of storage available to suit all typed of business, and the automated nature of the majority means that the risk is further reduced by not relying on an individual to save the data.
Automate repetitive processes
By automating repetitive processes, organisations can ensure details are consistent throughout, and reduce room for error. By using different workflow processes pre-programmed with the required information, through to having personalised business stamps to complete information, there are many ways to ensure that in a business of any size there can be a consistent approach.
Although training is estimated to only be responsible for 10% of total human errors, it is still an important area to focus on, in particular at the outset, when teaching an individual a new skill. This initial training is what is the difference between success and failure. For the 10% of situations where a training issue has been identified, organisations need to work hard to act quickly to get re-training in place to minimise human error.
Principle of least privilege
The idea behind this is that individuals are given only the necessary information and tools required to performs their job. This is often considered to be best practice from a cyber-security perspective, where limiting access to sensitive information reduces the risk, but can be applied to any type of work, even off-line. By making it so that only those who need to know have the information, or access to the systems, the risks associated with human error greatly decline.
Staff Awareness and a proactive approach
A big proportion of human error comes down to employees not knowing, or forgetting the risks. Even with cyber-security training, if the knowledge is not regularly reinforced even the most diligent of employees could fall for a phishing scam, or inadvertently delete an important file. By having regular training updates and reminders, as well as poster campaigns and prominent signage in the organisation, keeping the message at the forefront of people’s minds is often a sure fire way to reduce errors.
Single Sign-On and two-step verification
Most individuals can only remember a finite number of passwords, and if people have too many they will either go for a very simple, insecure password that can easily be guessed, or, worse still, write these down. By investing in technology to enable single sign-on means that both these risk factors are removed. The addition of two-step verification means that if a password is guessed, or in the event of a server breach, hackers will still not be able to access the data.
It is clear that human error has a massive negative impact on businesses. However, there are steps that can be taken to improve and automate processes to ensure consistency, as well as steps to help reduce human errors through training and support.