The recent Amazon outage of its S3 servers was dialed down to a typo by an Amazon employee. Human error is one of the leading causes of downtime today, and also the most preventable.
Unfortunately, there is no one simple answer to completely eradicating human error from your business; humans are bound to make mistakes. However, these mistakes should be accounted for; and with the proper preparation, steps can be made to minimize human errors and ensure a speedy recovery if one does occur. Check out these 5 tips for minimizing the occurrence and affects of human error on your business:
1. Train, Train, Train
A business is only as strong as its weakest link; and that weak point should not be your employees. Educating and training employees in their job roles will help to improve overall workplace competency, reducing the likelihood of human error. This is especially important for employees dealing with mission critical data and technology. In this case, consider developing criteria for employee certification and test employees on their knowledge.
The biggest obstacle to training for most companies is that it is costly and time consuming. However, the ROI for training when it prevents catastrophic data loss and downtime is huge.
2. Limit Access to Sensitive Systems
Mission critical data and technology that requires skilled labor to operate and maintain should be reserved access for a few, well-trained employees. Develop a badge or sign-in restriction for systems that are sensitive to error. Reducing the access to these systems will reduce the likelihood of human error.
3. Develop a Strong Disaster Recovery Plan
Developing a strong DR plan, where steps are taken to identify and mitigate potential risks, can help to ensure that all of your employees are on the same page with regards to preventing (or quickly addressing) human error. Make sure that employees handling the most delicate systems read and understand the DR Plan.
4. Test your Disaster Recovery Plan
To put disaster into perspective, have employees run through simulated human error disasters. This practice will allow you to both test your DR plan to ensure effectiveness, and conduct a real-life simulation for employee training purposes.
5. Hold Semiannual or Annual Refresher Courses
Its not enough to hope that employees retain the information provided to them in the above efforts. These practices should be repeated with all employees on an annual or semiannual basis to ensure retention.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to human error is that if you don't address a concern, the likelihood of error will increase. Communicating policies and best practices to employees will help to create a conscientious workplace paradigm. The best scenario is when your employees start to educate and remind other employees of these policies and practices. Reducing human error is a group effort, and it starts with you!