Thought leadership

TAG Cyber interview: Human layer security with Egress CEO Tony Pepper

by Rebecca Bailey
Published on 26th Oct 2020
Microphone Interview 1003X250 22Kb

In a recent interview with Katie Teitler, Senior Analyst at TAG Cyber LLC, Egress CEO Tony Pepper explained why organisations are more in need of human layer security than ever before (don't forget, you can use Tag Cyber's Human Layer Security Maturity Model to analyse your organisation's approach). Watch the full interview below or scroll for our round-up of Katie and Tony's conversation.



Opening the interview, Katie explains that the work Egress does to provide human layer security solutions "complements the pressures, fears and uncertainties of everything going on in the world right now". This is a theme that Tony and Katie return to throughout the interview: fundamentally, the need to protect people as they go about their day-to-day jobs. In response to Katie's first question, Tony outlines that the world has evolved and, with it, the threats to sensitive data. However, while lots of airtime is spent analysing the external threats to organisations, in reality the greatest risk comes from the people within the business. And, as Tony is quick to point out, this isn't malicious risk - the majority of security incidents are caused by human error and "inadvertent" insiders, simply making mistakes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital change for many organisations and, at the same time, amplified risk. We're creating more digital data than ever before as employees continue to work remotely and organisations are forced to deliver services at a distance. At the same time, the factors that play into accidental data breaches - like being tired and stressed - are amplified in the COVID-19 world, where people work from dining tables and bedrooms, with spouses, roommates, children and pets in the background. In this environment, Tony explains, it becomes much easier to send an email to the wrong person or attach the wrong file, as people hurriedly communicate in spite of ongoing distractions.

"People need a safety net, day-in and day-out," Tony states, as he explains the role that technology needs to play to mitigate this risk. "Enterprises have deployed security at the network layer and at the application layer. Now it's time to deploy security at the human layer."

At Egress, human layer security is focused on using contextual machine learning to deeply understand an individual's behaviour and detect anomalies, "so that the moment you include the an individual into an email chain that you wouldn't normally include, at that point in time, it'll play back to the person about to send that email traffic-light warnings". Unlike legacy email DLP technologies, the solution has been developed not to overwhelm the user with inaccurate or too many prompts, but instead, alerts them when something is genuinely about to go wrong. 

"Static DLP doesn't work because it can't create context," Tony explains, as he talks about the rapid adoption of intelligent email security by organisations globally. The pressure has built for many businesses, whose clients are more aware of their rights to data privacy than ever before and are "solutionising" the problem by demanding organisations adopt technologies to mitigate security risks on email. "It's wrapping them up in knots and making it completely unworkable to share content with a whole variety of other clients and suppliers.

"Human layer security isn't just a differentiator to help your employees operate at pace, without risk and give them the tools they, quite frankly, need. It's also critically important to demonstrate that outwardly, to your supply chain."

Watch the full interview between Katie and Tony to learn more about the importance of human layer security and then use TAG Cyber's Human Layer Security Maturity Model to analyse the level of risk in your organisation. 

To learn more about Egress Intelligent Email Security, click here