How To Protect Your Business From Insider Threats
Your entire team should be well-educated on the best practices of cybersecurity, even for small businesses.
When we think about insider threats, our mind typically goes to disgruntled employees that have certain intentions to perform a malicious act. What we don’t consider are the employees posing a threat due to lack of knowledge and negligence.
An insider threat is a security risk that originates from inside the organization. These threats could be the current or former employees, business associates, or contractors who have access to critical and sensitive information within the organization’s network, and computer systems.
What are the Types of Insider Threats?
Understanding the types of insider threats will help you better protect your data from the risks associated with it. There are multiple types of insider threats that are categorized depending on the intent of the person involved.
These insiders or pawns do not have the intention to put the organization at risk, but by behaving in insecure ways, they may do so non-maliciously. For example, leaving devices unattended or falling victim to a scam. Employees who don’t have proper knowledge and awareness may accidentally click on an insecure link that can infect the office system with malware.
Also referred to as “turncloaks”. An insider who has every intention to steal malicious data for financial or personal gains. In most cases, it is an employee or contractor who has legitimate credentials but is abusing their access for profit. For example, it can be a disgruntled employee whose goal is to sabotage the company by stealing and selling intellectual property.
These insiders can be contractors or vendors that an organization has given some kind of access to its network. These insiders compromise an organization’s security through misuse or malicious use of business assets.
Signs of an Insider Threat
There are a few indicators that would suggest an insider threat, it can be at a network level or an employee’s change in behavior. Here are a few signs of insider threat:
- Efforts to sidestep security
- Being in the office during after work hours
- Displaying disgruntled behavior toward colleagues
- Violation of corporate policies
- Downloading significant amounts of data
- Accessing sensitive data that are not associated with their job
- Use of unauthorized storage devices
- Data hoarding and duplicating files from sensitive folders
Tips & Best Practices to Prevent Insider Threats
a. Monitor User Behavior and Manage Accounts
Monitoring user behavior in real-time to predict abnormal user behavior related to potential data theft, potential sabotage, or misuse. Another way to minimize the risk of insider threats is to closely monitor and manage your employee accounts. It helps restrict the amount of data available to employees who has the intention to carry out a malicious attack against the business.
This also means that attackers or cybercriminals who have gained access to an employee’s account will have limited permission to access all corners of the company’s network.
b. Enforce Security Policies
Your organization should also enforce a security policy that will safeguard your business against insider threats. The security policy will include procedures and processes that will prevent and identify any malicious activities.
The policy should also include details about limiting access to personal data about employees and specify who can access what data, under what circumstances, and who can they share the information with.
Besides, employees are now bringing their own devices and can access the company network through their devices. Unsecured devices can leave your business data and assets exposed. Ensuring you have endpoint security installed can mitigate the risks.
c. Provide Security Awareness Training
No matter what type of security solutions your organization invests in, you can’t easily predict a human error and minimize risk. Users are still considered as a vulnerable link to cybersecurity thus the importance of training and proper guidance.
Get employees to properly understand the difference between strong and weak passwords, get them to learn and be aware of scams, phishing emails, and the use of personal devices within the office.
Everyone in the organization should be familiar with your security policies and procedures and document them to prevent insider threats.
d. Conduct Proactive Network Monitoring
Each area, department, and corner of your business should be monitored including the on-premises, and cloud environment. 24/7 monitoring will allow you to quickly identify events that will require an immediate response.
Also, it will increase awareness of your employee’s actions such as attempts to access files outside of working hours or downloading an unnecessary application.
Insider threats are harder to identify compared to external threats, they come undetected by firewalls and intrusion detection systems. Malicious insiders, specifically, who are familiar with your organization’s security measures can easily avoid detection.
Any business, large or small can suffer an attack from an insider threat. As an IT service provider, we are committed to securing your data and protecting your business from any kind of cybersecurity risk. Want to learn more about our services? Contact us today!