IT services Los Angeles

IT services Los AngelesWhat Are Insider Threats?

Insider threats are data or information breaches that are facilitated or caused by an insider in an organization. These breaches can either be malicious, accidental or unintentional. Some of the parties who are at high risk of causing insider threats in a business include:

  • Employees
  • People with privileged access
  • Vendor partners
  • Contractors
  • Executives

Though you do not hear a lot about breaches as a result of insider threats in the news, the 2018 Threat Report by Cybersecurity Insider showed that 53% of organizations have been hit by insider threats in a span of 12 months. 

According to cybersecurity experts, insider threats are more serious and damaging than external attack threats. Studies have also shown that employees and vendor partners are the parties most susceptible to exposing a business to insider threats.

In order to reduce losses to threat response costs and lost productivity in your business, it is important that you implement policies that allow for the detection and blocking of potential insider threats. It is also important that you implement pragmatic cybersecurity processes so as to reduce the exposure to these threats and improve response to threats when they arise.

Common Types of Insider Threats in Businesses

Most enterprises tend to focus on bolstering their external security and pay very little attention to insider threats. This means that insider threats often go undetected for long periods of time leading to lost revenue, soiled business reputation, disruption of business operations and public distrust in a business.

To protect your business against insider threats, it is important to understand the most common type of insiders and the risks they pose so as to understand how you can prevent any potential damage from these parties. According to a report from the Security Insider, insider threats may arise because of the following factors:

  • People who do not respond to awareness training
  • Unintentional insiders
  • Insiders colluding with other interested parties such as vending partners
  • Disgruntled employees 
  • Persistent malicious insiders

How Can You Combat Insider Threats?

Though providing security awareness training to all parties that have access to business data provides a good foundation for combating insider threats, it is not enough. 

According to a 2019 Data Breach Investigation Report by Verizon, different business sectors/departments face different levels of risk. For example, research on past insider data breaches has shown that the healthcare sector is the most susceptible to attacks followed by business networks and financial services. To fight insider threats in your business, you should align your security plan according to the risk level of insider threats arising.


What Are Some of The Countermeasures You Can Take Against Insider Threats?

  1. Protect Your Sensitive Business Data with Access Controls

Combat insider threats by providing rights to data access or computer category according to a user privilege level or work function. This means that business data should not be accessible to everybody. Instead, it should be made available on a need-to-know basis.

  1. Encrypt Business Data

Encrypting your company data can deter potential insider threat attacks and at the same time limit access to important business data. 

  1. Evaluate Parties That Have Privileged Access

People who have advanced access to business data and information such as system administrators are highly susceptible to attackers seeking to gain unauthorized access to your information. It is critical to limit the number of people who have privileged access so as to protect your data. Limiting privileged access also reduces the level of damage that can be done in case of a breach.

  1. Identify Suspicious Behavior

Leverage next generation endpoint protection that uses artificial intelligence to understand normal employee behavior. This will help create a baseline that will help identify when an there is suspicious movement, such as someone attempting to access restricted files or logging in at odd hours. By being notified of any anomalous behavior, you and your team is empowered to take action immediately.

  1. Link Your Physical Security and Cybersecurity

Ensure that both the physical security in your business and cybersecurity are working in tandem. For example, security guards should do thorough checks to ensure that unauthorized items are not allowed in business premises. Employees should also not be allowed to enter the business when they show up at suspicious hours.

  1. Monitor the Actions of Employees More Comprehensively

Constantly monitoring your employee’s computer activities while on the business network can be accomplished non-intrusively. Even during these work from home days, This can help you detect any external and insider threats in real-time. With proper monitoring and logging system, you can even be able to block suspicious requests from insiders.

It is important to understand that insider threats can come from different avenues/parties and they can also happen because of different reasons. To combat insider threats, offer routine security training for employees and setup the right monitoring tools for better detection and remediation to insider threats. Prioritize your security plan for insider threats so that there is a balance between privacy and security.