External security threats aren’t the only major concern for businesses. Your business may be on the verge of losing millions to threats from your organization. Ponemon Institute’s report in 2022 revealed that insider threats have increased by 44% in the last two years, and the average cost per occurrence has risen to $15.8 million.
You may be living dangerously if you fail to implement the appropriate steps to mitigate this occurrence at your business. This article describes 5 things you can do to save your company from losing millions to insider threats.
What Are Insider Threats?
Insider threats are security risks that originate within an organization. They are risks your business faces due to negligence or the malicious intent of an insider with access to the business’s sensitive data, computer systems, and information on cyber security practices.
This insider could be an employee (current or former), business associate, or a third-party (hired contractor or vendor).
Not all insider threats are malicious. Sometimes it could be a lack of knowledge or negligence on an employee’s path. This makes employees your biggest cyberthreat from within. Below, we look into the highlighted steps you can take to prevent both malicious and negligent insider threats at your business.
How to Reduce Your Risk of an Insider Attack
Ideally, prevention is always better than a solution-based approach when dealing with insider threats. Every business owner must focus more on reducing the chance of insider threat incidents rather than finding the cheapest way out when it occurs.
Insider threats may include theft of valuable data and classified information, intellectual property theft, fraud, security policy sabotage, deliberate data leaks, non-response to security warning signs, phishing, etc.
Here are ways to prevent/mitigate them:
Operate Streamlined Recruitment Process
Malicious insiders could be planted from the start as a mole. But more likely is that they are people that have poor work and personal ethics. This can often show up in past work history if you take the time to look. It’s vital for business owners to ensure the HR recruitment process is thorough, and you’re not just hiring someone to quickly fill a position without fully researching their background.
Appropriate background checks should be conducted, especially on potential employees that seem overqualified for the post they’re applying for. The background checks could also extend to current workers periodically.
Integrate Effective Monitoring Mechanisms
Integrate solutions that can monitor employees on the company’s system and offline. This can help mitigate insider threats. These solutions monitor their digital (online) and physical (offline) activities and behavior, especially around the workplace. They help identify possible insider threats and alert the appropriate quarters to implement the best preventive control.
Some of the physical and digital indicators that should arouse your suspicions about an employee, business associate, or third-party’s activities include:
- Duplicating files containing sensitive data
- Staying longer than expected/required in the workplace.
- Storing data on unauthorized external storage.
- Attempting to access classified data unrelated to job/role/position.
- Violating company policies on cyber security repeatedly.
- Failing to apply necessary security measures.
- Accessing the company’s system outside of work hours, etc.
The right monitoring solutions and behavior analytic software can help detect these possible signs easily to ensure you swiftly implement the necessary preventive approach.
Implement Security Policies
The appropriate security can mitigate the effect of insider threats on your business. Ensure you clearly state these policies and implement mechanisms to ensure utmost compliance. The security policies should contain a set of instructions and guides that can limit and flag any activities that pose a threat to the business security.
It should contain instructions on the following:
- Data access limitations
- Instructions on who can access a specific set of data
- Conditions under which such persons can access the data and preempt measures before accessing it, to prevent leak.
- Appropriate authority to share accessed information with.
- Clear instructions on the use of personal devices.
You should enforce compliance and sanction any employee or third party that goes against your business security policies. Implement necessary policies pertinent to your business beyond the listed ones.
Ensure Optimum Data Protection and Strengthen Vulnerabilities.
Leverage appropriate data protection policies and tools to ensure confidential or sensitive data and those with commercial values are properly stored and protected from leaks or breaches. Most insider threats are always after sensitive data, which is achieved by exploring the cyber-security system’s vulnerability.
The need for maintaining standard security practices can’t be bargained if you truly love your business. Put in place policies/mechanisms that will ensure periodic security assessments to determine the system’s vulnerability and strengthen detected weakness as quickly as possible. While it’s true that a system can’t be 100% foolproof, constant improvement and management of the system’s weaknesses mitigate the possibility of internal and external attacks.
Organize Periodic Cyber-Security Training for Employees.
Organizing cyber-security training for current employees and third-party with access to the company’s computer system prevents insider threats due to negligence or lack of knowledge — one of the most common types of insider threats businesses face. With appropriate training, employees become more aware of their cyberspace and keep up with the standard practices required of them.
Ensuring standard cyber security practices and strict compliance with security policies within your workplace can help you mitigate insider threats effectively.
In Need of Cybersecurity Services?
Contact Connect2Geek to connect with the geek that can save your business from losing millions by safeguarding your sensitive data and organizing periodic cyber-security training to reduce insider threats due to negligence. Call 208-468-4323 now!