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How to prevent insider threat from compromising your business

How to prevent insider threat from compromising your business

Technology is more robust than ever when it comes to security vulnerabilities, but that doesn’t mean cyberattacks are any less prevalent than they always have been. Things are getting worse, and it’s not because of hackers getting more skilled. It’s because criminals now have more opportunities than ever for leveraging human ignorance for launching social engineering attacks.

An organization’s ability to protect itself depends heavily on the human element, and no amount of cutting-edge antivirus programs and similar solutions can eliminate that. That’s why security begins and ends with human expertise and vigilance.

According to the 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) by Verizon, 34% of cyber incidents are perpetrated by inside actors, and that doesn’t even include the employees who themselves fall victim to phishing scams and unwittingly surrender confidential information to scammers.

Insider threat can be broadly defined as any risk stemming from your employees, contractors, and suppliers. Basically, any party with access to critical IT systems and data who could cause harm to your business either accidentally or intentionally is an insider threat. Mitigating these threats, therefore, requires the right policies, procedures, and technologies.

Start with the principle of least privilege

The zero trust model of information security might sound dire, but it’s also the only one that reduces risk to the lowest possible level. This approach revolves around implementing the principle of least privilege, whereby people only have access to the apps and data they need to do their jobs. For instance, there’s probably no need for marketing teams to have access to customer payment information.

Duties should be separated by role-based access controls, with group-based policies that prevent employees from having access to data they don’t need. Even if they might still need access on special occasions, all access requests should be clearly documented.

Adopting the principle of least privilege isn’t just good for security, it can also boost productivity by reducing the number of apps and databases employees use.

Monitor user accounts from a centralized platform

Monitoring employee activities is a contentious issue, especially if it involves their own work devices. Fortunately, there are ways to keep all business-related apps and data separate from personal ones. For example, there’s no need to have business data stored on employee-owned devices. Instead, everything can be stored online and monitored from a centralized administrator dashboard through cloud-hosted apps and storage.

Keeping everything in a single, cohesive operational environment over which administrators have complete control allows for full monitoring and audit trails without breaching employee privacy. For example, administrators can revoke access rights immediately if an employee is terminated or their device is reported lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised. Monitor the flow of information both in and out of your organization with automation solutions like intrusion detection and prevention, web filtering software, and data loss prevention.

Account for physical security

Another area that often ends up being overlooked in today’s digital age is physical security. Physical access restrictions are vital for any in-house systems that store confidential data, so server rooms and switch racks should be monitored around the clock with closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

Don’t forget security training

Last but not least, having a clear-cut security training program can significantly reduce the likelihood of data breaches caused by employee negligence. This program should cover relevant cybersecurity subjects like how to avoid phishing scams, password best practices, and safe file sharing policies.

For optimal results, create simulated exercises and provide security training at least every quarter (or when a new type of cyberattack makes headlines).

Simplified IT Consulting provides expertly managed cybersecurity solutions and guidance to secure your business from insider threats. Schedule your free consultation today to ensure your business’s safety.


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