Insider threats are the highest cybersecurity risks for companies today. Maybe you have a small business where you know each and every one of your employees. Maybe you’re the CEO of a large corporation and you don’t have time to know all of your employees. Wherever you work, insider threat is an issue for you. No matter the amount of trust you put in your employees, you should always be cautious and protect your business! Here, we give you the all-access pass to insider threat and steps to take to protect your business!
What is an insider threat?
An insider threat is an employee within a company that threatens the security of a company, steals data from a company, or uses company data for personal gain. Insiders are usually current employees (probably on the fence about leaving a company) or former employees. It does not occur as often, but insiders can sometimes be third party contractors or even customers.
The most common insider threat is an accidental or negligent threat. This is when an employee causes damage, loses data, or threatens security without knowing it. “How do they not know they are threatening their own company?” you may ask. Phishing is the biggest vehicle for negligent insider threat. When a fellow employee gets a weird email in his or her inbox and clicks an attached link, he or she opens the door to a company’s network. Educating your employees about phishing emails and how to detect them could prevent you from an entire data breach! Don’t skimp on educating your employees at the risk of losing your data or your reputation!
The less common, more destructive insider threat is a malicious one. Malicious insiders target attacks on company data, IT infrastructure, or other employees. While angered employees or ex-employees are often the culprits, sometimes malicious insiders are professional hackers. They gain entry to the company network, sneak around the network to gain information, set up a workstation to execute an attack, and commence data destruction.
How do you detect an insider threat?
You can detect an insider threat if you use spyware scanners, anti-virus software, employ firewalls, and establish an auditing and back up system. But sometimes these don’t cut it. At Def-Logix, we have created Security Enhanced Systems that are programmed to do just about all of that for you! These systems are pre-configured to the highest security standards and have been developed from our experience securing government entities over the years. Not to toot our own horn or anything!
Anyway, back to insiders. Before installing anti-virus software or purchasing a Security Enhanced System, you need to educate your employees. If you don’t believe me, check out our blog post here about why it’s time! Educating your employees is the first step to securing your network from not only insider threats but other common attacks.
Design an insider threat program for your company
Every company, of any size, needs an insider threat plan. You need to educate your employees and prepare your company on what to do in case of an insider threat. Forcepoint has some great tools you can access for insider threat resources. But we have a few things we believe you should include:
- Establish a rule that discourages employees from digging around for an insider. If you have an insider threat of some kind, you won’t have to dig for them. If you have a concern about an insider, it is always a good idea to address that person face-to-face to find out if their behavior stems from something other than malicious
- Through auditing measures, you will be able to track signals of an insider threat, but do not ignore those signals. If someone is accessing documents they do not normally access on a daily basis, address it respectfully but effectively. Benefit of the doubt isn’t best for security.
- Inform your employees that there are, in fact, insider threat measures in place. Being transparent with your employees should be your top priority! When others are aware of company policies and procedures, they are less likely to step out of line.
Being honest with your company is important, especially when it comes to insider threat. Always keep security in mind, but don’t forget to respect your employees!