Insider Threats: Is Your Business Prepared?

by | Apr 20, 2022 | IT Security | 0 comments

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Insider Threats: Is Your Business Prepared?

A recent study showed that 43 percent of businesses have experienced an insider attack in the past year. Are you one of them? If not, are you prepared for the possibility? Insider threats can come from anyone who has access to your systems—employees, contractors, even customers. And they can cause serious damage, from financial theft to data breaches. So how do you protect your business against these threats? Start by understanding what they are and how they happen. Then put in place strong security measures to reduce your risk. With the right precautions, you can help keep your business safe from insiders threats. In this blog post, we will explore what insider threats are, what motivates them, and how to protect your business.


 What Is An Insider Threat? 

An insider threat is a malicious employee or contractor who uses their access to company data to steal, destroy, or inappropriately share information. A data breach caused by an insider threat can be very costly for businesses, both financially and reputationally. There are steps that business owners can take to help protect their data from insiders, but it’s important to remember that no system is 100% foolproof. Prevention is key, so make sure you have a comprehensive security plan in place and keep your employees aware of the dangers of insider threats. 

What Motivates Insiders To Act?  

There are a number of reasons why an insider might turn into a threat. One common motivator is financial gain, as employees have been known to hack their own company for profit or Revenge on behalf of other people with access and effect over them within organizations that can’t be traced back easily without further investigation. A specific case in point being ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden who leaked classified information about government surveillance programs between 2013 – 2017.  Other times we see folks taking issue with how things work internally; this usually comes down when there’s some kind of power imbalance going forward which creates resentment towards those overseeing decisions from below (which could include almost anyone).

How To Protect Your Company from Insider Threats 

In today’s business world, it’s more important than ever to protect your company from insider threats. These can include disgruntled employees, former employees who still have access to company information, or even family members of employees with access to company data. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help mitigate the risk of an insider threat.

Preform Enterprise-Wide Risk Assessments  

One of the best ways to keep your company safe from insider threats is by performing an IT risk assessment. There are many different ways that an attacker could compromise a system. As a consequence, you’ll need some help identifying which vulnerabilities might be most concerning for security purposes. To begin though it can’t hurt knowing what critical assets you have- their location on your network infrastructure alongside any possible threats affecting them. 

Document and Enforce Policies  

Documentation is an important component of security. Every employee interaction with the IT environment should be documented in some way, whether it’s by creating an elaborate policy or simply following one that has been established before you start working for this company. It may seem like a lot at first but once everything gets rolling then things will run smoother than ever thanks largely because everyone knows what they need to do if something goes wrong.  


Some examples of policies that should be implemented are:  

  • General data protection regulations
  • An incident response policy
  • A third-party access policy
  • An account management policy
  • A user monitoring policy
  • A password management policy  

Enhance Your Physical Security  

An important step to establishing physical security in the work environment is hiring a professional team that will strictly follow your security guidelines. They should prevent suspicious people from entering areas with critical IT objects (such as server rooms or switch racks). If a security team or individual is too expensive we recommend at least setting up a surveillance system and locking key areas such as server rooms. 


Strengthen Network Perimeter Security  

Harden your network perimeter security. Configure a firewall properly and blacklist all hosts, ports, and DMZ only those you need to allow for the appropriate systems with whitelist functionality. This will stop people from freely crossing over from one part of your network while accessing other parts online through their own work computers. 


Include Insider Threat Awareness In Security Training  

Insider threat awareness is an important component of security training. All employees should be trained in the importance and methods for staying safe before they are given access to any computer systems or data that can compromise your organization’s information assets! 


Implement Security Software and Equipment 

  • Intruder detection 
  • Web filtering solution 
  • Traffic monitoring software 
  • Spam filters 
  • Data encryption software 
  • Password management policies and software implementation 
  • Data backup system 
  • Active Directory 
  • Endpoint protection software

The Consequences Of A Data Breach Caused By An Insider Threat 

If your company falls victim to a data breach caused by an insider threat, the consequences can be disastrous. Not only can you face significant financial damages, but your reputation may also be irreparably damaged. In order to protect your business from this type of attack, it is important to understand what constitutes an insider threat and take steps to mitigate the risk.

Common consequences include:  

Damage to reputation – Reputation loss is an irreversible action that takes place when someone’s identity or character becomes questioned in public. It can take years of hard work just to get back on your feet again, and this task becomes more difficult if you have lost the trust of those around us as well.  

Data Loss Or Theft –  Critical data loss or theft. Insiders can accidentally and deliberately destroy intellectual property, trade secrets personal information of customers to steal their valuable assets for years of work in an instant. 

Financial Impact – The financial cost of a breach can be devastating. With the price of investigations and remediation of affected systems, it can be a very expensive and time-consuming process.  

Legal Impact – This can include fines tied to regulatory bodies or lawsuits created by those whose data has been stolen and or used.  


In Conclusion

The business community is at high risk for insider threats. Insider threats can come from anyone in the company, and they often go undetected. Businesses should have a plan in place to deal with insider threats. There are many ways to prevent insider threats and steps should be taken in order to mitigate the impact.

Need help creating an insider threat prevention plan? Contact us today!

Maverick Gardner is a growing leader MSP (Managed Service Provider) in IT Consulting, Infrastructure. IT Services, Support and Maintenance Services, Cloud, Deployment and Procurement, Disaster Recovery, IT Outsourcing Services, and more!

IT That thinks outside the box…



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