Are You Protected from Insider Threats?

Employees are valuable assets to a business, but they are also considered to be insider threats.

As cybercriminals continue making headlines around the world with expensive and damaging cyberattacks, it is crucial for all organizations, large and small, to know about cyber threats and how to prevent them. Employees are valuable assets to a business, but they are also considered to be insider threats.

Whether they mean to or not, employees can greatly weaken the cybersecurity of your business. According to Chief Executive Magazine, more than 90% of cybersecurity incidents can be traced back to human error. The fact is what you and your staff don’t know can hurt you.

Often overlooked, your employees are the key to truly comprehensive cybersecurity. The best cybersecurity technology and practices can be undone by one staff member who doesn’t understand the role they play in cybersecurity, doesn’t know how to identify risks, or is actively trying to do damage from the inside.

Insider Threats

Insider threats refer to security risks that originate from within the organization. An insider threat is someone who is a part of your business network or has access to it. A current employee, a consultant, a former employee, a business partner, or even a board member can all be considered as insider threats.

There are 2 types of insider threats you must consider, monitor, and mitigate:

  1. Malicious Insider – A malicious insider is anyone with access to your network and sensitive data, who decides to exploit the privilege of access for financial gain or because they are disgruntled employees.
  2. Negligent Insider – A negligent insider is anyone with access to your network and sensitive data, who unknowingly falls victim to a cyberattack. They are negligent because they have either ignored existing security policies or haven’t been properly trained to identify risks.

When managing your staff, there are signs to watch out for to identify an insider threat. You should keep an eye out for the following behavioral and digital signs.

  • Behavioral – An employee or stakeholder could be a potential insider threat if they exhibit any of the following behavioral patterns:
    • Attempting to bypass security controls and safeguards
    • Frequently and unnecessarily spending time in the office during off-hours
    • Displaying disgruntled behaviors against co-workers and the company
    • Violating corporate policies deliberately
    • Discussing new opportunities and/or the possibility of resigning
  • Digital – An employee or stakeholder could be a potential insider threat if they exhibit any of the following digital activities:
    • Accessing or downloading substantial amounts of data
    • Attempting to access data and/or resources unrelated to his/her job function
    • Using unauthorized devices to access, manage, or store data
    • Browsing for sensitive data unnecessarily
    • Copying data from sensitive folders
    • Sharing sensitive data outside the business
    • Behaving differently from their usual behavior profile

How to Defend Against Insider Threats

Watching out for behavioral patterns and digital activities is one way to defend against insider threats. Many businesses give out administrator rights by default. This makes it easier for disgruntled employees to do serious damage to your system. Another way to defend against insider threats is to eliminate this vulnerability by limiting administrative privileges to those who actually require it and by protecting administrative accounts with the following:

  • Long, Complex Passwords
  • Multi-factor Authentication
  • Configure Alerts for Unsuccessful Logins
  • Limit Actions to Devices that are Air-gapped

The best and most effective way to defend your organization from insider threats is to properly train your employees on cybersecurity awareness. Cybercriminals continue to increase their efforts as technology evolves. For hackers, the best way to breach a network and obtain sensitive data is through untrained, non-technical staff members.

Attackers use popular techniques, such as email phishing and spearphishing, to trick employees into giving up sensitive information, which could lead to damaging ransomware attacks and more. If your staff is properly trained to identify risks, your company’s data may not be in jeopardy. Cybersecurity awareness training educates your employees on improving risky behaviors that can lead to security compromises.

When employees are trained to recognize risks, your organization adds an extra level of security. You will have more people, other than your IT department or IT partner, keeping an eye out for the security of your business. All staff members with training will be able to report any threats and will ensure that your information stays safe and secure.

National Networks Will Help Protect You Against Insider Threats

You don’t have to handle cybersecurity training and management of your team by yourself. National Networks is here to help. We provide robust cybersecurity training services for our managed services clients. We can also show you how to implement cybersecurity best practices that will limit malicious employees’ ability to do damage to your business.

Let’s get started today on your cybersecurity efforts and let’s protect you from Insider Threats, your employees. In Texas, give us a call at (409) 724-0440 or in Louisiana, give us a call at (337) 474-4249.