The dangers of insider threats: What your business should know

You’re probably aware of hackers, malware, and a variety of online scams and have put IT security measures to defend your business against them. But do you also have sufficient protection against insider threats?

Insider threats come from a variety of sources, making them difficult to anticipate and prevent. In this article, we’ll take a look at why businesses have such threats and what can be done to safeguard against them.

What is an insider threat?

An insider threat is any act carried out by someone who has authorized access to a company’s systems and data. This could be an employee, a contractor, or a business partner.

Alarmingly, cases of insider threats seem to be rising steadily in recent years. According to a 2022 study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, insider threat incidents have risen by 44% over the past two years. The costs to contain them have also continued to rise; the current average cost is $184,548.

Insider threats can take on many different forms, but one of the most common types of insider threats is the malicious insider.

Also known as turncloaks, these are individuals with authorized access who use it for personal or financial gain. Current or ex-employees, business partners, and contractors may all pose a malicious insider threat to any given company.

Human error caused by negligence is another common type of insider threat. This kind of threat typically occurs when an employee accidentally shares confidential data with unauthorized parties or clicks on a malicious link that leads to the installation of malware.

Examples of insider threats

There have been plenty of insider threat incidents across a variety of industries, including finance and healthcare.

In 2015, an employee at JPMorgan Chase was accused of stealing client account information and trying to sell it to an undercover informant for tens of thousands of dollars. In 2016, Anthem, Inc. had to pay a penalty of $16 million because an employee responded to a malicious email that opened the door to further attacks.

These cases demonstrate how insider threats can result in massive losses for businesses. They also illustrate how important it is for companies to protect themselves from such attacks by monitoring all access to sensitive information and data, especially when it comes to privileged users like administrators or contractors.

How can insider threats be prevented?

Preventing insider threats can be challenging because you need to strike a balance between giving employees the access they need to do their jobs and keeping sensitive information secure. Here are some tips on how to prevent insider threats:

Implement access controls

Access controls are the perfect solution to restrict any unauthorized access to data and systems. These controls can include user authentication, IP filtering, role-based access control, and other similar solutions.

Monitor employee activity

Regularly monitoring employees’ activities on your network is an effective way to detect potentially malicious activity before it becomes a major threat. You can use software such as security information and event management or user behavior analytics to track user activities so you can quickly spot any suspicious behavior.

Use secure storage solutions

Secure cloud storage solutions offer encryption, authentication, and other features to ensure that data remains protected even if an employee tries to access it without authorization.

Educate staff on cybersecurity policies

Employees should be provided with comprehensive cybersecurity knowledge, from understanding the risks posed by their routine tasks to learning how to effectively prevent them. Make sure you have clear security policies in place, and that your employees are regularly trained in them.

NetWize’s cybersecurity experts can help you implement the measures outlined above to help keep your Utah business safe and secure from malicious actors. Learn how you can get advanced security for your company — request a free consultation today.

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