Insider threats - It Can Be Bigger than You Think!

Click here for a more in depth look at insider threats and actions that can be taken.

June 30, 2014 by Alex Collins, IT Services Consultant

Insider Threats | It Can Be Bigger Than You Think

Increasingly so, it's not outside threats that keep chief IT security executives up at night. It's insider threats that are causing sleepless nights. Both careless and rogue employees can undermine business operations by leaking or sabotaging sensitive data.  According to Risk Based Security Inc., 25% of all reported incidents in 2013 were attributed to insider activity.  Businesses can take action to protect their data by becoming more familiar with the type of risks that are most common today and by creating a robust risk management plan to safeguard corporate interests.  The following is a more in depth look at insider threats and actions that can be taken.

How careless behavior damages your bottom line

Over 50 percent of businesses perceive that careless employees pose a threat to sensitive enterprise data, according to the 2013 Worldwide Security Products survey. Careless employees may leak sensitive data by:

  • Accidentally sharing confidential information with family and friends, or even talking too loud in public about sensitive information

  • Forgetting to exit applications or turn off computers, leaving equipment easily accessible

  • Leaving account passwords in a desk drawer or other public location

  • Accidentally deleting or erasing documents, flash drives, or server data

How rogue employees may be purposefully undermining the business

While careless employees can be trained to perform better, rogue employees intend harm. In the worst case, a rogue IT support professional or system administrator may have root access. Once this person becomes disgruntled, it may only be a matter of time before they decide to use their position of power to steal, delete, or otherwise corrupt company assets.

For example, a rogue system administrator may lock down CEO or CFO accounts, or illegally access accounts to steal data and sell it to a competitor. Worse yet, as long as rogue employees are putting on a “good act”, coworkers may not be able to tell anything is wrong. Some insider threats may even come from third parties, such as contractors who have access credentials and an “ax” to grind. Because these people may not be on site regularly, they have the advantage of being under the radar.

Risk management for inside threats

Nearly 50 percent of respondents to a survey by enterprise security firm Vormetric feel that it is harder to detect insider threats than it used to be. This makes mitigating damage more challenging. First, businesses should plan a risk assessment that identifies where the enterprise is vulnerable and generate measures to address these vulnerabilities.

Better education is a simple yet effective tool for safeguarding some threats. Careless employees are not malicious and most likely do not mean to put the business at risk. When IT services can educate these staff members about the risks of enterprise data loss, proper data management, and computing best practices, they are less likely to pose a threat.

Teaching employees about data protection may also safeguard against attacks from rogue employees. When data security is made an organizational priority, an employee may see something suspicious and be compelled to speak up. Without a focus on data security, the same employee may not realize anything is wrong.

Encryption can also safeguard data by making any lost data more difficult to leverage. Third-party data access software creates accountability by monitoring which employee accounts access which data. This increases transparency and makes it easier to identify suspicious patterns of behavior. Often, the simple presence of these safety measures can make a rogue employee reconsider acting out.

While insider threats are becoming more common, you can prevent many threats from happening and take steps to protect sensitive data if it does become lost. All Covered can play an important role in safeguarding your business from insider threats. Learn more today.


The All Covered Difference

All Covered is here to work with you to set up, configure and monitor your IT Security to prevent security risks like the insider threats. Our goal is to protect your company’s data and to ensure you have the ability to recover from a disaster or data loss event quickly and effectively. Contact us today at (866)446-1133 for more information or to schedule a consultation.