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How Can We Reduce Insider Threat Risk?

How Can We Reduce Insider Threat Risk?

It is not unusual for IT security teams to get so focused on stopping external cyberattacks that they fail to see possible risks within their businesses and, as such, miss attacks coming from there. In fact, insider threats account for 34% of all IT breaches worldwide.

Insider threats are most difficult to guard against since insiders take advantage of the high levels of access and trust to execute their responsibilities. Administrators and IT heads, for example, may have a valid reason to access confidential data. And then, they use this to take what they want and plunge the company into treacherous waters. 

Insider attack cases went undiscovered for an average of 207 days in 2019, with a 73-day containment time. This figure has jumped to 83 in 2022. Also, in 2019, breaches perpetrated by hostile cyber thieves took 314 days to uncover and contain, costing more than $1.6 million on average.

However, regardless of the obstacles, there are ways to prevent the chances of an insider attack from happening. With the right blend of training, policy, systems, and monitoring, many prominent insider assaults can be avoided. 

What, Or Who, are Insider Threats?

An insider threat can be an employee, external vendor, former employee, business associate, or another individual within an organisation who can access IT systems and essential data that has the potential to harm the organisation. Processes, policies, and systems that help thwart privilege misuse or decrease the harm it can cause help manage insider threats and reduce the danger of compromised confidential data. 

In most situations, financial and ideological considerations are the key factors that push people to be insider threats and risks to the affected company. Other factors are devotion to family and friends, a desire for notoriety, a burning passion for the home nation, and revenge.

Activities That Help Alleviate Insider Threat Risks

Your manner of approach to preventing and mitigating insider threats is heavily influenced by the overall mitigation strategy you select. Below are some basic security measures and solutions that can be applied to most mitigating circumstances:

Include insider threat awareness in employee cybersecurity training 

Before granting them access to any IT systems, all new workers and contract staff/personnel should be trained on cybersecurity awareness. Prepare and test your staff for social engineering assaults and exposed sensitive data. For example, execute phishing assaults on staff emails or conduct social engineering attacks over calls. Make sure that everyone who fails these tests receives extra training. 

Encourage workers to report security suspicions and vulnerabilities and educate them on how they can help mitigate insider threats. Consider providing rewards to individuals who adhere to security best practices. Also, you need to readily accept that you cannot wholly remove insider threats and create an insider threat detection system.

Involve the HR department in detecting insider threats

Malicious activity can be detected behaviorally and technically. With cybersecurity solutions, you can spot and monitor suspicious activities within your system. With this approach, the HR department will be instrumental in detecting behavioral signs such as inconsistent behavior and unusual interests in restricted-access projects. 

The HR department can help you discover and prevent dangerous insider activities by:

• Conducting rigorous background checks when recruiting new workers; 

• Reporting incidences of dangerous conduct to security officials; 

• Communicating with employees to understand the causes of risky behavior and assist them in changing it; and

• Notifying security officers of changes in employee status, such as promotions and terminations, so that officers can amend user access privileges.

Restrict access to essential files and systems

One of the fundamentals of managing insider risk is user access management. You want to limit users’ access to critical resources as much as possible since if employees have more access privileges, the more harm they can wreak if they decide to steal company data. However, there needs to be a sense of balance as employees should be able to use all company resources required for their daily routine.

One solution to this problem is a granular role-based access control system, in which a user’s access permissions are determined by the user’s role in your company. Employees should be able to access just the resources they require for their jobs using a role-based control mechanism. This way, cybersecurity measures can reduce the potential attack surface while not interfering with employees’ work processes.

Improves the reaction time to cybersecurity incidents

Responding to cybersecurity problems as quickly as possible is another crucial factor. The more time these insider threats have, the greater the harm they may cause. Since insiders know your cybersecurity set up well,  they can use this to their advantage by putting up obstacles to slow up the quick responses of IT teams. 

To respond quickly to danger, you must be steps ahead. You can make sure your cybersecurity system generates an immediate alert to every suspicious activity that will be reviewed by the security team, which will initiate a prompt response. When you receive the alert, you can analyse the related user session online and block it if it seems too suspicious. 

Recycle your outdated and irrelevant hardware and files appropriately

Before destroying or recycling disk drives, confirm that all information on them has been entirely erased and does not contain any files. Also, ensure that these old hard drives are physically destroyed – you can hire an IT expert just for this purpose. It could make or break your company. 

Get the Security Expertise You Need

The risk of insider threats can always be reduced, and having an expert responsible for this process is one key aspect of a good insider threat strategy. 

Connected Platforms has the expertise you need! Contact us to get started!

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