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Reduce the Risk of Insider Threats

When organisations think of threats towards their business, the first point of blame is usually external. However, internal threats are increasingly becoming a concern for modern businesses, with a variety of potential culprits being overlooked.

What many employers neglect to take into consideration is that past employees can often retain the same access to networks and files as current employees. Network administrators may forget to remove employees from business systems when they leave (be that temporarily or altogether), meaning that they retain the exact same access as they had before they left. These access rights must be revoked as soon as employees leave the organisation - and altered if their position within the business changes.

Ex-employees may have been fired or believe they were treated unjustly, and can use this as motivation to sabotage the business by abusing their access rights. It is important to note that ex-employees may also wish to access sensitive information if they are currently employed by a direct competitor, to gain substantial competitive advantage.

Contractors and third parties are seen as a trusted party within business, but the truth of the fact is that they can also pose a serious threat to business operation. They are given access to valuable business systems and data, but along with this responsibility is the opportunity to abuse this information to benefit their own means. Access by third parties must be managed at all times in order to fully prevent privilege escalation.

There is a degree of leniency when it comes to perceived insider threats, with 71% of instances being caused by genuine error - as opposed to 29% being undertaken with malicious intent. However, employers must ensure that any suspicious instances are fully investigated to guarantee full and comprehensive business continuity.

Although insider threats can be caused by malicious applications, it is primarily a ‘people problem’, and there are several things businesses can do protect themselves from these threats. One of the most imperative actions that must be undertaken is to educate their staff on company policies and legal frameworks surrounding the issue, and ensure these are fully enforced. However, it is also important that business ensure that employees are happy and motivated within the workplace, as this can help prevent problems escalating.

One of the most important measures that can be put in place to help target insider threats is consistent monitoring from a trusted IT Support provider. This can provide peace of mind that all staff and contractor access is kept up to date at all times, ensuring systems cannot be maliciously corrupted due to outdated access rights. Having professional IT Support can also aid in training staff on security policies and frameworks, which combats the issue of employee error and keeps the organisation up to date on how to prevent these mistakes from occurring.

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