Insider Threats: Spotting Common Indicators and Warning Signs
Data protection regulations require your business to assess all possible threats to the sensitive data your business stores or manages. While most businesses tend to focus most of their attention on external threats, they often overlook insider threats that exist right under their collective noses.
Although the market is flooded with cybersecurity solutions that promise to protect your business from all kinds of cyberthreats, they cannot guarantee or even assure you of protection against insider threats.
While your employees may form the first line of defense against cyberattacks, all it takes is one of them acting out of line to cause damage to your business. To put this into perspective, Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report stated that 30 percent of breaches involved internal actors.
The last thing you need is your business falling foul of an insider threat and facing regulatory action for failing to mitigate it. In this blog, we will help you understand the different types of insider threats, the warning signs you need to look out for and how you can devise a defense strategy to mitigate these threats in a way that will convince most compliance regulators.
Warning Signs to Watch Out for
Although accurately identifying and determining insider threats can be a tough task, there are some early warning signs you can watch out for to nip them in the bud. These signs can be categorized as behavioral and digital.
Please pay close attention to the list below. Keeping a keen eye out for these signs and recognizing unusual patterns could give you the impetus you need to fight insider threats.
An employee or a stakeholder could be a potential insider threat if he/she exhibits 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 behavior against co-workers and the company
Violating corporate policies deliberately
Discussing new opportunities and/or the possibility of resigning
Some of the digital actions mentioned below are telltale signs you must closely monitor:
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
Keeping Insider Threats Under Check
The only way you can avoid regulatory action following a compliance audit is by producing documented evidence of the preventive and corrective measures you have undertaken to safeguard your business’ sensitive data from insider threats.
Here is a list of some of the measures that should feature in your defense and response plan:
Identify and document where your business’ sensitive data lies
Control access to sensitive data and define privileges for stakeholders based on their needs
Build suitable infrastructure that monitors abnormal behavior and raises timely alerts
Enhance your regular risk assessment by adding insider threat parameters to it
Introduce a robust security awareness training program for all stakeholders
Devise a strategy to investigate a breach caused due to insider threats and get notified accordingly
Promptly taking these steps will go a long way towards significantly securing your business from insider threats and convincing regulators that you are committed to ensuring data protection.
It’s time to make this a priority at your next management meeting, especially since cyberthreats have recorded an unprecedented surge during the ‘new normal.’ You certainly wouldn’t want an insider threat making the situation any worse, would you?
Remember, you aren’t alone in this fight. Let us help you tackle this deadly cybersecurity menace and avoid regulatory action for non-compliance. Get in touch with us now!