When it comes to security threats, most businesses are focused on external threats from bad actors. However, you can’t ignore the potential for insider threats (whether intentional or unintentional). In many cases, insider threats actually pose a much greater risk to the business than those that come from the outside.
What Are Insider Threats?
An insider threat is an employee, contractor, former employee, business partner, or other stakeholder within your organization who has access to sensitive data and IT systems and could leverage this information to cause harm. A threat is just that – a threat. It doesn’t mean that these people actually want to cause you harm (or that they even will), but they have the potential.
According to research from the latest Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, there was a 47 percent increase in the frequency of incidents involving insider threats between 2018 and 2020. In total, insiders are now responsible for roughly 22 percent of security incidents.
How to Prevent Insider Threats in Your Business
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to reduce the risk of insider threats. This is typically done via a combination of technology, policies, and procedures. Let’s take a look at several specific ways you can prevent and neutralize threats in your business.
1.Perform Regular Risk Assessments
While there are certain overarching security principles that ring true across all organizations, there’s also plenty of variability. The threats that your company faces won’t necessarily be the same as the ones your closest competitor faces. The only way to know which threats are most serious for your business is by performing regular risk assessments.
IT risk assessments help you identify threats that face your data, networks, and information systems. They identify points of vulnerability so that you know where to focus your security investments moving forward.
2. Document and Enforce Policies
After performing risk assessments, you’ll create new strategies in response to your findings. The key is to document these new policies and enforce them.
Documentation is vital because it helps get everyone on the same page. It also ensures the same policies are continually followed even when there’s turnover on your team. Enforcement services as the integrity piece of the policy. In order for people to respect the policy, it has to be enforced on a regular basis. Letting something slide once makes it easy to let it slide twice.
3. Invest in Regular Training
It’s not enough to throw a bunch of rules and policies in front of your employees. You also need to invest in regular training to show them how to carry out these policies.
IT and security training must extend beyond the training you provide at onboarding. It should be a regular investment – quarterly at a minimum – to keep employees updated and fresh.
4. Use the Right Security Tools
Policies and training alone are worthless. You also need the right technology to help cancel out threats. While you can certainly piece together different tools and applications, we recommend bundling security products together for a more cohesive approach.
For best results, try something like Converged Technology Group’s Assist360 Essential Security Bundle, which includes a variety of services that prevent both external and internal threats. Within this bundle, you get managed firewall, managed endpoint protection, managed email security, and more.
5. Get Serious About Remote Work
For all of the benefits that remote work offers, there are also plenty of risks. From an insider threat perspective, you have to be extremely intentional about setting up guardrails to prevent your remote employees from sabotaging your company.
Insider threats from your remote workers tend to be unintentional, but they exist. Your objective is to disarm them as much as possible so that they can’t compromise your business. You do this via smart strategies related to network connectivity, passwords, and access control.
When employees work remotely, you don’t have any control over where they work. You might prefer that they work from home and use a private internet connection, but you can’t truly control this. You’ll have employees who work from coffee shops, airport terminals, hotels, and coworking spaces. One of the best things you can do is pay for a VPN service for all remote employees. This minimizes security vulnerabilities when using public WiFi.
Keep Your Business Safe
While it’s easy to focus on external threats and unknown factors outside of your business, the reality is that some of your biggest threats are within the four walls of your company. If you can neutralize these threats, it frees up time and resources to invest in other areas of your business.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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