Internal Security: A Guide to Safeguarding Your Organisation’s Data

Understanding the current threat landscape is more than a risk management exercise—it’s a strategic necessity for organisations to protect their information assets and maintain customer trust. How does a secure internal network safeguards a business or an organisation from data breaches?

Internal Security: A Guide to Safeguarding Your Organisation’s Data

In 2023, the number of publicly reported data compromises surged by 78% compared to 2022, with the average cost of a data breach reaching an all-time high of $4.45 million, marking a 15.3% increase from 2020. A secure internal network is, therefore, a vital part of an organisation’s plan to keep its digital information safe. It is designed to protect critical data and keep internal communications private and reliable. 

To do this, organisations use various methods, technologies, and rules to defend against threats from both inside and outside the network. This involves using solid firewalls, encryption methods, systems that detect unauthorised access, and controls to manage who can access the network. 

According to a survey, it takes organisations an average of 204 days to identify a data breach and 73 days to contain it. To avoid this unnecessary cost of time, resources, and expenditure, secure internal measures help organisations protect critical information, comply with legal requirements, and ensure their computer systems work correctly. A secure internal network is essential for keeping the business running smoothly and maintaining trust with clients and partners.

The imperative of a secure internal communication for a business

Companies need effective ways to communicate with each other to get work done. But cyber threats make it difficult. That’s where Secure Internal Communication (SIC) comes in. SIC is about keeping important company messages safe from hackers. It ensures that only the right people see the messages and that they’re real.

SIC prevents terrible guys from accessing company systems and seeing secret information. It also helps employees communicate easily and safely.

The purpose of internal security is to keep peace and order within a country or area by protecting against threats and enforcing laws. This includes:

  • Enforcing Laws: Making sure national laws are obeyed to keep social order.
  • Preventing Crime: Finding and stopping criminal activities.
  • Protecting Citizens: Keeping people safe from internal threats like terrorism and civil unrest.
  • Maintaining Public Order: Managing events and protests to avoid chaos.
  • Defending Infrastructure: Protecting essential services and structures from attacks.
  • Intelligence Gathering: Collecting and analysing information to spot and address potential threats.
  • Coordination with Agencies: Working with various security agencies to ensure all-around internal security.

Principles of internal security

Keeping things safe within a group or organization is called internal security. Here are some simple rules to follow:

Access Control: Only let the right people get into certain places or see specific information. This means using passwords, ID cards, or other ways to check who is allowed.

Surveillance: Watch what’s happening in the organisation. This might mean using cameras, checking computer systems for strange activity, or asking people to look out for anything unusual.

Training: Teach everyone in the organisation how to keep things safe. This includes knowing how to recognise possible security problems, what to do if something terrible happens, and following safety rules.

Physical Security: Protect physical things like buildings, staff, and papers. This could mean using locks, alarms, or even having people guard things.

Data Security: Protect digital information from people who shouldn’t see it, steal it, or damage it. This means using special technology like codes, firewalls, and other tools to keep data safe on computers or when sending it over the Internet.

Incident Response: Have a plan for what to do if something terrible happens, like a security breach. This means knowing who to call, what to do to stop the problem from getting worse, and how to fix things afterward.

Types of internal security threats

Internal threats pose severe risks to organisations, so it’s important to recognise, understand, and handle them properly.

This part examines the main internal security threats that companies face. It gives examples of how these threats occur and suggests possible solutions.

1.Employee mistake and human error 

Employee mistakes can create severe internal risks, such as data breaches, system weaknesses, and disruptions in operations.

Examples of these mistakes include employees:

  • Falling for phishing scams.  
  • Accidentally sharing sensitive information with the wrong people.
  • Improperly disposing of essential data.

These errors can be reduced by:

  • Providing thorough training programs for employees.
  • Enforcing strict data handling rules.
  • Setting up strong access controls and monitoring systems.
  1. Weak password hygiene 

Weak password habits can make systems vulnerable to unauthorised access.

Examples of poor password habits include employees:

  • Using easy-to-guess passwords.
  • Sharing passwords with coworkers.
  • Reusing the same password for different accounts.

These practices make it easier for attackers to guess passwords, access accounts without permission, or steal credentials.

To fix this, organizations should:

  • Enforce strong password rules.
  • Use multi-factor authentication.
  • Regularly train employees on good password practices.
  1. Mobile device vulnerabilities 

Mobile device weaknesses can expose sensitive data and networks to breaches and unauthorised access.

Examples of these vulnerabilities include employees:

  • Downloading harmful apps that compromise security.
  • Connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
  • Losing devices without proper data encryption and remote wipe options.

These risks can be reduced by:

  • Using mobile device management (MDM) solutions.
  • Enforcing security policies for mobile devices.
  • Regularly updating operating systems and apps.
  • Teaching employees about safe mobile device practices.
  1. Inadequate data protection 

Not having good enough data protection can make it easy for people who shouldn’t have access to it, leading to problems like data breaches or breaking the rules about keeping data safe.

Here are some examples of what can happen if data isn’t appropriately protected:

  • I am not using strong enough codes to keep critical data safe.
  • I am not controlling who can get into specific data or who can change it.
  • I do not have good plans for when something wrong happens, like losing the data or having it stolen.
  • Not being careful with how data is handled, like leaving secret files where anyone can see them or sending them without making sure they’re safe.

To stop these risks, it’s important to put strong protection measures in place, such as:

  • Using unique technologies to encode the data.
  • Making sure only the right people can get to the data.
  • Regularly making copies of the data in case something goes wrong.
  • Teaching employees how to keep data safe.
  • Following the rules about maintaining safe data that are relevant.