Protect Your Business from Insider Threats

Insider Threats

When you think about protecting your business from security threats, you’re probably picturing external threats, like hackers. But insider threats can be just as big a concern. As much as 66 percent of organizations consider malicious insider attacks or accidental breaches more likely than external attacks. Over the last two years, the number of insider incidents has increased by 44 percent. The cost per insider threat in 2022 is $15.38 million. Although most of your employees will have your company’s best interests at heart, you may have good cause for concern.

There are two types of insider threats. The first is accidental. This means your employee may negligently cause a data breach, disclose information where they shouldn’t, or allow malware into your network by falling for a good phishing email. Although unintentional, these threats create real risk and could cost you money or reputation. 

The best avenues to combat these threats are education, communicating technology policies often, and keeping security front of mind with fake phishing and regular reminders about current cybersecurity threats.  

Then there are threats where the person involved has more foresight and malicious intent. This involves employees, former employees and others with access to your organization who engage in fraud, theft and sabotage of your systems and information. Few business leaders like to think about these insider threats, but ignoring them will leave your business more vulnerable. Executives and owners need to control their risk and mitigate threats and vulnerabilities as much as possible.

Create clear-cut security policies

All your existing employees and any future employees can benefit from a document that details your security policies. The type of policies you include will vary according to the nature of your business. Let’s use an email policy as an example: You might provide your employees with instructions to avoid opening links or attachments from unknown email addresses. When policies are documented clearly and shared for easy reference, negligent insider threats are less likely to happen.

Generate different levels of access

Depending on the size of your business, it’s unlikely that employees at all levels need to access the same type of information. Of course, it’s easy to state that all employees can access the same information and make them sign an NDA. However, the greater the number of people who can access information, the more chances there are for errors and oversights to occur. Instead, create access levels that are granted on a need-to-know basis. If an employee doesn’t need to know something, they shouldn’t be able to access that specific document or secure server.

Document termination procedures

Presumably, you performed a background check before hiring an employee. You probably checked references and also used a little intuition when choosing to bring someone aboard. However, when that person resigns or is asked to leave, a clear-cut list of job termination related tasks should begin immediately. 

It’s not always as simple as disabling an account or taking possession of their laptop, so employing a checklist may help ensure it’s all covered. Make sure you remove their name from any physical access lists, remove key card access, change locks or door codes they had access to, change passwords and disable accounts for systems or applications they used, remove their work email account and associated emails from their personal mobile device (if company-owned and accessible), notify your team and any clients the employee serviced, and notify all of your service providers, too. 

And, remember, just because a former or current employee has an admin password to your systems, they do not have implicit authorization to access those systems. You have recourse with local and federal law enforcement for any unauthorized use of information, even when you slip up on removing access and changing all the right passwords.

Mitigating insider threats involves ongoing effort and some expense, but it pales in comparison to the possible damage an insider incident can do to your company checkbook and reputation. Be proactive and defend your livelihood with an uncompromising posture on cybersecurity and physical security.

Need cyber security support? Contact our experts!

Share the IT Brain Power

Posted in

Grey Matter

More from the BECA Blog

Managed IT services

Navigating the MSP Landscape: Examples of Managed IT Service Providers Suited for BECA

In the rapidly evolving world of IT, the concept of Managed IT Services is becoming increasingly important for companies seeking...
Managed IT

Deciphering Managed IT Services: The BECA Paradigm

In today's digitalized business landscape, IT is not just a support function but a core element that drives business success....
Managed IT Services

Unpacking Managed IT Services vs.Traditional IT Services: The BECA Perspective

In a world where technology governs almost every aspect of business, organizations are often faced with a critical decision: to...