We live in an era where technology has made it incredibly easy to make data accessible to people anywhere in the world. However, with the many advantages of technology, comes the rise in new challenges that businesses now have to navigate. As we know, there are many different kinds of cyber threats out there, mostly from external actors. However, in many instances, cyber threats come from the “human-kind”, and whether it is intentional or not, human error has led to the demise of many businesses – accounting for 90% of all breaches in the last couple of years.
Insider threats have wreaked havoc on businesses of all sizes and it’s the biggest threat to the safety of business-critical data. This is why it’s essential to safeguard the digital doors of your business by all necessary measures. In this blog, we’ll review the main types of human threats that threaten the cybersecurity of GTA SMBs, so that you can learn how to avoid it from happening to your business.
The Motivation Behind Insider Threats
There are a couple of main categories of insider threats. There are people within an organization who act negligibly and can unknowingly compromise data, and then there are malicious threat actors who intentionally commit these acts for revenge or financial gain.
Unintentional or Careless Insiders
The careless insider also called the unintentional or negligent insider is usually an everyday employee who falls victim to a cybercriminal’s scam and doesn’t have any reason or incentive to breach your company data. They account for about 62% of all inside threats and get caught by activities such as:
- Opening phishing emails and clicking on malicious links
- Downloading email attachments from unknown senders
- Visiting sketchy websites on their work devices
- Using passwords that are easy to guess
- Unintentionally sending confidential company emails to outside parties
Malicious Insiders or Saboteurs
These are disgruntled employees who wreak havoc on your data security for financial gain or revenge. While financial gain is the top reason behind most malicious insider actions, it isn’t always the case. Despite being rare in occurrence, these threats often have much more severe consequences since the actors have full access and credentials to compromise your security. For instance, a Chinese national allegedly stole trade secrets from a US-based petroleum firm, with the value of these secrets estimated to be about $1 billion. Losses of this magnitude are usually quite severe for any organization, irrespective of their size.
Best Ways to Prevent Insider Threats and Protect Data
When a business falls victim to a data security breach, it faces more than just financial repercussions. The organization’s reputation, competitive advantage, intellectual property, etc., often come under fire following an insider threat incident. Additionally, there are compliance regulations that impose hefty fines on businesses for allowing such a breach to occur. It is estimated that 60 percent of companies go out of business within six months of a major data breach incident. That’s why you must take a proactive approach when it comes to combating insider threats.
Detecting Insider Threats
There are certain factors that can help you identify insider threats before you experience a full-blown breach:
- Human behavior: A potential insider with malicious intent against an organization will exhibit abnormal behavior. For instance, an employee trying to access privileged information and frequently staying late after office hours could be abnormal behavior to watch out for.
- Digital signs: Before a major breach due to insider threats, you may witness some abnormal digital signs like downloading a substantial amount of data, high bandwidth consumption, traffic from unknown sources, unauthorized use of personal storage devices, etc.
Defense Strategies Against Insider Threats
There are a few strategies that you can implement throughout your organization to minimize the possibility of insider threats.
- Insider threat defense plan: Your strategies against insider threats start by creating a defense plan specific to insider threats. You need to define what constitutes abnormal behavior in your employees and set up alerts for digital signs in your IT environment. Most importantly, you need to limit access to critical data and provide unique credentials for those with access to your data.
- Data backup: Backups are essential to protect your data in case of an unavoidable loss. With regular backups for your critical data, your business can get back up and running after a security breach involving an insider. Before you back up your data, you need to classify what data is worth protecting and create a strategy accordingly.
- Employee training: When properly trained, employees could be your first line of defense against various cyber threats. You need to create an organizational-level best practices policy that outlines clear instructions on BYOD policies, passwords, remote working, etc.
Reach Out to Us to Protect Your Critical Data
The average cost of insider threats increased by 31% between 2017 and 2019 and is estimated to be around $11.45 million. With the cost of insider threats expected to rise over the years, having a trusted partner by your side to protect your data from all kinds of human threats can go a long way towards securing your business. With our years of expertise in data security and storage, we can help you incorporate innovative strategies to protect your data. Book a meeting with us here to talk about proactive cybersecurity strategies for your business.