Many threats and risks face organizations, especially as digital technologies advance and grow even larger. In practice, most companies already invest quality time to deploy preventive strategies that can combat external threats to data security such as hackers, phishers, and other cybercriminals. However, most never go far when it comes to measures of tackling internal threats.
In reality, insider threats are just as detrimental to data security as external threats are. By default, employees typically have access to company information and sensitive data resources. These employees, intentionally or unknowingly, may trigger malware by opening the wrong link or file attachment, steal data, or share confidential files using third-party software and social media instead of authorized company applications.
Although insider threats may be quite challenging to identify, taking proactive measures helps to forestall data breaches and compromise of data integrity. In this post, we discuss helpful recommendations to reduce the risk of insider threats from your employees.
Sensitize Your Employees About Potential Insider Threats
Many employees may be unaware of the risks their organization will face as a result of data breaches. Therefore, in addition to deploying the latest security system solutions to fight against cyber threats, it’s equally important to organize regular prevention training workshops and ensure that employees know the important steps to take to detect threats and prevent potential attacks.
Simplify Risk Communication
Most times, organizations are swift to communicate to their employees when a new vulnerability emerges. Sadly, they use too many technical when they communicate the attacks, this may bring little understanding of the effects. It’s best to simplify these messages and make them as clear as possible so that all employees may understand what’s at stake and how to prevent in-house mistakes that might lead to a breach.
One of the best strategies to avoid insider threats and minimize risks is to categorize employees into access categories. Based on access levels, you may classify your employees into two categories, the privileged and the standard.
In this two-tiered classification, privileged employees have the highest level of access to the business data. They can view and modify sensitive corporate information and client data. On the other hand, standard employees have restricted access level to confidential information and data. Of these categories, privileged users are potentially the bigger source of insider threat, and should, therefore, use more secure technologies and systems for their daily operations. Also, these rights must be reviewed regularly and changed whenever an employee is laid off or promoted.
Adopt Safe Social Media Usage Policies
Although many organizations block social media channels outrightly on company systems, even company-authorized social networks and internal collaboration tools may also pose risks. Sharing links are common on corporate social networks, and this may also be a source of malicious attacks, malware, and other threats to data security in the workplace. Hence, ensure that links shared are safe and only from trusted sources.
Beware of Red Flags
While most insider attacks are unintentional, there are exceptions where aggrieved employees go rogue and decide to steal company data or breach confidentiality. Usually, some signs may precede such attacks. An employee may begin working overtime onsite or log-in after business hours or on weekends. Issues like these must be quickly addressed to forestall disasters that may hamper the reputation of your organization.
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