May 22, 2023

Insider Risk: Understanding the Threat and How to Prevent It

Insider Risk: Understanding the Threat and How to Prevent It

According to a 2021 Insider Threat Report, 68% of organizations have experienced an insider breach in the past 12 months, and 58% of those breaches involved sensitive data. The same report found that 62% of organizations believe that privileged users pose the biggest insider threat risk, and 60% of insider breaches are caused by employees who accidentally expose sensitive data. Another report by the Ponemon Institute found that the average cost of an insider-related incident is $11.45 million.

As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology, the risk of insider threats is also on the rise. Insider risk refers to the risk posed by employees or other insiders who misuse their authorized access to an organization's systems or data for personal gain, malicious purposes, or unintentional errors. In this blog post, we will discuss some common signs of insider risk and how to prevent them.

Disgruntled Employees: Disgruntled employees who are unhappy with their jobs, managers, or company culture may pose a threat to the organization's security. They may attempt to sabotage the network, leak sensitive data, or engage in other malicious activities.

Access Misuse: Employees with privileged access to sensitive data or systems may misuse their access for personal gain or to carry out unauthorized actions. For example, an employee may steal customer data to sell it to a competitor or delete important files to cause disruption.

Suspicious Network Activity: Unusual network activity, such as frequent login attempts, multiple failed login attempts, or access from unusual locations, may indicate a potential insider threat.

Data Exfiltration: Data exfiltration refers to the unauthorized transfer of data from an organization's network to an external location. This can happen through email, cloud storage, or other means. Employees may steal data for personal gain, or they may be targeted by outside actors to exfiltrate sensitive data.

Poor Security Practices: Employees who do not follow security policies or who have poor security hygiene may inadvertently put the organization at risk. This may include sharing passwords, using weak passwords, or failing to encrypt sensitive data.

To prevent insider risk, businesses should implement a comprehensive security program that includes employee training, regular security assessments, and monitoring of network activity. Other strategies may include implementing access controls, using data loss prevention tools, and conducting regular security awareness training for employees.

Insider risk is a growing concern for businesses of all sizes. By understanding the signs of insider risk and taking proactive steps to prevent it, organizations can protect themselves from potential threats and ensure the security of their systems and data. If you need any help implementing any of these controls, please contact us.

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