Should you be more worried about your employees stealing sensitive data or hackers? The answer may surprise you!

When most companies think about cyber threats, they think of hackers holed up in a basement somewhere dispatching complex viruses, or malware that renders an organization completely useless. While this can happen, it’s actually not a company’s biggest threat when it comes to cyber security.

blurry silhouettes in office

What would you think if we told you that your own employees themselves are your biggest threat when it comes to protecting your corporate data? According to the 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index from IBM, 60% of all attacks were carried out by individuals inside the company. 75% of these attacks involved some type of malicious intent, while 25% were due to inadvertent actions.

Common types of insider threats

Before determining how to react to a cyber threat, it’s important to identify the various types of insider risks that affect most organizations:

Don’t discount human error

We’re all human, which means we all make mistakes. The problem is that if this mistake involves accidentally divulging credentials, or misaddressing emails containing classified information, the repercussions can be disastrous.

Small leaks can have major consequences

If you do have insiders who are out to cause harm, it’s likely the result of behavior from just a few individuals within your company. The reality is that these few individuals can cause major damage to your company and customer data. Some may look to simply steal credentials, disclose confidential information, or sell data to outsiders for financial gain.

Why insider attacks are so problematic

The main reason why insider attacks can be so crippling for a business is because the acts and the activities surrounding these attacks are coming from trusted sources, so it can often take significant time before a company realizes what is happening. By the time the attacks are found, it can often be too late and result in someone literally walking out the door unscathed with the “keys to the kingdom.”

Future of cyber security lies in automation and artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence and analytics tools such as IBM BigFix are swiftly improving to keep up with the demands of today’s digitally connected organizations. Instead of relying on overworked IT admins to spot and react to insider threats, robust security tools can do much of the detection and remediation tasks without human involvement. This can help to vastly reduce the amount of ways that insiders can commandeer critical data that can ultimately lead to catastrophe.

Tips to prevent insider attacks

Below are just a few tips to help protect your organization’s critical data from insider threats.

Know your employees

It’s critical to understand who has access to the most confidential information within an organization and to address any security risks that may present themselves before a catastrophe strikes.

Understand what to protect

Most companies will have a certain subset of data that is mission critical. This information should be protected with encryption, as well as multi-factor authentication and complex passwords.

Use least privilege approach to access

When it comes to sensitive information, use the least privilege approach, which means that employees have access to data and applications only as required by their position.

Need a complex security audit for your organization?

Are you unsure of whether your organization is properly protected from inside or outside threats? If so, it may be time to speak with us about a comprehensive security audit to identify and close any gaping holes that could be allowing internal and external resources access into your organization’s sensitive data. To speak with a cyber security expert from MessageOps, contact us today.

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