Why Your Business Must Protect Against Insider Data Threats

Cyber attacks continue to be a significant problem for businesses, both large and small. In the first quarter of this year, there was already a 14% increase in in data breaches as hackers continue to find new ways to exploit sensitive data. When businesses look for ways to protect against threats coming from outside of their company, they are making a potentially costly mistake, since nearly 60% of data breaches are caused by insider data threats. In fact, these insidious attacks have risen by 47% in the last three years and the cost of them has increased by 31% in the same time frame. But what is even more alarming is the average cost of such an attack, which currently stands at $11.5 million.

An ”insider” is a person who has legitimate access to your business assets such as current or former employees, consultants, or contractors, and causes harm to your business on purpose or even unintentionally. Many insiders commit malicious acts because they are disgruntled or because they think can achieve financial gain, among other reasons.

Types of Insider Data Threats and Why They’re So Dangerous

Security thought leaders understand that insider attacks are assisted by major gaps in defenses that are caused by a lack of visibility into day-to-day normal behaviors as well as mismanagement or poor oversight of privileged user accounts. Many of these privileged accounts are prime targets for credential compromise or phishing attacks. These insider attacks are much more dangerous for companies because they have a higher potential for financial loss. While the cost of the average insider threat to companies was an astounding $11.5 million, the cost of a typical outward-in data breach was only $3.86 million, underscoring the fact that insider threats are nearly three times as costly.

There are four basic types of insider data threats, each with its own set of both technical and nontechnical protections companies can use to defend against them.

The Pawn

This insider is an employee typically coaxed into performing malicious activities unintentionally when approached by hackers using social engineering methods or spear phishing. This can happen when malware is inadvertently downloaded at a workstation or when credentials are disclosed to an unassuming third party pretending to be official.

The Goof

The goofs are insiders that are either lazy or incompetent and refuse to comply with internal security policies. Most insider data threats — up to 90% — are caused by this type of individual. A goof might do something like store personally identifiable information that is unencrypted in a company-based cloud storage account to facilitate easier access to their devices.

The Collaborator

Collaborators are acting with malicious intent in cooperation with third parties such as governments or competitors to cause disruption to business continuity and to steal information or intellectual property.

The Lone Wolf

Lone Wolves, as personified by Edward Snowden, who used his access privileges in order to leak information, are very dangerous, especially if they are employed as data base administrators or system administrators. They are independent, performing their actions for their own reasons and benefit, without any external influence.

Any or all of these insiders can pose a serious risk to your company’s data, your ability to perform daily business operations, your reputation, and of course, your bottom line. Protecting and defending against them, however, takes leading-edge knowledge, which is why many businesses choose to partner with third-party professionals who specialize in cybersecurity.

Perry proTECH Has the Tools You Need to Fight Insider Threats

Any company can be vulnerable to insider data threats from any one of these four insider profiles. To deter — and detect — these threats, companies must close visibility gaps and consider remote monitoring tools that automatically detect suspicious behaviors. While you can begin with access controls and increase authentication standards, there are a host of other strategies that can help you round out a solid threat detection platform.

At Perry proTECH, we have assembled a team of cybersecurity experts with a deep understanding of current and emerging threats. Our Managed IT program has a strong security component that can help give you complete control of your technology for unparalleled security — inside and out.

Defend your company from both external and internal threats to your data security. Contact a Perry proTECH consultant and discuss how our cybersecurity experts can help you keep your data — and your business — safer.

2022-05-26T12:37:59-04:00June 20th, 2022|
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