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A Closer Look On How To Prevent Insider Threats From Happening

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Recent advancement in technology has created numerous opportunities for businesses looking to grow and expand. The introduction of websites made it easier for businesses to sell products online. Conversely, platforms such as social media enabled them to market themselves and create awareness around their brands. Today, many brands are opting to develop apps that facilitate easier communication with their customers.

Building a business mobile app has many advantages. For one, it’s a great way to promote and grow your brand. Apps also help collect consumer data that will inform your marketing strategy and business decisions.

That said, running a business online opens you up to a number of risks and threats. As you collect more and more data, you may find yourself in a situation where your firewall has been breached, and your consumer data exposed. While such breaches are often orchestrated by outside parties, they may also come from an inside party you trust.

What are insider threats?

Insider threats are often malicious attacks to an organization orchestrated by employees, ex-employees, business associates, and other people within the organization. Since such people have access to and information about the company’s data, computer systems, and security practices, they pose a great risk.

That said, it’s worth noting that some insider threats aren’t a result of malicious intent. Rather, they happen unintentionally due to weak third-party firewalls or negligent employees.

How can insider data breaches be prevented?

When running an online platform for your business, you will need to guarantee your customers that their data will remain private. Part of the measures you must take is to ensure your organization stays protected from such insider threats. To do this, you will need to categorize these threats and handle each accordingly.

For example, threats due to negligence cannot be treated the same way as those made by malicious parties. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to deal with these different threats.

Negligent employees

As we’ve mentioned, most insider incidents are caused by negligent employees who fail to take certain policies seriously. Such employees may open phishing links in emails, log onto the company network through compromised mobile devices and unsecured public Wi-Fi, or even email customer data to outside parties.

Although this negligence isn’t necessarily ill-natured, it still opens your organization up to data breaches. The good news is you can use a tracking tool to ensure your employees don’t inadvertently expose your business.

Your employees will all have a consistent pattern of user activity throughout the day, with minor fluctuations. A tracking tool like SoftActivity makes it easy for you to determine what this pattern is. Whenever they visit an unusual site, whether willingly or unwillingly, you’ll be able to tell and block access to these sites.

You should ensure you have clear company policies on how your staff should access and use the business network. It would also help to introduce reasonable punitive measures to employees who keep on flouting these policies.

Malicious employees

Malicious insiders are those who knowingly expose the organization to security threats. Such employees are fully aware of their actions and feel motivated to divulge confidential information for financial, political, or philosophical reasons. Most times, these people are motivated by easy money, thus stealing information and selling it.

A rule of thumb when it comes to business data is that it should only be accessible to the people who need to see it. Pick out the most sensitive data you collect and limit who gets to see it.

Using internet monitoring software will make it easier to tell when a former employee or other malicious party is trying to move data offsite, or download large files to external storage drives.

Another great solution would be to provide contractors, consultants and other third-party employees with temporary accounts that expire when the contract is done. This way, they will be unable to access your network after they’re done with their work.

Build an effective insider threat program

In order to protect your business from insider threats, you will need to come up with an effective strategy. Together with your teams, figure out what your most critical assets are. Critical assets are those that would make it hard for your company to keep running if a competitor was to get hold of them.

Once you know what the critical information assets are, document where they are, where they originated from, and who uses them. Do the same for your physical assets- document where they’re located, what they’re for, and the data they’re used to process.

Make sure to also enforce all the policies you come up with regarding data handling and using the business network. Finally, implement an internet monitoring software to track your employees’ user activity without being too intrusive. 

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