November 5, 2020

Contributing author

Importance of building an insider threat program for data security

The world has moved to the internet, and so have cyber criminals and malicious employees who want to get their hands on your company’s data. You might not be able to avoid putting certain information on the web, but you can make sure to stay protected every time you go online.

Read on to learn more about the importance of building an insider threat program for data security.

What is an Insider Threat Program?

An insider threat program includes software, strategies, and device protocols that are designed to keep identifying or otherwise sensitive data out of the wrong hands. Even those within your organization are capable of catalyzing a massive breach, and most insider threats can be traced to the following triggers:

• Lack of security due to poor education or awareness of risk

• Theft conducted by employees for financial gain

• Retaliation against the company following a negative performance review, termination, or other reprimand

• Negligence

• Malicious intent

Understanding how your employees are performing, as well their general satisfaction at work, can help managers stop problems from starting in the first place. Insider threat detection software constantly runs in the background to identify changes in user behavior, whether unauthorized drives or downloads have been connected, if employees are using compromised networks, and more.

Actively utilizing an insider threat program requires a few key elements to ensure a successful rollout and effective implementation.

Designate Internal Leadership

Whether you’re trying to secure data within your company, it’s important to understand who is in charge of initiating any cyber security measures.

In the event of an internal infiltration, the entire network should be able to look to a designated person (or committee) of leadership personnel for guidance.

If you’re the point person, be prepared for the potential types of data loss and how to identify common warning signs. Those responsible for driving data security within the company should conduct regular progress checks and communication to see how prepared your organization is for a digital emergency.

Implement Training

Part of what will determine the effectiveness of your insider threat detection program is the individual user’s ability to follow best practices. Training your team (or yourself) on how to properly utilize your software or information security systems is key for optimal performance.

Safeguard Identifying Information

Processing payments or dealing directly with highly personal information can make anyone a target for identity theft and other forms of private data loss.

Suggest that authorized users access devices and accounts with multi-factor authentication. This helps to prevent prying eyes from gaining credentials that belong to another employee. If fewer people have access to any set of information, the risk of those people falling victim to (or causing) a data breach lowers significantly.

Are You Vulnerable to Internal Threats?

External cyber threats have gained a lot of traction in the media since the start of the pandemic, but insider threats are also on the rise. Protecting your company’s sensitive information starts from the inside out.

Preventing negligent, disgruntled, or unauthorized employees from accessing information they aren’t cleared for can save your company, clients, and partners thousands (to millions) in associated costs. Plus, early detection of anomalies and suspicious activity can keep a breach from happening in the first place.

High-profile leaks have been all over the news, but smaller companies and entrepreneurs also have a lot to lose. Even if just one individual’s information becomes compromised, the average data breach costs $8.64 million in 2020.

Protect your most valuable intellectual and identification data by taking the right measures to prevent insider threats before they have a chance to penetrate your organization.