As security breaches can have serious ramifications for your business, cybersecurity is a topic we’ve frequently explored. We’ve previously highlighted the different types of a breach which can affect your enterprise, providing more in-depth insight into threats such as; phishing attacks; credential re-use; and malware attacks.   

However, today we’re discussing the increasing threat level posed by insider attacks. Due to the great increase in remote and hybrid working, the number of insider attacks occurring within businesses has notably increased. Today we’ll investigate what an insider attack is, what it means for your business, and how you can minimise and protect against insider threats.  

What Is An Insider Threat?  

  

Insider attacks are classed as cybersecurity breaches or attacks carried out by an individual who has or has had authorised access to your company’s data and systems. Access inclusive of but not limited to personnel, facilities, information, equipment, networks, and digital systems. The insider may not necessarily be a full-time employee of your business, they could also be a trusted contractor, vendor, custodian, or repair person.  

The threat posed by such individuals is that they could exploit their trusted position and insider knowledge of your business to cause harm. The harm caused can include malicious or unintentional acts that negatively impact your business’ integrity, reputation, clients, employees, and data. There are numerous intentional unintentional ways that the insider can cause a breach or attack, these can include:  

  • Espionage  
  • Unauthorised disclosure of information  
  • Corruption 
  • Sabotage  
  • Intentional or unintentional loss or damage to departmental resources or capabilities  

While some breaches can be wholly unintentional, with employees becoming lax with best practices (eg. delayed patching and updating of systems, sharing of devices, unknowingly engaging with malicious links, improperly disposing of data and documents), other attacks are intentional. Disgruntled employees or contractors may act maliciously – leaking sensitive information, stealing proprietary data, sabotaging systems, or harassing colleagues.  

Managing The Threat  

  

Insider threats can be difficult to manage, as businesses must always put a level of trust in the integrity of their employees. The recent change in working conditions may have exacerbated the threats faced by enterprises, thus they must suitably adapt their threat management strategies and remedial policy. According to a recently released report by DTEX Systems, there has been a 72% year-over-year increase in actionable insider threat incidents, so businesses must act now to prevent a potential attack and business disruption.  

To reduce the likelihood of an accidental insider attack occurring, we would advise businesses to provide their employees with cybersecurity awareness training. User awareness is key in preventing unintentional data breaches and cyber-attacks. With training from our IT experts, your employees can learn and understand the absolute essentiality of following best practice procedures. Endpoint users should learn the necessity of implementing strong passwords and MFA, maintaining up-to-date and patched IT systems, and how to protect client and company data. We also specialise in educating users on targeted cyber-attacks from external criminals; educating employees on types of attack, providing them the tools to recognise and report attempted breaches (such as phishing attacks).  

While it may be harder to monitor and prevent intentional internal attacks, businesses can use management tools such as Microsoft Intune to keep a tight hold on user activity. With Microsoft Intune, authorised IT admins can maintain remote control of endpoints, shutting down and wiping company devices if a potential breach were to occur. Admins can also minimise the risks of unintentional attacks, monitoring malicious emails and blocking further contact from criminal accounts. Conditional access can additionally be implemented on employee devices, meaning machines can’t be used in certain conditions and environments. Our IT team can advise further upon the best strategies and programmes for endpoint management, advise on the necessary licenses for security software, and install system management tools onto endpoint devices.    

Future-proofing Your Business  

  

Thus, we can see that there are multiple ways in which you can minimise the threat of an insider attack on your business and put in place emergency strategies to deal with the potential repercussions if one were to occur. Enterprises must continue to evolve with the variable work conditions we now face and implement more robust cybersecurity practices than ever before.  

If you require cyber awareness training for your employees or want expert guidance on your business’ cybersecurity strategy, then contact one of our Fitzrovia IT experts today