From phishing emails to malware attacks, most businesses focus only on blocking external threats. Yet, 66% of organizations find internal security threats pose a greater risk to their data. By far, human interference is the hardest to monitor: being both unpredictable and more familiar with your company’s infrastructure. So, how can you expect to combat internal security threats in your organization? Here, we examine how internal threats operate and what types of risks businesses may face.
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Internal Security Threats Explained
Internal security threats are risks to your company’s cybersecurity that are caused by your own employees. These threats occur in one of two ways: firstly, by human error or negligence of cyber hygiene practices online; and secondly, as attacks orchestrated by personnel attempting to sell or damage your information. While it’s hard to believe team members would intentionally harm your organization, cases of employees going rogue following termination or ignoring safety protocols after a disagreement are known to happen. However, unlike external threats, combating insider attacks is much more complicated because employees have intimate knowledge of the network. Therefore, it’s crucial to address these situations immediately, or risk having your entire system damaged.
Types of Internal Security Threats on Businesses
Businesses of every size and industry are prone to internal security threats. Internal security threats cause costly—and sometimes irreparable—damage to your organization. Below are some frequent internal security threats to watch out for, such as:
Frequently, businesses observe internal security threats as malicious attacks from their own personnel. Reasons for these digital assaults range from revenge for being fired, greed with the intent to sell data, and even sabotage from a competitor-employed spy. This is particularly dangerous if the individual works within your IT department, as they can abuse their status to access or corrupt important information—such as client and employee personal files, financial documents, or contracts. Since these attackers cripple systems in the wake of their departure, it’s worth keeping track of which employees exhibit suspicious behavior and monitoring any unauthorized code changes.
It’s not uncommon to see theft within the workplace. Items such as laptops, tablets, or portable routers have authorization to your network, and are therefore given access if colleagues must work remotely. Despite being company property, employees may try to take equipment home as their own device, either simply forgetting to return the item or stealing it. These thefts not only cost money but could potentially open an internal security threat that could access your network anywhere at any time.
The reason businesses give employees equipment is to avoid personal device usage. While convenient for employees, there is no way for business owners to monitor the security measures on personal equipment. Thus, accessing the network with unknown USBs, mobile devices, or other items increases the risk of an internal security threat breaching your data.
Data-sharing is one of the most common internal security threats. Workers may want to share processes or the projects they work on in conversation. Yet, when this information is shared via social media or through online messages, they could incur a cyber liability lawsuit against your company for exposing client information. Enforcing privacy during cybersecurity training helps prevent such leaks, though monitoring employee correspondence also limits the likelihood of exposure.
Shadow IT is an internal security threat caused by employees using unauthorized third-party software or applications during work. The shadow-like nature refers to deliberately hiding activity through unmonitored and unknown apps. Employees may trust these items if they use them on their own devices, failing to realize these habits create a large blind spot within your cybersecurity. As a result, business data is left exposed, increasing the risk of a damaging data leak.
Monitor Your Internal Systems with I3 Inspector Cloud
At Innovative Integration, we understand a cyberattack can come from anywhere. Compared to blocking external attacks, it’s much more difficult to prevent internal security threats when once-trusted employees know how to manipulate your network structure, security codes, and data files. Ensure protection for those loyal to your organization and monitor suspicious activity with Innovative’s Inspector Cloud service. Ready to secure your network inside and out? Contact us today to learn more.