Hackers aren't always the ones to blame for corporate data security breaches. Research by Forrester suggests that about two in five data security breaches are not caused by external cybercriminals but by an 'insider threat' – in other words, the breach is caused by an employee, whether acting intentionally or through error. The research suggests there are three types of insider threat: malicious, accidental and negligent.
However, there are strategies and technologies companies can focus on to help employees avoid making errors and to flag up any suspicious behaviour. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Kon Leong, of ZL Technologies, states: “As the threat focus shifts from external hackers and network vulnerabilities to internal staff and content repositories (think email, file shares, and SharePoint sites), the security picture becomes a lot more complex. Fortunately, the rapid advancement in content technologies makes it easier to secure these data repositories and also apply advanced governance and analytics to enable detection and remediation of risky behaviour.”
Here are some of the key ways in which corporates can work with their employees to prevent and mitigate insider threats:
- companies should be training their staff (from cleaner to CEO) in cybersecurity best practices on a regular basis, to keep up with employee turnover and the rapid development of new threats;
- cybersecurity training sessions should be interactive and include role-play, requiring employees to respond to scenarios, including spotting suspicious behaviour and, for example by sending out mock phishing emails or socially engineered attacks to see where their weak links are;
- staff need up-to-date training on the correct use and implementation of anti-virus/anti-malware systems and software;
- ensure that employees know what to do if they have suspicions about an email, a co-worker's behaviour or anything else;
- analytics is a key way for organisations to spot suspicious insider behaviour taking place on company servers or company email and the type of things that can be picked up include: employees who gain access to or delete big volumes of sensitive data, or who transfer or save data inappropriately;
- company messaging systems can also pick up employees making negative comments about the company.
Hacking is a huge industry; do you have a grip on cybersecurity?
Panellists in the 'Fighting fraud' session, at BNP Paribas's Cash Management University in Paris last week, said that the problem is probably even bigger than we imagine
Business networks vulnerable to evolving ransomware
Corporate networks and business users are increasingly in the crosshairs of cybercriminals, with more than a quarter of ransomware attacks in 2017 targeted at businesses
Cybersecurity is Achilles heel of Asian corporates
Nearly half of all Asia Pacific corporates have experienced a cybersecurity threat in the past year but only 15 per cent are certain no breach has occurred