How to Identify Insider Threats?


Insider threats are among the most dangerous kind of data breaches that can occur in an organization. The reason is simple—it can all happen under your nose. The person who is behind the insider threat may or may not be ill-intentioned, but the results of it can be grave. This is because insiders automatically have access to a lot of sensitive data depending on their role. So, if it is someone with a bad intention, it will not take them long to figure out a way to mine out information depending on your security posture.

Irrespective of how careful you are with your hiring process, you cannot possibly get inside the head of your employee. You can never fully know whether they are sometimes careless or even have an ulterior motive. Yet, this does not mean you start scrutinizing every employee. It merely means that you imbibe security solutions that can be your defending walls for an insider as well as external threats. However, there are some situations and behaviors that you can pay special attention to.

The leavers in an organization

Leavers are the ones who are let go from a company or leave with their own will. No matter what the case, they are no longer a part of your organization. There are several ways this can play out.

You don’t revoke accesses on time. This gives your leaver an opportunity to still access your files without raising doubts because, according to you, they are no longer a part of the organization.

Or, this leaver is genuinely not ill-intentioned. But, you have left accounts with certain accesses, with no one to claim them. This can provide an opportunity for a hacker to get hold of your credentials and misuse the access at hand.

Bad behavior

It is given that there are many ways that employers and employees must conduct themselves at the workplace. There are several HR policies and rules in place to regulate the same as well. But, sometimes, things are not as ideal. Arguments occur, sometimes crossing corporate lines. Some employees may not behave as well, might get into more arguments than others. These employees may be disgruntled enough to sabotage your company altogether if you don’t pay attention to their situation. A chat about what exactly is causing them to act out or revoking sensitive accesses during such times might be the difference between your trade secrets staying safe or at the hands of bad actors.

Bad behavior can also be about negligence. Some people are careless by nature. They may have lost their phone one too many times. Or are not willing to play by the rules and write down passwords, don’t lock their devices, violate BYOD policies, and more. It should be your responsibility to make a note of such behavior. It’s best to ensure employees have encrypted devices. So that even if they lose them, the hackers have a tough time breaking in.

Pay attention to small suspicious activities

Almost always, the signs are there before a breach occurs. Maybe some files get downloaded. Perhaps someone who doesn’t need access, requests for it. Or maybe some files are deleted without your knowledge.

These sings could all mean that someone is trying to get hold of your sensitive files little by little. Or someone from the outside is trying to wiggle their way into your network.

You might brush off such incidents as a one-off mistake, but investigating such actions or even elevating the security posture of such files can take your security a long way.

Fighting off internal threats are especially challenging to deal with. You may not even be able to notice things at a fine-grained level without compromising on IT time. Yet, what you can do is invest in an IAM solution that takes care of all the above and more. A comprehensive Identity Management solution that can protect accesses provides a database of access without hassle, revokes access, elevates authentication level depending on the risk are all features that can ramp up your security against all kinds of threats.

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