The greatest threat to your security is not an anonymous hacker working from a remote location but, more than likely, an in-house employee who knows all your trade secrets. In businesses, insider threats are more than security issues; they impact a business’s reputation and financial health. How can we avoid insider threats? Is there a way to ramp up threat detection to minimize malicious insider threat risk? 

Where Do Insider Threats Come From?

Disgruntled Employees

Insider threats usually result less from a lack of proper training or a faulty security system and more from employee dissatisfaction, which varies depending on a business’s climate. Employees with legitimate access, namely those in IT or other security-adjacent functions with access to sensitive information, are often responsible for insider threats. While one can’t necessarily predict how employees will respond to sudden changes at work, monitoring their access can help.

Third-Party Employees and Contractors

Another reason a business may experience insider threats is that the employees in question require privileged access to work. This goes beyond just IT and security personnel; it means anyone who needs certain permissions to hold any position in the company. If third-party relations are broken without the proper permissions being revoked simultaneously, it can mean big potential losses for the company via exploited assets.

Layoff Stress

During times of uncertainty, employees are more likely to act maliciously with the information they have. When employees discover they will be laid off, they may horde information against the company as revenge for their sudden displacement. Given how common layoffs are in today’s work climate, the average employee is more likely than ever to be a suspect of threatening assets and company information.

Financial Pressing

As with layoffs, financial stress can lead to employees misusing information entrusted to them. Most instances of insider threats revolve around monetary gain. Because of rising inflation costs and stagnant wages, employees such as financial controllers stand a lot to gain from having access to bank account numbers, routing information, and more.

Stressed Employees

Employees facing undue stress due to layoffs and financial problems are more likely to make unfortunate mistakes. The same is true across the board regarding a business, especially regarding sensitive company information. Even if you don’t have malicious employees making insider threats on your roster, factors like burnout can impact an employee’s ability to spot scams and avoid potential breaches in information.

Improved Security Means Improved Control

Because there are plenty of variables to insider threats, the proper course of action is to take control of the information that can become a threat. Controlling who has privileged information is a start, helping prevent data leaks by only giving such information to 100% trustworthy employees. Restricting those with privileges, keeping tabs on data transfer, and maintaining visibility on what information comes and goes are the best ways to protect against insider threats. While trust is important for a company, too much can lead to flimsy cyber-security and vulnerable digital assets.


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