Insider threats are very real and make up the majority of cybersecurity attacks on enterprises. Yet, many businesses still spend most of their time safeguarding their systems against outsider threats.
The worst with insider threats is that they often have a human element, which is usually used to bypass software protection. So even with all the protection in the world, you could still find yourself vulnerable. Here are a few tips to prevent cyber security threats from the inside.
Start with a Solid Security Policy
At a base level, your security policy should have instructions on how to detect and prevent misuse, as well as outlining the procedure for investigations. It should also touch on the real consequences of misuse. You should also take a second look at your current policy, and pay special attention to sections that touch on incident handling.
For instance, incident handling plans shouldn’t ask for team members to give admin access to a suspect system as they may actually be behind the attack. Your policy should also set clear limits as to who can have access and can disseminate personal information on employees. Mishandling this information could put you in legal trouble, so make sure that you specify clearly who can access this information and who it can be shared with.
Sense Trouble in the Waters
If you’ve recently been in a confrontation with one of your employees, or worse, an executive, then you’ll have to pay double attention to their behavior from now on. You should also learn how to boost the morale of your troops and have good reporting tools in place.
For that, you should make sure that your HR department or you have a good understanding of how to put programs in place to report suspicious behaviour.
It should also be part of your company’s culture. If you don’t have a dedicated HR department, or your people don’t have the skill, then you could always get the formation yourself.
You could get a graduate certificate in HR management totally online and get the foundation on proper staff management and recruiting. But what an HR management degree will give you is the ability to build and instill a company culture that will promote better work practices, productivity, and morale, all factors that will help you identify threats early and prevent them from happening in the first place.
Don’t Forget Physical Security
Another thing you’ll have to look at for is physical access to critical infrastructure. Physical security is just as important as software security, so make sure that critical servers are not easily accessible and that only authorized users can directly access them.
Isolating high-value systems is essential, and you’ll have to do more than use keycards if you want to safeguard them.
While using keycards can be tempting since they’re easy to set up and cheap, they can also be replicated, lost, or stolen. So if the audit log shows that “Carol” enters the room at 4pm, but it really was someone else, you’ll have a serious problem on your hands.
The best solution is to go for 2-factor authentication. For instance, you could ask them to enter a pin as well as their keycards. And if you have the means, you should also consider using biometric information as well.
Information can also be stolen from unsecured drives, so make sure that each employee has a drawer that can be locked on their desk especially for them. And make sure that all computers and laptops are secured to tables.
Screen New Employees
Background checks won’t always tell you the whole story but are essential if you want to be able to spot for red flags early. If you feel like this is taking too much time, you could always outsource it to a third party. Also, make sure that you ask for recent references, and look up the information online.
You should also make sure that you limit the use of passwords. While passwords might be fine for employees who don’t handle sensitive information, they might not be for things like HR or accounting. This is another area that could benefit from 2-factor authentication. You could use passwords in combination with IDs, smart cards, or biometric data.
Plug Information Leaks
Sensitive information can be shared through hard copies, email communication, or instant messaging. In some cases, people just divulge information they shouldn’t. Malicious attacks are also not always the reason behind leaks. Many times, this could simply be because of negligence or ignorance.
This is why you should use both software and hardware solutions to plug leaks. Everyone should have access to your security policy and make sure that they’re constantly kept up to date.
Intrusion Detection Systems could also be used to identify sensitive phrases or bits of information that shouldn’t be on the network. This could automatically tell you who and where this information is being shared.
Investigate Strange Activity Instantly
It’s also very important that you move swiftly if you notice any suspicious activity on your network. If someone tried to download files that they shouldn’t have access to, or you identify some strange access request, then these could be red flags.
The good news is that insider threat attacks are usually easier to track down than outsider attacks. In many cases, insider threats won’t take the same precaution when covering their tracks. The hard part is making sure that you have a proper log record and that you have a system in place to analyze this information.
There are systems that will allow you to compare multiple logs at once and quickly identify suspicious behavior. Or you could use network forensic tools if you have the means. While they can be expensive, they are definitely worth it if your company handles a sizable amount of sensitive information.
Stopping inside cybersecurity threats completely is definitely a challenge. However, by using our advice, you should be able to reduce these risks and be able to bounce back if you’re ever attacked.