One of the top concerns for any business or organization is data security. When guarding against cyber data threats, the first thing that comes to mind is external threats. However, that isn’t all they need to consider. Equally important, and potentially more serious- are the internal threats these organizations face.
Intentional or unintentional- often, data security is leaked or breached as a result of inside workings.
To effectively address these threats, you need first to recognize them, which is why we have consulted business and cybersecurity experts to list the more crucial threats and some tips on what you can do about them.
“Privileged users have the ability to perform tasks that are prohibited for other employees. Often, these privileges include installing software on your computer system and accessing sensitive information.
“To avoid this type of threat, a company should implement an appropriate level of access control for its privileged accounts, such as limiting their use to a single machine or to specific tasks.” (Megha Gaedke)
“Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your computer's hard drive, making all the data inaccessible. The hacker then demands payment for you to regain access. To avoid this threat, make sure that your computers are not running obsolete programs or OS.
“Ransomware can also be spread through phishing emails and social media posts, so avoid opening any attachments or clicking on links from unknown sources. Also, back up your data regularly and keep a backup copy in an off-site location for safekeeping.” (Megha Gaedke)
“Insider theft occurs when an employee steals data or trade secrets from their company. This threat requires companies to have strong security measures in place. For example, employees should be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement when they are hired so that they know their actions will result in consequences if violated. Employee access levels need to be carefully monitored, and no data should ever leave the building without proper documentation.” (Megha Gaedke)
Megha Gaedke, Founder KetoConnect
“I think one of the most important internal data threats that business owners need to watch out for would be employees' unauthorized disclosure of data to third-party individuals or vendors. Trust is the only thing that prevents employees from committing internal data breaches. However, business leaders can prepare their companies for unauthorized data disclosure by encrypting sensitive data and enabling remote wipes on company devices carried by workers off-site.”
Matt Spiegel, Founder & CEO Lawmatics
“You may not think of this as an internal threat, but it's the #1 cyber threat today and it almost always strikes because someone inside the organization did not follow best practices. Hence, an internal focus on ransomware prevention training is the only effective way to prevent it. However, an attack is inevitable because of sophisticated social engineering used by criminals. You can minimize the damage with daily automated, verified backups.”
Almi Dumi, CISO eMazzanti Technologies
“One of the most common threats that companies look out for is data leaks. If at all any employee or person from the organization knowingly or unknowingly shares confidential data of the company to an outsider, it will be seen as a breach. However, this isn’t seen in trained professionals and is rarely observed in today’s organizations. Specialized software can help the organization keep a check on where and how their data is being transferred.” (Christian Velitchkov)
“This is a case wherein an importer manipulates one of the insiders to give up sensitive information. In most cases, they befriend the employees and trick them into giving information like secure passwords or other confidential information. Attackers even use malware or infected links to hack into devices.”
Christian Velitchkov, Co-Founder Twiz LLC
“One of the most common ways for a cyberattacker to illegally access an organization’s network is by simply exploiting the trusting nature of your employees. After all, there is no reason to go through the entire process of creating a malicious program, when the company staff is ready to just hand over this information to them. This often occurs because most organizations don’t take the time to educate their staff on the risks that come with downloading online content or opening unknown email attachments over the company server.” (Eden Cheng)
“And with these sorts of messages steadily becoming more and more sophisticated, we're now seeing very personalized, targeted phishing emails that staff can easily fall victim to if they aren’t shown what to look out for. It is also advisable to constantly update and patch your IT systems to help make sure that your system blocks out these sorts of malicious emails.” (Eden Cheng)
“Besides malicious security vulnerabilities, there is also a chance your staff could cause a system breach simply due to unintentional carelessness with their IoT devices. For example, should they end up losing their laptop or phone while using public transport, then this means that anybody that gets a hold of the device may end up accessing all the information stored on there, potentially exposing sensitive company data or even worse, granting unauthorized users open access to the company systems.” (Eden Cheng)
“In this respect, educating staff on how to keep their devices secure can help to prevent a wide range of threats. However, it pays to take things a step further by introducing the use of keyloggers and performing consistent system monitoring to ensure that access is regulated accordingly. I would also encourage businesses to start adopting zero trust networks, which provide enhanced security by requiring staff to log in via multifactor authentication which also prevents the risk of insider threats by limiting staff access to only the company data that is relevant to their work.”
Eden Cheng, Co-Founder PeopleFinderFree