One of the biggest security risks an organization faces comes from within the company itself. In fact, these so-called insider threats are as much as 200 times more likely to cause a security breach than external hackers or malware attacks, according to some experts. While it’s tempting to think that you can prevent insider security threats with better monitoring software or more complicated access controls, the truth is that even the most careful employee can be vulnerable if you don’t address their concerns head-on and take appropriate action when necessary.
Vet All Employees
Screening all potential employees to minimize insider security threats should be a standard practice for all businesses. This includes running criminal background checks, and conducting thorough interviews, both in person and over the phone. The more you know about your staff members before hiring them, the less likely they will be able to commit any malicious or negligent acts on company time.
Use Password Management Software
Start with some software like Keeper. It helps to keep your passwords, PIN codes, credit card numbers and other sensitive data safe while you surf the web. Password management software reduces security risks by storing all your information in one encrypted location that is password protected. Once you set up a master password for the account, it will store an additional secure key that never leaves your computer, even when connected to the internet.
Keep Up-to-Date with Software Patches
Software vulnerabilities are discovered every day and it is important to update software on your endpoints, servers, and workstations. Utilize the latest versions of programs as they usually have fixes for known security holes.
Train Employees in Information Safety
Train your employees to be vigilant about giving away sensitive information, both verbally and in writing. This is especially critical for companies that have employees who work remotely, like sales staff or technicians. Ensure that passwords are not shared, changed too often, or used online. Dispose of printed documents containing sensitive information through secure channels such as shredding. Make sure that all wireless devices are password protected and encrypted.
Implement Strong Access Controls
#5 Implement Strong Access Controls – Give users the least amount of access they need to do their job and make sure that their access is revoked when they no longer need it. This will limit potential security problems by restricting the keys to the kingdom.
Require User VPN Access
Requiring VPN access will help reduce the risk that an outsider can gain access to your network. VPN technology ensures that all data is encrypted, and once the user has signed in on a secure internet connection with their credentials, the user is given an IP address that logs them into your network. This process forces potential intruders to have physical access to your location in order to gain remote access, as they need both your physical location and your login credentials.
Encrypt All Data at Rest
Encrypting data at rest is a great way to reduce insider security threats. The most important reason to encrypt data at rest is to prevent it from being accessed by someone who should not have access. Data at rest should be encrypted regardless of the type of media or the underlying storage technology being used. This can also include updating your backups by using an encryption utility for increased data protection. Encrypting your backups prevents unauthorized access and offers an additional layer of protection in case you lose or delete a backup file.
Monitor Internal Connections
- Monitor Internal Connections- Make sure to keep an eye on how people in your company are interacting with each other and externally.
Test your controls regularly
Third, it is important to test your security controls regularly to ensure they are working. Penetration testing and vulnerability assessments should be performed periodically.
Have a Response Plan in Place
The first step in mitigating insider security threats is to have a response plan in place.