When most companies address their security needs, they tend to focus primarily on external threats, such as a thief breaking into their facility to steal valuable equipment or a hacker using digital theft to access confidential data. But in reality, insider security threats can be just as dangerous to a company’s profitability — and in many instances, even more disastrous to its reputation.
The consequences are the same whether the incident is intentional or accidental. Any data breach or other security incident that occurs due to the actions of an insider will likely receive extensive press coverage. Employees may feel like they are no longer able to trust one another. Consumer confidence falls alongside productivity, resulting in major losses.
As such, properly addressing insider security threats should be a top priority for your company. Here’s a closer look at the procedures every business should implement to avoid both intentional and accidental insider breaches.
While insider threats are a real concern, the majority of the security problems that occur are accidental, not deliberate.
For example, a careless employee could download an infected file from a spam email, subsequently introducing a virus to the company’s computer network. Alternatively, an employee might leave their ID badge or after-hours building access codes out on their desk, in a location where anyone (even the janitorial staff) can access it.
Seemingly innocent mistakes can have big consequences. Because of this, employers should have clear policies in place regarding both physical and digital security. Trainings and regular reviews of these policies will help you clearly communicate your expectations to your team so everyone will be on the same page. Even a 5-minute policy reminder can be enough to prevent an inadvertent security breach.
While it would be nice to fully trust every one of your employees, there’s no denying that data breaches and other security problems are all too common when disgruntled or dishonest individuals are involved.
To mitigate this common concern, many companies utilize a wide range of measures that limit who has access to confidential information or secured areas. For example, a data program might only be accessible to those who have been given a unique access code. A warehouse storing fragile or sensitive equipment could have a specialized lock that requires an ID badge scan or coded entry.
While reducing the number of people who have access to sensitive data or equipment doesn’t fully eliminate your risk, it represents risk management good practice.
Monitor Employee Behavior
You already use security cameras and other tools to address external threats, but this equipment can also be used to monitor employee behavior and mitigate insider problems. The presence of security cameras in the office is fairly commonplace these days, and the presence of such cameras can allow you to quickly identify inappropriate or suspicious behavior. In the digital realm, many software applications now allow employers to monitor what their staff are doing while at a computer workstation.
Not only do these measures allow you to quickly identify when there is a problem; they also serve as deterrent to bad behaviour.
It’s sobering to think that potentially the biggest threat to your company’s prosperity can come from within. However, understanding the nature of internal threats, as well as what you can do to mitigate them, is an absolute must in today’s business climate. Taking action today will help you avoid serious consequences in the future.