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It’s common knowledge that any network could be attacked by a cybercriminal from the outside, using the internet to try and hack a business’ critical infrastructure. What’s less known, and far more dangerous, is the potential for an ‘insider threat’ to damage a company’s data, infrastructure, and reputation.
Insider threat refers to the potential for a malicious actor to exist inside the business’ network. This cybercriminal is usually an employee or staff member but it may also be a client or a vendor’s staff member. The frightening truth of an insider threat is there is usually very little protection against the actions of those within a network. If a cybercriminal gains access to your network, he can cause immeasurable damage to your business.
The following steps will help protect your critical infrastructure, sensitive data, and precious reputation against an inside threat:
1. Train Your Staff
While the threat of a cybercriminal being on staff is real, many insider threat attacks are run through well meaning employees. If your staff are compromised in their personal life, they may be blackmailed or otherwise coerced into cooperating with a cybercriminal, exposing your network to attack.
Establishing regular cybersecurity training is one critical defense against insider threats. Regularly testing your staff with phishing email tests and other training measures will both improve their personal security and protect your business. If your staff are informed and armed against cyberattacks, they will be far less likely to be compromised and become part of an insider threat attack.
2. Only Use As-Needed Permissions
For many small businesses, file permissions are either non-existent or a complicated mess. If a staff person can gain access to files they shouldn’t have access to, such as financial information or sensitive personal data, an insider threat may emerge.
Each person in your organization should only have data access permissions on an ‘as-needed’ basis. This means a staff person can only access data which is required to perform their job. Any other information is locked beyond their reach, protecting against insider threat attacks.
3. Implement Network Scanning
If the worst does happen—a cybercriminal begins an insider threat attack—there’s one method to detect their nefarious activity: network scanning. These systems will perform the following tasks:
- Detect unauthorized internal access to the network
- Notify IT staff when data is removed from company systems (for example, onto a personal USB device or computer)
- Track network performance to detect any indications of active insider threat attacks (for example, one device suddenly using an unusual amount of network bandwidth)
Need Someone to Watch Your Back? Strategy can help!
Running your business and managing your staff is more than a full-time job. Do you have time to watch your back, train your staff, and investigate insider threats? With support from our IT team, you can focus on your business.
If you aren’t sure about your network and computer security, let us give you a free IT consultation. Security is only a call away!