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Insider Threats: Your Greatest Strengths Could Also Be Your Greatest Risks

Insider Threats: Your Greatest Strengths Could Also Be Your Greatest Risks

insider threats

Cyber security risks often conjure images of outside forces: external intruders who steal sensitive and classified information for financial gain or self-satisfaction. Yet, despite greater awareness, support, and resources one rapidly growing information threat is still flying under the radar: data loss risk from insiders. 

The majority of data breach from inside organisations are accidental rather than malicious. But regardless of intent, data leaks can damage a company, its employees, customers and partners. In recent years, it has been reported that 22% of security incidents are caused by malicious insiders, with 88% of all data breaches being caused by employee mistakes, including negligence and planned breach of company security so it is safe to conclude that most security incidents are, in some ways, the consequence of either a negligent or malicious insider. The deliberate insider poses the most significant risk for apparent reasons. They are personally motivated, and the compromise is much more likely to be planned. 

The pandemic was a massive force-accelerator for information leaks. Many businesses have increasingly relied on cloud-based technology to foster cultures rooted in speed, agility and collaboration. However, the rapid advancement of technology has widened the security gaps between known threats and those that aren’t. An 18 percent of 500 CEOs surveyed in 2021 said cybersecurity risk would be the greatest threat to their organisation’s growth over the coming three years. 

With cyber security snoops becoming more sophisticated and opportunistic, even tech-savvy companies can learn that they only have an illusion of control over their information security. Therefore, it is crucial that we properly set a comprehensive cyber security risk prevention plan and maintain an appropriate risk appetite. 

From network-based
to user, location &access-based security 

To mitigate the impact of this shift to the hybrid working model, organisations have moved away from the traditional perimeter network security, and have been embracing the Zero Trust IT architecture, with the assumptions there will always be attackers originating from both outside and inside the network. Under ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Architecture), verification is always required whenever a user or device requests resource access and permit access regardless of whether the requester is internal or external. An October 2021 survey of IT professionals found that 88% of Australian organisations have adopted a zero-trust approach. 

Despite its rapid adoption, ZTNA is not an easy proposition. Zero Trust is not a single technology philosophy. Instead, it is a framework that encompasses a range of technologies from verifying the requesting user or device to providing access. It needs to accommodate different access requirements, change with increasingly complex threats, and grow with your business technology.

Some of the technologies that should be considered as a part of your zero trust defence network include: 

  • Active Directory
  • Endpoint protection system
  • Intrusion prevention and detection system
  • Web filtering solution
  • Traffic monitoring software 
  • Spam filter 
  • Advanced information protection and privileged access management system
  • Encryption software
  • Password management policy 
  • Two-factor authentication 
  • Physical security in the work environment 

It is also crucial that the ZTNA we set up is firm enough to accommodate the adoption of new and existing cybersecurity threats and be flexible enough at the same time to allow your users to work when, where and how they want. 

Insider threats kept you up at night and worried about protecting sensitive dates but don’t want to sacrifice user experience?

Talk to us about how to proactively stop oversharing mistakes and malicious data theft in a few simple steps and advance your Zero Trust Maturity journey.