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The old proverb, “Better to have an enemy who slaps you in the face than a friend who stabs you in the back” has application in the realm of cybercrime. There is more time and attention given to external threats to business networks. Threats that come from inside a network may receive less focus, but are extremely common. You can, and should, fortify your business against the common inside threats to a business network.

Identifying the Insider Threat

Let’s look at some of the types of security breaches that can be grouped under the heading of “inside threats to a business network.” Often when we talk about IT security “insider threats,” we are speaking of attacks that come from an internal approach. There are three general headings under which an insider threat may be grouped: the User Threat, the Malfunction, and the Accidental Loss.

User Threat

Every person who has professional access to a network system is a potential threat. They have keys to get inside the fortress, so to speak. That’s okay, because their job is to grow and improve the business inside of it. But it is not okay in instances where a person with access goes rogue. This can happen with intent to do harm or without intent for harm.

User with Intent to do Harm

The user with ill intent is not always hard to spot. The disgruntled employee is often the culprit. If they commit acts of sabotage their general demeanor makes them easy to identify as a suspect. But less obvious is the employee who hired on with bad motives in the first place. Their objective, however, is not necessarily to commit acts of outright sabotage that gets noticed. They often wish to commit their acts of fraud and steal sensitive data in the background, unnoticed.

User without Intent for Harm

This is the poor user who gets duped. He may have accidently clicked on that phishing email link that opened a trojan into the system. Maybe he was following the instructions of his boss. His boss, however, is the criminal, and she is the one who made him an accessory to her fraud. Either way, the damage is done.


System Malfunction

There are a number of ways a system might malfunction that can result in an information breach. For instance, an application hiccup defaulted all printing jobs from one work station to the wrong printer. This, in turn, caused a sensitive memo to be seen by all the wrong eyes. Little malfunctions like this often lead to the biggest kinds of drama.

Accidental Loss

Accidental data loss events can lead to expensive costs of recovery. Data loss can be from hacks, but data breaches can also be due to things like a stolen laptop or a lost USB drive, and recovery from those kinds of breaches can be just as expensive. Or worse, recreating lost intelligence may not be possible. A stolen purse with a thumb drive in it can lead to a panicked call to your boss before you even think about calling your credit card company.

Protecting Your Business from Insider Threats

Just four steps to make sure that your business is protected from internal threats:

1. Centralized Management of User Accounts

Having complete control of activating and deactivating permissions is essential. Having control over who has access to what is paramount. To control onboarding of new employees, and offboarding of the employees who leave… all these things happen with centralized management, and a cloud-controlled management solution will take care of this.

2. Complete Device Management

Having complete visibility of user activities on all devices allowed to interact with the network system will prevent a host of problems. And, if someone dares to access files that are not part of their job description, you will see it. You will also see processing errors that happen in malfunction events. Here again, a cloud-controlled management solution will take care of this.

3. Forensic Software

If a business wants to put in place a forensic solution, then it will have the capability to re-track the events that led up to the data issue or data breach. A great step to catch a criminal. A great tool to know exactly where things went wrong.

4. Correct Data Storage: Encryption with Complete Data Recall.

Data storage and encryption are essential for any business. Too often we meet with businesses who had to find out the hard way how true this is. With correct data encryption, a lost or stolen laptop will not incite the panic it would have otherwise. There are many ways to have this. An IT professional can help you find the best solution for your business

Accidents will happen. Blunders will happen. Employees with ulterior motives will happen, guaranteed. The strongest businesses invest in the strongest defenses. They prepare fortifications not just from external threats, but the inside threats to a business network as well. A good provider of outsourced IT services can assist with any or all of these solutions.