Protecting your Organization from threats on all levels is a responsibility to be handled efficiently at all times. Here’s why an Insider Threat Program holds more benefits than you think for your organization’s safety.
Heard the expression “mole in a group” before? A mole is a person who gains entry into a group, gets information about the group, and uses that information to sabotage the group.
From a corporate standpoint, a mole can be likened to an insider threat. And what is an Insider threat? Pretty simple.
An Insider Threat is a malicious threat to an organization that comes from people within the organization, such as employees, former employees, contractors, or business associates, who have inside information concerning the organization’s security practices, data, and computer systems.
These threats are usually indicated by abnormal activity at a company’s network level during unusual times, e.g., signing in to the network at 3 am or an employee starting to take on more tasks with excessive enthusiasm and transferring too much data through the network (believe it or not, these could be indicative of foul play). Also, if an employee noticeably begins to try accessing unusual resources for their position, that could be indicative of an insider threat.
So from this alone, we see that insider threats are complex from the jump. They could come in different ways, and it takes a keen eye to detect them.
To wit, according to the 2021 Insider Threat Report from Cybersecurity Insiders, 50% of IT professionals think that insider threats are more difficult to detect and prevent than external cyberattacks; and that’s for a good reason because Insider threats are serious problems to an organization’s sustenance.
Insider threats require a different approach because insiders already know where your organization’s sensitive data exists and how to access it. Plus, not all insider threats are the same. An insider threat could be malicious, like an employee bent on damaging the company’s reputation to get back at an employer. They could also be accidental, like an ordinarily dependable employee falling for a social engineering scam. Other times, it could even be a hacker who manages to steal a user’s credentials and uses those to look like a legitimate employee doing routine work.
Regardless of the insider threat persona, businesses must take action against such attacks. And that means investing in an Insider Threat program. But before we look at the benefits of an Insider Threat Program, let’s briefly look at what an Insider Threat Program is.
What is an Insider Threat Program?
An Insider threat Program is designed to help organizations intervene before an individual with privileged access or an understanding of the organization makes a mistake or commits a harmful or hostile act. The program development usually spans the entire organization and serves as a system to help individuals rather than an aggressive enforcement or “sting” program.
While performing the main objective of protecting business information from the wrong hands, insider threat programs also address three core principles, which apply to organizations of all sizes and maturity levels:
Promoting a protective and supportive culture throughout the organization;
Safeguarding organizational valuables while protecting privacy, rights, and liberties; and
Remaining adaptive as the organization evolves and its risk tolerance changes.
Benefits of an Insider Threat Program
Let’s get down to business; what are the benefits of having an Insider Threat program in your organization? Here are the key goodies:
Detecting Suspicious Behavior Immediately
As a business owner or top staff at a company, you can’t wait until danger occurs before you react to it. You should always approach threats to your company from a preventive standpoint, and that’s what an Insider Threat program gets you. With such a program in your company, you can identify suspicious behaviour from employees and any threats in real-time and work towards preventing these risks from becoming anything more.
With an Insider Threat Program, your company’s IT security staff can detect suspicious behaviour from any employees or persons within the organization associated with fraud, misuse of business assets, data theft, or IT sabotage.
Identifying High-Risk Profiles and Threats
Being a business owner, you may think you’re in control of everything that goes on inside and outside your organization, but you’re not. We’re all human, and humans could never possibly monitor all the employees in a large enterprise to identify risky behaviour.
So how do you get to identify risky behaviour and address it before it devolves into something dangerous to the sustenance of your organization? You do that through an Insider Threat Program.
Adequate Insider Threat Programs often use machine learning algorithms with event correlation, enrichment, data mining, and purpose-built analytics to detect high-risk profiles of people and machines within an organization. Thanks to technological advancement, these algorithms can help your organization identify human behavioral events amongst employees that reveal risky patterns an insider threat might execute.
Monitoring and Managing Cyber Threats
Insider Threat Programs are tailored towards detecting and mitigating cybersecurity threats to your organization’s trade secrets and general business information. As such, having this program in place vests your organization with the benefit of monitoring and managing cyber threats effectively and efficiently, in many ways humans wouldn’t be able to.
Insider Threat Programs often include detailed monitoring, reporting, and scoring tools that make it easier for your security and forensic staff to watch, detect, and manage different types of insider threats. These programs also contribute to continuous risk scoring based on past and current behavior. They can also generate real-time risk prioritized alerts for incident analysis.
All these pieces, brought together, showcase the proactive workflow of an Insider Threat Program and why it’s more than necessary for an organization looking to protect itself from physical and digital insider threats to have one in store.
Understanding the depth of Risks
Risks are an unavoidable part of business; you just have to find them and address them before someone else can exploit them to cause damage to your business. Now, it’s already established that an Insider Threat Program helps a company identify risks before they become more than just that. However, an Insider Threat Program also analyzes risks and helps organizations understand the actual depth of such risks by normalizing large amounts of heterogenous event data.
A Risk may not be just one in itself; upon further analysis, more risks may come to light, but these other risks would not have been identified without a deep analysis of the first; that’s what an Insider Threat Program does for an organization. It doesn’t just identify threats and risks but analyzes and examines them further, going to the root cause of the danger or risk to ensure it doesn’t come up again after getting resolved.
An Insider Threat Program also helps businesses to pattern roles-based access controls adequately. Many companies are fond of giving access to their information to any and every employee who wants it. While that helps to create all-around informed decision-making by the organization, it’s not sustainable in the grand scheme of things.
Once again, we’re humans. Humans are sweet today and bitter tomorrow. An employee today could become a rival the next, so it’s not in a company’s best interests to give every person access to their information, particularly if it’s a large enterprise.
Being able to pattern who then has access to the organization’s trade secrets and business information can get complicated without the right guidance; Insider Threat Programs provide this proper guidance.
As established earlier, these programs can analyze suspicious behaviour and behavioural events from time to time within the company; so information from such analyses will help the top guns in any organization appropriately determine who or who shouldn’t have access to their corporate data.
Knowing how to address Risks
Having an Insider Threat Program also helps any organization know how to address already identified risks appropriately. With the information obtained from the program, an organization can adequately align its information security and compliance control infrastructure around that which is truly vulnerable — the already identified risks or threats to the company’s safety.
These are the benefits attached to having an Insider Threat Program. However, creating and implementing an Insider Threat Program is no small task, and you may need professional help in that regard.
If you’re on the lookout for such help, look no further. At Security Pro, we do the work for you — we research, conduct due diligence, and pick out the very best professionals in the field of security and protection to be connected with you.
We’re waiting on you now; you can always contact us or book a free consultation with us anytime you please. Let us help you secure your organization’s protection from the vile factor of insider threats as best as possible!