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Thanks to the latest digital tools, companies can conduct business activities digitally. However, it also means that the sensitive business and customer data on their servers can be compromised should it get hacked. Therefore, a strong IT infrastructure is vital to protect their information.

However, not all threats come from the outside. In fact, insider threats have proven to be one of the most dangerous attacks for any financial organization. More than 34% of businesses globally deal with the damages caused by insider attacks.

To prevent such losses from harming your business, your company must have an established insider threat program. You need to do more than just improve your data security systems to protect your sensitive data.

Insider Threat: A Definition

Before you can identify the signs of an insider threat, it’s important to understand first what an insider or insider threats are.

An insider is a person within the organizational structure who has or had the authority in and knowledge of the company’s structure, employees, and workflow. Meanwhile, an insider threat is the possibility of an insider using their knowledge to plan and launch an attack against the organization.

The progress an insider makes towards orchestrating an attack is straightforward. They begin with expressing their ideas at work. The declaration is followed by conducting heavy research on their company, tapping accomplices to their plot, scouting their targets, trying out their plans, executing the attack, and finally, leaving without a trace.

Insider Threat Indicators

It’s going to be a challenge to figure out which of your employees are actual threats to your company, but these signs should be able to help you identify which of them are putting your company’s data and profits at risk.

1: Unusual logins

One surefire way of identifying internal threats is sudden logins at odd hours of the day. If the employee in question is suddenly logging in when they shouldn’t be online, it’s plausible that they’re preparing for an attack.

2: Frustration towards company policies

Employees may react negatively if certain policies aren’t in their favor. However, personnel who had an especially adverse reaction may act on their anger and use it against the company.

3: Poor performance appraisals

Another indicator of an employee who could become an inside threat is their reaction to poor performance evaluations. For example, one network engineer sabotaged his former employer’s systems when he learned he was about to be fired.

4: Financial troubles

If an employee who works in sensitive sectors of your company is suddenly under financial duress, the prospect of them attacking your company increases. The pressures that come from them dealing with debt or other financial issues may force their hand.

5: Disagreements with colleagues

Employees who have fractious relationships with their colleagues are more likely to cause trouble. The danger increases if they also meet any of the conditions mentioned.

6: Unexplained financial affluence

If the employee in question suddenly had the ability to purchase things above their paygrade and lifestyle, it’s possible that they profited over a recent attack on your company.

Preventing Insider Threats

Identifying threats that can compromise your company can help you avoid costly damages. However, preventing such individuals from popping up should be the top priority. Preventing insider threats can be done with the following steps.

1: Conduct thorough background checks on employees who handle sensitive material

The people who will work closely with sensitive data must be trustworthy. Before hiring anyone for the position, hire a third-party contractor to hold background checks on them to protect your property.

2: Implement strict password and account management policies

Build a system that protects the accounts you give your employees. Establish safeguards that prevent information from being shared outside the company.

3: Establish clear limits when it comes to access to sensitive information and hardware

Preventing anyone from gaining access to sensitive information is vital in protecting your company. Make sure to give access only to individuals who need to work closely with sensitive data.

4: Remind employees of security measures

Inform your employees that there are established countermeasures against potential insider attacks. Making them aware that their actions are monitored and recorded should deter them from doing anything suspicious.

5: Create a team dedicated to preventing insider attacks

Tap your human resources and IT departments to build a team dedicated to identifying and stopping internal threats. They have the necessary knowledge and equipment to pull this off successfully.

More importantly, add identity proofing and multi-factor authentication (MFA) to your login systems. Incorporate these systems into your company’s workflow to fully protect your data from internal attacks. MFAs add a layer of security that will make any attack tough to implement.

Weed Out the Threats from Within

Preparing for any data attack is vital in today’s business landscape. Having multiple layers of protection against internal attacks ensures stakeholders that their data is safe, especially for companies operating in the financial industry.

Learn more about how your company can be protected from any cyberattack by reaching out to our experts at Q5id. 


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