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Addressing external cyber threats isn’t the only requirement to protect your business in the increasingly complex world of cybercrime. Often overlooked, insider threats can inflict as much damage as external risks, and yet, many organizations struggle to adequately monitor and manage these internal threats.

A large proportion of data breaches stem from human error and intentional insider misconduct. Considering this, it’s crucial to formulate a strategic response to this escalating threat.

Prioritizing insider threats in your cybersecurity strategy is essential, and developing mechanisms to minimize the impact of data breaches caused by these threats is of utmost importance. By implementing continuous, comprehensive measures to counteract this issue, your business’s security will be substantially strengthened.

This article will guide you on how to protect your essential business data from insider threats.

Recognizing Insider Threats

Insider threats represent risks originating from within your business – these could be either malicious insiders with harmful intentions or well-meaning insiders whose actions inadvertently compromise your business’s security.

It’s vital to be mindful of various threats such as:

  • Accidental insiders: Even well-meaning employees can inadvertently cause a security breach while rushing.
  • Malicious insiders: Individuals may exploit their access rights to pilfer sensitive data for their benefit.
  • Unreliable third parties: Negligent or malicious actions by a third party, like a business partner or contractor, can compromise an organization’s security.
  • Disgruntled insiders: These individuals may sabotage operations or destroy property and data to inflict damage on their organization.

We will concentrate on disgruntled insiders in the subsequent sections to help you understand their motivations for launching attacks and the potential harm they can inflict on your business.

Detecting a Disgruntled Insider

Identifying the signs of a disgruntled insider is important, but it’s equally vital to understand that, in most cases, your employees aren’t trying to intentionally harm your business. Unless given a reason otherwise, trust and respect should always underpin your interactions with your staff.

Disgruntled insiders often exhibit one or more types of high-risk behaviors that you should monitor:

  • Dissatisfaction with a negative performance review: An employee unhappy with their performance review might pose a potential insider threat. While not every disgruntled employee becomes a threat, it’s essential to recognize the possibility.
  • Feeling overlooked or unequal among colleagues: An employee who feels marginalized or ignored by their peers might pose a risk, although not always.
  • Dissatisfaction with their job: If an employee feels trapped in their role, they may engage in damaging activities.
  • Unexpected departure from the company: Even though this might not be seen as behavior, an employee leaving the company can potentially cause damage during their exit. Until an employee’s access rights are revoked, they are still considered an “insider.”

Managing these behavioral patterns may seem daunting, but delaying action only increases the risk of a disgruntled insider causing damage to your business.

Potential Damages Caused by Disgruntled Insiders

A disgruntled insider might engage in harmful activities, including:

  • Extracting business data before leaving to join a competitor
  • Deleting crucial data or evidence
  • Leaking private customer data or business IPs to the public or on the dark web
  • Causing damage to physical or digital assets, systems, applications, or deleting/destroying data and information assets

Consider these examples:

  • Attorneys from a notable law firm pilfered confidential files and eradicated emails to aid a competitor in setting up a new branch. This resulted in the loss of vital documentation, necessitating the closure of the impacted office by the affected firm.
  • A hospital’s ex-employee, on the day following his resignation, downloaded private data from his previous employer onto his USB drive. Subsequently, he disclosed test results, patient names, and birth dates to the public. The incident compelled the hospital to offer extended services, including complimentary credit monitoring and identity restoration, to all patients affected.

Enhanced Security + Comprehensive Backup and Recovery = The Defense You Need

Now is the perfect moment to bolster your IT security and plan for insider threats. Initiating stringent security protocols like tighter access control and continuous risk management is a strong start. Further securing your business with a top-tier backup and disaster recovery solution dramatically enhances your defenses. This approach ensures your vital business data is frequently backed up, safeguarded from malware or insider threats, and swiftly recoverable in case of a breach.

Looking to shield your business from disgruntled insider threats without fostering a climate of suspicion or constant surveillance of your employees? A proficient IT service provider can assist you in not only repelling insider threats but also fortifying your crucial business data with a backup and disaster recovery system. We’re here to help protect your business. Contact us and we’ll arrange a no-obligation consultation today.

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