When it comes to cyber security, many businesses focus on defending their networks from external cyber threats. However, it’s essential they’re also vigilant against insider threats - these can be just as, if not more, destructive. In this blog, we’ll delve into the most common insider threats businesses face, explore the risks they pose, and demonstrate how Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions can help safeguard your business.
Insider threats originate from within an organisation, making them particularly insidious. In recent years, both the number of insider cyber attacks and the costs they incur has risen dramatically. DTEX Systems’ recent report, 2023 Cost of Insider Risks Global Report, revealed the number of insider attacks in 2023 was 7,343, a step up from 6,803 last year - while the typical annual cost of these threats has reached $16.2 million (£13.2 million) per attack. These threats can be intentional or unintentional, and the most common are:
• Negligent Employees: Often, employees compromise security through careless actions like clicking on phishing emails or reusing passwords. While they may not have been intending to cause your business any harm, the consequences can be severe. In fact, research by Kaspersky showed businesses are just as concerned about employee negligence as they are about data breaches.
• Malicious Insiders: Some individuals within an organisation will intentionally seek to harm the company. This can be due to personal grievances or even coercion by external parties. If these insiders can access sensitive information, they could inflict significant damage, which is why it’s vital to maintain strict access controls across your network.
• Third-Party Contractors: External entities working closely with your organisation, like consultants, partners, suppliers, can pose a threat. If they have access to your systems or data, a breach on their end could compromise your security.
• Former Employees: Employees who have left the company but can still access your systems and data can be a significant risk to your business. If their departure wasn't amicable, they might misuse their access to harm the organisation - and even if their departure was amicable, this could offer hackers another way into your network.
• Accidental Data Exposure: Sometimes, employees inadvertently share sensitive information without realising it. This could occur through misconfigured permissions, email mishaps, or other innocent mistakes. Earlier this year, a Microsoft employee accidentally leaked 30TB of data after using a misconfigured SAS token.
Insider threats can have severe consequences for all businesses. These threats include data breaches, where insiders with access to sensitive data can steal or leak it online. Not only do these result in financial losses for the business involved, but they’d also cause damage to their reputation, and have legal repercussions. Malicious insiders can cause financial losses to a business by manipulating financial systems or engaging in fraudulent activities. Disgruntled ex-employees could exacerbate the situation by sabotaging systems, leading to operational disruption, downtime, and business process disruptions - research by Unit 42 last year showed these kinds of employees were responsible for 75% of insider cyber attacks. These cyber security incidents can erode customer trust, making it harder for businesses to attract clients, and can also result in hefty fines and legal actions. Despite these dangers, however, many businesses aren’t taking insider threats seriously. Although the costs of insider risks are higher than ever before, 88% of organisations have said they’re spending less than 10% of their security budgets on the issue - the rest of their budgets are going towards external threats.
Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions offer a range of benefits to businesses, and help them mitigate insider threats effectively. With IAM, you can ensure only authorised individuals have access to your most sensitive data and systems. At Infosec K2K, we offer IAM assessments and services to help reduce the risk of insider threats and data breaches.
Our IAM solutions give you granular control over who has access to what across your organisation. By enforcing the principle of least privilege, we ensure employees only have access to the resources necessary for their roles, significantly reducing your attack surface. With IAM, you can also implement robust user authentication mechanisms, including multi-factor authentication (MFA) and biometrics, to ensure only authorised personnel can access critical systems and data.
At Infosec K2K, we can continuously monitor user activities. With our AT&T-powered managed security operations centre (SOC), we can detect suspicious behaviour, such as unauthorised access or data exfiltration, and intervene quickly. When employees leave your organisation, or simply change roles, our access control solutions can streamline your access controls and ensure former employees no longer have access to critical systems or data. We can also help you maintain compliance with data protection regulations, minimising the risk of penalties related to insider-related data breaches.
Whatever solution you’re looking for, we can help. The experts at Infosec K2K can offer you specialist guidance, and help you find the product that’s the best fit for you.
Get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help you.