The people who make up a company are both its greatest defense and its greatest vulnerability when it comes to internal threats. As a result, as security leaders develop an insider threat program, they must assess mitigation efforts to ensure the program’s success.
Threat actors from the outside aren’t the only threat to a company’s cybersecurity these days: Insider threat is becoming more prevalent, and companies must address them. Insider threats can be both intentional and accidental, so companies must build a comprehensive plan that integrates better security measures and employee education and training.
A proactive insider threat program should be implemented across the board and serve as a support system for employees. Businesses must consider motivating individuals to be actively aware of abnormal behavior and know when to speak out rather than adopting a complex enforcement program or an oversimplified ‘check-the-box’ solution.
In its 2022 Cost of Insider Threats Global Report, Proofpoint and the Ponemon Institute discovered that careless or irresponsible activity accounted for 56 percent of all events. These incidents are also the most expensive, with the average clean-up operation costing USD 6.6 million. Because even the tiniest flaws can have disastrous effects on a business, it’s critical to thoroughly analyze all potential risk vectors while developing an insider threat program.
Begin with a Caring Culture
Culture is the foundation of security. This entails openly and frequently discussing security and leaning in and investing to show employees that the company cares through training, investments, and other measures. Team members who leave the company need to stay connected. This could entail retaining a piece of the business or staying informed and involved through alumni events and e-newsletters.
Adopt Zero Trust
The rise in data breaches and the move beyond the enterprise perimeter brought on by remote working have rendered the concept of trust obsolete. As a result, companies must establish zero-trust policies based on “never trust, always verify.” Zero trust ensures that access to the organization’s data is constantly validated when used in conjunction with encryption to safeguard data at the source.
Buy-In from All Stakeholders
It’s vital to get stakeholder buy-in from departments all within the company. Legal and HR departments are often disregarded when developing an insider threat program, even though they supply some of the most crucial contexts. Determining what user data should be collected and how that data should be processed to discover risky abnormalities in real-time is the first step in safely monitoring employee behaviors.
Feedback and Training Programs
It is critical to involve employees from all levels of the business to develop an insider threat mitigation strategy. People in a company are the most effective defense against insider threats. Employees trained to spot potential insider threats and understand the damage insiders can be more willing to protect the organization against malicious conduct.
While safeguarding employee privacy, leadership should strive to establish a supportive reporting culture. They should implement policies that support confidentiality while allowing employees to share information with leadership through readily accessible feedback channels. These principles, when effectively applied, safeguard companies from dangerous insiders who may unknowingly exploit their legitimate access to harm the organization.
Collaboration Between Physical and Cybersecurity Teams
Coordination of multiple cyber and physical safeguards can act as a solid foundation for mitigating insider threats. Integrating physical and existing cybersecurity efforts for a comprehensive approach and a unified view of the complete threat landscape is critical to enabling dynamic collaboration within investigations.
Security teams should work together to maintain strict controls on access control, sensitive data, encrypted communication channels, software updates, and backups of vital systems and devices as needed. Building a proactive insider threat program in partnership with cybersecurity teams automates the capture of abnormal behavior, internal triggers, or concerning activities.
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