Strategies to Identify and Mitigate Insider Threats

Insider Threats

One of the most significant threats to organizations of every size, type, and the sector is the insider threat. A prevailing insider attack in every organization can have devastating impacts on the operational flows and create disruptions that result in huge losses.

According to a recent report published by Ponemon Institute titled “2022 Ponemon Cost of Insider Threats Global Report,” insider threat incidents have grown by 44% compared to the previous two years, with an average cost per incident costing up to USD 15.38 million. The survey also highlights that incidents that were hidden for more than 90 days to curb the threat cost them an average of USD 17.19 million on an annual basis. Additionally, the report also suggests that the average time to curb an insider threat incident rose from 77 days to 85 days, which resulted in a surge in the threat containment cost. CISOs and CSOs should have vigilant security strategies and tools integrated to identify the internal threats in the initial phases of their employee cycle and contain them before they have devastating impacts on the organization.

Here are a few ways that the SecOps teams should consider to identify and mitigate insider threats in real-time:

Educate the entire workforce

Enterprises that want to reduce the risks of insider threats need to have effective approaches like conducting an anti-phishing training workshop on a regular basis to keep the employees aware and vigilant.

Also Read: Cyber Resilience: The New Approach to Addressing Rising Threats

SecOps teams can design and deploy phishing emails to their employees to identify if the anti-phishing training programs implemented were effective or not. Moreover, it is crucial to identify the employees that are able to identify and notify the phishing attempts. SecOps teams should consider training their workforce to identify suspicious behaviors in the teams and encourage or reward them for reporting it to IT or HR. It is one of the most effective ways to minimize the insider threats of irate and disgruntled employees.

Create cohesion between IT Security and HR

The majority of security incidents are an outcome of miscommunication between IT and HR. The human resources teams need to inform the IT departments in real-time after the employee separates to revoke all the system access to avoid loss of sensitive information. Cohesion between the HR and IT departments will help organizations prevent insider threat incidents from occurring.

Execute enterprise-wide risk evaluations

CISOs should consider evaluating their critical assets to identify all the potential vulnerabilities and threats that could have a devastating impact on their business continuity. It is crucial to evaluate all the various potential insider threats that can have severe consequences on business continuity. Once the CISOs are done evaluating the risks, they need to prioritize the risk to develop a cybersecurity strategy accordingly to minimize the risks.

Transparent documentation and enforce efficient policies and controls

Every enterprise should have customized cybersecurity software solutions and tools in their IT infrastructure to manage policy and configuration documentation. It is crucial for organizations to design and enforce effective governance policies to access the systems based on the job description of the user. CISOs also should consider charging penalties for users that violate any privacy policies.

Also Read: Strategies to Strengthen the Operational Technology (OT) Cybersecurity Posture

Enforce stringent password and account management policies and practices

Organizations that do not have stringent password and account management policies will have higher risks of insider threats. CISOs should consider implementing stringent access management strategies that ensure airtight security throughout the enterprise. If the users are allowed to set easy-to-guess passwords without any specific requirements, it becomes easy for sophisticated insider threats to steal some other users’ credentials to accomplish all their malicious activities. All the users in the entire business network should be advised to set difficult passwords, and they shouldn’t be shared with any other user. It is crucial that CISOs ensure they have all the necessary tools and procedures implemented to ensure all the workforce has updated passwords.

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