Insider Risk: Addressing the Growing Challenge Amid the Great Resignation


In the midst of a period of substantial staff turnover, insider risk management became a topmost priority. But fragile relationships between business leaders and security experts can complicate mitigation attempts.

High turnover has become the norm as the Great Resignation wreaks havoc on organizations across industries. Although it may not be the first issue that springs to mind when considering excessive employee turnover, cybersecurity can be seriously jeopardized. Enterprises must strengthen their cybersecurity due diligence with preemptive data breach procedures in order to safeguard their organization’s assets.

The global pandemic and the subsequent rise in staff turnover have seriously jeopardized the data security postures of many enterprises. Cyber frauds surged by 400%, and the coronavirus became the worst security concern ever as the menace started to push American society into social isolation, quarantining, and remote working in March 2020.

She further says that there is a worry for malicious insiders, and again organizations need strict off-boarding solutions to reduce the risk of insider risks and data breaches when people leave. “Currently, practices such as keeping an email account active after an employee has left can lead to the employee taking sensitive data with them to cause harm or even to create an advantage for themselves in their next job,” adds Dr. Maria Bada.

Also Read: The Key to Making Cybersecurity Fit How Employees Work

Many people are still working remotely full-time or on hybrid schedules two years later. Both industry specialists and the whole cybersecurity community see a noticeable increase in potential hazards. In addition, rules, processes, and technology that help contain privilege misuse or lessen the harm it can do can be used to handle insider risks.

Organizations can reduce the likelihood of their sensitive data being compromised by using the recommended practices listed below to prevent insider risks.

Recognize and defend vital assets

An insider risk program’s primary goal is to protect the resources that give the company a competitive edge. A critical asset is something of value that, if lost, damaged, or otherwise degraded, would seriously impair the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of the asset and the organization’s ability to carry out its core missions and perform its daily operations.

Facilities, technology, systems, and people can all be considered critical assets. These assets can be both physical and logical. Intellectual Property (IP) is a part of the vital asset that is frequently ignored. Proprietary software, vendor customer information, schematics, and internal manufacturing procedures can all fall under this category. The location of data while it is in transit and at rest must be closely monitored by the organization.

While modern technology enables seamless cooperation, it also makes it simple to eliminate critical data from a business. In order to successfully protect against attackers who frequently target the organization’s key assets, it is crucial to have a sweeping cognition of all critical assets (both physical and logical).

Manage access from third parties

When a third-party vendor was penetrated, there have been some significant hacks where the attacker used that access to infiltrate the target company. Holding third parties to the same security requirements as the company might be difficult. How can businesses truly trust them in their surroundings when they can’t see them? To ensure that no one is trying to access a location they shouldn’t, access by third parties should be rigorously regulated and monitored.

Observe user conduct

Monitoring user activity in real-time for atypical user behavior indicative of potential sabotage, data theft, or misuse is the most efficient way to combat insider risk. Data science is used in User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) to establish user and entity behavior baselines based on previous access and activity. Analytics is used to track user and entity activity in real-time after baselines for behavior have been established. Massive volumes of data are ingested by UEBA, which offers real-time visibility into what people are actually doing within the business. The secret to foreseeing insider risk is to spot the first signs of unusual user activity and act accordingly. In situations when firms are monitoring millions of user activities and events every second, that action can be automated and staged for the best results.

Set up physical security in the workplace

Enterprises should employ a seasoned security team that will adhere to their security guidelines to the letter. They ought to keep suspicious individuals out of locations where there are important IT objects (like server rooms or rooms with switch stands. They should also have them check everyone’s IT devices at the door and note anything that deviates significantly from the security baseline. Organizations should advise visitors to turn off the cameras on their mobile devices when inside the building.

Also Read: Addressing Cyber-Fraud – Security and Anti-Fraud Teams Must Collaborate

Conduct security awareness training

The most common way to find malicious employees is through insider threat detection. Accidental insiders can be found, but businesses should work to avoid them altogether by continuously educating employees about IT security. Companies should instruct them about the risks associated with remote access, how to remove adware, and the perils of firmware security. Additionally, they must inform them about frequent cyber-attacks such as company email compromise and shadow IT threats. The more data they have, the better equipped they are to spot unusual and dangerous conduct in their coworkers.

Enforce least privilege and duty separation

Require two users to approve the copying of data to removable media (firms might also want to require that the data be encrypted); two system administrators must also support the elimination of crucial data or configuration changes. Enterprises must implement role-based access controls, set up group policies, and ensure that administrators have distinct, individual accounts for both administrative and non-administrative operations in order to prevent employees from accessing data or services that are not necessary for their jobs.

“Sentiment analysis” practice

Finding out what someone is thinking about is understood as sentiment analysis. In this instance, it refers to using analytics to identify whether a person has started to pose a threat to cybersecurity. Are there any negative performance reviews or disciplinary actions taking place at work? Managing life’s stresses outside of work? Experiencing financial difficulties? Firms have internal data from HR, the card access system, local and remote logins, and other sources, even without access to personal information. That data can be more than sufficient to flag a possible risk before it materializes.

In summary, the Great Resignation caused significant organizational data leakage, and the remote work paradigm has decreased the visibility that would ordinarily make it easier to fix this issue.

However, it’s never too late to think about making changes to the company’s cybersecurity procedures. Businesses can start by taking a few crucial steps to keep their data secure during periods of high employee turnover.

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