Insider threats refer to malicious risks to a business that come from people within the organization. These people include employees, former workers, contractors, and business associates, who have authorized access to the organization’s sensitive information.
For example, a malicious insider can be a disgruntled employee who was laid off. It can also be a person who intends to make a quick buck by selling your trade secrets to interested parties, or even someone who unintentionally opens your system/data to potential harm.
A 2020 study found that data exfiltration was the most common type of insider threat, followed by privilege misuse. Data exfiltration accounted for 62 percent of insider threats caused by employees and contractors.
Insider threats can eventually lead to fraud, data theft, stealing of intellectual property, and sabotage of computer systems. Steps towards detecting insider threats and blocking them are crucial to your business’s productivity and reputation.
Managed Services Providers (MSP) can help you mitigate insider threats by implementing preventive cybersecurity measures within your business network.
How MSPs Reduce the Risk of Insider Threats
Here's a list of services that MSPs provide to mitigate the risks resulting from insider threats.
1. Security Awareness Training
MSPs implement effective cybersecurity awareness training programs to educate employees on proactively detecting warning signs to minimize damage from insider threats. Let’s see what this entails.
2. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is an approach to restricting system access to authorized users only. It protects your business’s sensitive data by providing access to employees based on their duties. In other words, employees are allowed to access only the information necessary to perform their work, thereby preventing misuse of confidential business data from malicious insiders.
Access is given based on various factors such as authority, responsibility, and job competency. Further, access to system resources is limited to specific tasks such as viewing, creating, or modifying a file.
MSPs can also leverage RBAC to meet regulatory compliances such as PCI-DSS, GDPR, and HIPAA. You can take the help of local IT specialists to manage access to your sensitive data through RBAC and meet state-specific compliance. For instance, businesses in San Francisco can work with providers of IT Support and keep their systems updated with local regulatory compliances.
3. Advanced Data Encryption
MSPs use encryption algorithms such as Advanced Encryption Standard and Triple Data Encryption Standard for protecting sensitive business data and ensuring no breaches occur. They also deploy Zero-Knowledge privacy standards to encrypt an employee’s file on their system before uploading it. This ensures that only the authorized employee has access to unencrypted files. It will not allow any other employee of your company to access or tamper with the files.
4. Identification of Anomalous Behavior
User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) helps MSPs identify employees’ suspicious activities such as attempts to access restricted files or intellectual property. UEBA is a type of cybersecurity process that considers the regular conduct of employees to detect deviations from their usual behavior. For instance, if a particular employee usually downloads 10MB of data every day, but suddenly starts downloading gigabytes of files, the system will detect this anomaly and alert you immediately.
Machine learning and statistical analysis are leveraged by UEBA to detect anomalies that can transform into a potential threat. All in all, MSPs use UEBA to track all the employees and entities in your business system, and mitigate attempts to carry out targeted attacks and fraud.
5. Comprehensive Visibility and Monitoring
MSPs constantly monitor your business’s IT infrastructure through a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platform. They can detect internal threats in real-time. Further, log monitoring and alerting enables employees to carry on their work seamlessly with minimal intrusions and privacy concerns.
6. Zero-Trust Identity Policy
The Zero-Trust identity policy grants access to employees only when they meet certain security criteria. Also, access is granted to specific systems or resources for a limited period of time.
For instance, if an employee requires access to your business’s accounting database, your MSP can use the Zero-Trust identity policy to analyze if the employee actually belongs to the accounting department. They will also check if the employee is using a known computer and accessing it from a safe location. If any of these criteria are not fulfilled, your MSP will prompt your system to ask for more information from the employee, such as a secret code sent through a text or an email.
From rogue employees and financially-motivated insiders to involuntary employee blunders, insider threats occur because of a variety of reasons. Businesses need to prioritize insider threat protection to balance security and privacy, while preventing, detecting, and responding to malicious insiders.
You can hire an MSP and implement robust security measures to mitigate insider threats. Their cybersecurity services include constant monitoring to identify abnormal behavior, instant investigation of suspicious user activity, end-user security awareness education, and more.
In a nutshell, MSPs can help you implement measures for insider threat management and protect your organization's critical data from malicious insider activities.
At Precision IT Consulting, we deploy a multilayered approach to IT Security. This involves making sure our users have the right EndPoint Protection on there computers and servers that protects them against the latest virus and ransomware threats. This also includes making sure our clients have the best network security in place to help protect them from network security threats. We also make sure the right security policies are enabled on our client's network and that documented policies are in place for end-users.
But, technology alone can not prevent all of the threats small businesses face today. Today ransomware is the most dangerous IT security threat that oftentimes gets companies and government agencies in trouble and on the news for all the wrong reasons. Ransomware uses phishing emails to target end-users so this makes end-users the most vulnerable to IT security threats. Whatever technology you implement with anti-ransomware protection, it is not 100% full proof and there is always going to be an email that gets by your security defenses.
One way how phishing attacks work is an email is sent out with a link to a website that has a virus on it. Once your end-user visits that site, it then now has access to your end-users system and then eventually your network where they can do damage. They often times will encrypt your companies data and make you pay a ransom to decrypt this. Hopefully, your company has a good backup system so you do not have to pay any bitcoin to the hackers but if you do not, then training can help reduce the risk you get ransomware in the first place.
Awareness and End-user training
The lack of awareness by businesses that they are not a target for IT security issues is one of the first steps a business has to overcome to reduce the risk that their business will be hit with ransomware. End-user security training is key to building awareness. For end-user training, you do not have to pay for expensive training, you can implement a solution that is cost-effective and does a good and fun job of training your end-users.
Sophos Phish Threat
Precision IT Consulting is a Sophos partner so the training program we provide our clients is Sophos's Phish Threat solution. Along with complementing the security features of Sophos EndPoint and Network security, what this program does is send out emails to your end-users that resemble phishing emails. It will send them out randomly and keep sending them making them out to your users and if they click on it, it will notify a supervisor and automatically enroll them in online training. See below a video about Sophos Phish Threat in more detail.
The SANS Institute is an excellent resource to learn more about end-user security awareness. They have courses you can pay for or you can just bookmark there resources section. Here is a newsletter they wrote with more information on email phishing and how you can protect yourself against it.
Also, bookmark their video of the month as well.
To learn more about end-user IT training, contact us at (877) 800-6710 Option # 2.
Ransomware, or malware designed to lock up your computers and devices in a way you can’t undo yourself, comprises a threat to businesses large and small. This is one of the biggest headaches for IT departments. This malware lets attackers hold your devices hostage until you pay them what they demand, compromising your ability to communicate with customers, access files and take orders. These hackers typically demand money, and sometimes, lots of it.
For instance, many attackers use the most recent Locky ransomware variant, which infects computers through spam email attachments, and this malware asks victims for .49 Bitcoin, or about $1,600, for unlocking your device. Locky’s original form wreaked approximately $7.8 million in damages to business in 2016, and this was just one ransomware strain. The FBI estimates that, in general, ransomware cost businesses more than $1 billion in damages in 2016 alone.
The most common victims of ransomware targets remain companies with below-average IT security systems in place, making outdated security measures like a big bulls-eye painted on your company’s valuable data.
This very real threat can knock you out of business for more than a day, and unless you can afford both downtime costs and ransom demands, it could land your business in hot water. According to most estimates, 96 percent of victims lose data access for at least 24 hours.
Luckily, you can stay ahead of these hackers and protect what’s yours from current threats such as the headline-grabbing WannaCry ransomware with just a few simple steps.
1. Backup, backup, backup!
Always back up your data and always keep things fresh. External hard drives, USB devices and CDs all provide great options, giving you an easy way to diversify your data storage routine. This not only keeps your data safe from hackers, but also protects it from user errors and other online and offline threats. For instance, if your office floods, an extra hard drive kept dry at home or in a disaster-proof safe can get you up and running again in no time. Check out network-attached storage (NAS) devices or a cloud backup service for extra security.
2. Think, and then think again before you click.
Avoid opening suspicious attachments and/or links at all costs when checking your email or surfing the web. The most common way to pick up malware is through email and careless clicking. To save you from yourself, take proactive measures such as configuring your email settings to block dubious attachments with extensions like .exe, .vbs, or .scr. This means you don’t have to worry about accidentally opening them, and when they’re out of sight, they’re out of mind.
3. When in doubt, patch it up.
Keep your software as up to date as you possibly can, including but not limited to your device’s operating systems, antivirus programs, browsers and plugins. Good antivirus software can block thousands of attacks per day, protecting your business in instances where employees get twitchy fingers and accidentally click on something they shouldn’t.
4. Keep your IT department on its toes.
If you are your own IT department, consider investing in a multi-layered defense strategy provided by a reliable company. For example Datto offers comprehensive data backup and disaster recovery solutions specifically for businesses if you want an extra level of security.
5. Stay alert to emerging threats.
Threats evolve quickly in this high-tech age, and sometimes, they spiral out of balance with businesses’ ability to defend against them. For this reason, it behooves you to stay as up to date as possible on the latest ransomware and malware news, putting you ahead of the game and keeping your business safe.
Contact us if you need help with protecting your business
Precision IT Consulting Help Desk is a team of experienced and certified professionals that provides daily strategic support for businesses.