Overview: There are a lot of different ways to prevent outsiders from getting into your network. You can have the strongest firewalls and security procedures available to keep them out. But while those strategies might prevent outsiders from getting in, they don’t do much to protect against someone who’s already on the inside of your security system from doing damage. Some of the worst threats to a company come from the inside.
Read on to learn five ways to lower your risk of insider threats and how employee monitoring can help.
There are two types of insider threats: malicious and unintentional. Education won’t do anything to stop malicious threats, the threats that come when employees have intentionally decided to compromise your security. You will need other strategies to detect insider threat.
However, education can do a lot to prevent unintentional threats caused by carelessness or ignorance, and eliminating those leaves your resources free to focus on more serious malicious threats. Make sure your employees are trained in best practices to maintain security and can recognize and avoid threats and dangerous actions.
Before you can protect your most critical assets, you need to know what they are and where they are, so that’s a good place to begin your risk assessment.
Once you know what you’re protecting, it’s time to identify the vulnerabilities and potential threats to your data assets. Where are your weaknesses? Why would someone want to access this information, and what are the likeliest ways to go about it? Prioritize the data and the vulnerabilities so that you can give the strongest protections to your most important assets and your most easily exploited vulnerabilities.
Like most companies, yours probably has turnover. Do you immediately get rid of a terminated employee’s account and access permissions? If not, it’s likely that you have orphaned accounts – accounts that exist without being associated with an active user in the network.
Sometimes orphaned accounts remain accessible. In fact, sometimes they’re still accessible by multiple people – the employees who worked on an old account or a project that no longer exists, for example. The accounts may miss security updates and regular password changes designed to make accounts less vulnerable because no one is thinking about them anymore.
That makes orphan accounts threats to your company. Someone who’s no longer employed there – or even someone who knows someone who’s no longer employed there – could get in and access sensitive data through that account. Or someone who still works there and who knows that account is orphaned and therefore not being watched could get in and do things that they wouldn’t want to be recorded on their active account.
You can shore up these vulnerabilities by doing regular purges of orphaned accounts. You should also look for test accounts that are no longer needed and any other accounts that are no longer used. Getting rid of these is a simple way to improve your security. Make it a point to purge on a regular basis so that you can avoid any new exposure.
From time to time, it might be necessary to grant third parties access to your system. Vendors, contractors, and freelancers are all examples of types of people who might occasionally need to be included in your network.
But you don’t vet third parties the way that you vet your own employees, and you couldn’t even if you wanted to. You probably do as much as you can and choose third-party companies that promise strong vetting, but how can you really know whether an outsider with access to your system has malicious intent?
That doesn’t mean that you can’t grant third-party access to your system, of course, but it does mean that you should use the strongest controls necessary when you do so. Grant only the permissions that are strictly needed, nothing more. Check in frequently. Make sure that any access is removed immediately on completion of the job – it will be a lot easier to grant new permissions again the next time you use that third party than it will be to clean up the mess if they expose your data or steal confidential information.
Realistically, even when you believe that you’re being very careful and very observant, you might still miss something. Even if you have a team watching your workforce, their eyes can’t be everywhere at once. But the best employee monitoring software functions as an additional set of eyes – one that can look in all directions all of the time and keeps a record of everything it sees.
Some of the things you can do to protect your network with employee monitoring software include:
Companies will have differing employee monitoring needs based on their size, their function, and the type of data they deal with. A highly customizable employee monitoring solution is the best choice to ensure that your company has the tools that it needs to prevent malicious internal threats and to respond to any actions that constitute a threat.
InterGuard offers companies the type of employee monitoring protection they need to prevent data loss. To find out more, schedule a call today.