Insider threats and their costly impacts

insider threats

Insider threats and their costly impacts

insider threatsCompany data is the lifeblood that gives companies an advantage over their competitors. The data can consist of prototypes of products, recipes, client databases, customer data, campaign strategies, etc. Companies invest a lot in making sure that they can find, serve, and care for their data.

However, did you know that 40% of insider incidents involve an employee with privileged access to company assets? This statistic should be enough to turn up any company’s alerts on “insider threat” risks.

Insider threats

The term “insider threat” is used to describe someone having authorized access to a company’s assets, who then utilizes that access either maliciously or unintentionally causes harm to the company. These insider threats are not necessarily current employees. People who have had access to a company’s systems or sensitive information, such as former workers, contractors, or partners, can be classified as insider threats.

According to Ponemo, insider threats have increased in both frequency and cost over the past two years, with malicious insiders causing 26% of the incidents.

Impacts of malicious insiders.

Employees or authorized personnel that abuse their data access for harmful, unethical, or illegal purposes, including stealing confidential information, are classified as malicious insiders. These types of perpetrators are more difficult to detect than external attackers or hackers since they are being provided full access to the information.

Data theft is the act of stealing information stored on company databases, devices, and servers. Data theft by malicious insiders can result in costly impacts on your company, such as:

  1. Ruined business reputation
  2. Loss of customer trust
  3. Financial losses
  4. Compromise of customer data
  5. Disclosure of trade secrets

Types of stolen data can vary, from user credentials, employee credentials, and strategic papers, to intellectual property-related documents—anything that is classed as valuable.

Addressing insider threats

Cited from a number of resources, the following are a few strategies that companies can carry out to address insider threats:

  • Perform a risk assessment
  • Integrate security strategies and policies
  • Implement prevention training for employees
  • Conduct background screening on potential employees
  • Establish incident management capabilities
  • Retain a whistleblowing system.

In addition to the points above, companies can submit a non-disclosure agreement to new employees before onboarding. At the end of the working period, companies can also apply the asset clearance method before the employee stops working.


Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

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