The threat of international hackers is clear and very present in the security strategies of many companies. But did you know that one of the best ways to attack the security of a system is from the inside? Internal security threats are surprisingly more common than you might think. In fact, disgruntled employees are a potential top threat to the security of their company because they have access to vast amounts of information and the potential intention to do some serious damage.

ESGI will discuss real and actionable strategies to help you identify internal threats and protect against it.

Taking a Look at the Numbers

While not as “glamorous” as corporate espionage or international cyber-crime, internal security risks are very real and can have very damaging and lasting impacts. While the problem may seem small, the effects of such data leaks can be wide reaching and long lasting. A 2013 study by the experts at Symantec and the Ponemon Institute found that data security breaches (whether they were intentional or unintentional) result in an average loss of more than $5 million each. That’s a tremendous amount to risk on a manageable security threat. Worse yet is the negative impact such events can have on a company’s reputation. Clearly the threat needs to be taken seriously.

What You Can Do to Prevent Internal Security Threats

Luckily there are a number of things you can do as an employer to make sure your assets are as protected as possible. If your security policy does not incorporate and support the need for internal protection as well as external, you are leaving yourself unnecessarily vulnerable. Strategies such as knowing and monitoring early warning signs, targeting your defenses to protect your most valuable data and creating a multi-layered security strategy will serve you well. These tactics might seem obvious, but the key is implementation.

Identify and Address Early Warning Signs

The most common early warning signs of an internal data breach include unusual behavior or obvious discontent among your employees. As a manager, you should be keeping tabs on the morale and overall wellbeing of your staff for the sake of employee retention and maintaining a positive corporate culture. But these indicators can also be warning signs of an impending data leak or other internal security breach. Once these issues become apparent, you should act quickly to mitigate and improve workplace attitude to reduce the risk of an internal security breach.

Target your Defense Efforts

Knowing your most valuable and sensitive data and adjusting the level of security that is used to protect that information is critical. As the importance of certain information rises, your security response should also increase. Keep in mind that not all threats come from outside your company. Internal threats should be addressed in the same manner, and only certain individuals should have access to high value or confidential information. This will help to reduce your overall risk.

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