Businesses spend enormous amounts of time and capital protecting themselves from external threats and locking down their data and networks. It’s an ongoing process that will not see an end in our lifetime. However, nowhere near enough businesses spend time analysing internal threats. They can be more damaging than anything out there on the internet!
Managing internal security threats facing your business is just as important as managing external ones. If not more so, as data can be more easily accessed and most security appliances tend to look outward and not inwards. If you want to fully secure your business, you need to be aware of internal risks too.
Unhappy staff is a prime example of an internal threat. They know your systems, they know where data is stored and could potentially know their way around any security systems or processes you have in place.
You can limit this by controlling admin access, using file access controls, disabling USB and external drives, managing end point security, immediately revoking access to ex-employees and monitoring data access.
Disgruntled employees aren’t the only human element that presents a security threat. Poor training, carelessness, rushing, pressure, stress, poor leadership and other factors can cause people to make mistakes. These can lead to data loss, weak passwords, visiting unauthorized websites and opening your network to external threats through ignorance.
Damage from employees isn’t always intentional but it will always be damaging to some extent. Mitigating these causes as much as possible can help.
Another human element that isn’t done on purpose or by accident is social engineering. This method of entry is being increasingly employed as staff remain the weak point in any corporate security. With end point and network security becoming more effective, the human still remains the weak link.
Training can go a long way to mitigating social engineering. Teaching staff how to recognise social engineering tactics and what to do about them can go a long way to avoiding this increasing threat.
Lack of updates
Computer and phone operating systems are updated regularly. Antivirus definitions are updated daily, firewall definitions are also updated regularly as are the myriad of applications and programs you use on a daily basis. Often these updates will include fixes for vulnerabilities and security improvements.
Systems that have not been updated expose your business to external threats but also internal ones. Unpatched systems can become unstable and cause data loss and old versions of security software can allow phishing attacks or malware to reach staff. Having a robust software and hardware update process in place can alleviate many of these internal threats.
BYOD, Bring Your Own Device has huge potential for businesses to save money, allow flexible working and enable employees the freedom to use the systems they are most comfortable with. It also offers an easy route to data loss or theft, the potential for insecure devices to access your network, the use of infected devices inside your antivirus and unsupported software levels that can cause instability.
To counter these, a clear policy on BYOD and what is expected can go a long way to avoiding these risks. You can also implement mobile security solutions, network segmentation, system segmentation, encryption, data access management and hybrid cloud solutions to get the most out of BYOD while mitigating the risks.