Human error is inevitable—we all make mistakes. However, human error in the cyber world is asking for trouble. When we discuss data breaches, the focus is often centered on an outside group of cybercriminals invading a company’s privacy and networks. But what if we told you that not all data breaches are caused by outsider activity and instead were inside jobs? Here’s an overview of what insider data breaches are and why they can be just as dangerous.
What is an Insider Data Breach?
All companies have a necessary promise to keep with the community it serves and to their employees: protect data and private information. With that in mind, let’s break down what can happen when things go wrong internally.
An insider data breach usually occurs when data is shared with personal systems and leaked to competitors and cybercriminals. According to an article published on Tripwire, which provides insight from the Egress 2020 Insider Data Breach survey, “insider threats can be accidental or intentional, but the impact of insider breaches remains the same. Negligence at the organization regarding data privacy requirements and compliance can cause catastrophic data loss.”
This type of data breach includes many elements, but human error is the main characteristic. Human error is natural and often accidental but can be detrimental to an organization if it is not appropriately handled. According to Security Brief, “misdirected and phishing emails are the top cause of accidental insider data breaches.” If an employee is not careful with how they open, share, use or report information, intruders will use it as an opportunity to attack.
Stay Protected and Aware
In efforts to protect your organization and its data, all departments within your company should be aware of and trained on privacy protocols because even the slightest error can cause irreparable damage. Lack of awareness and real-time detection alerts can be a dangerous catalyst to a successful breach.
Here are three essential tips you can use to ensure that you are investing in proper risk management practices:
- Create Risk Management Policies: Create proper and strict policies, trainings, and protocol(s) for your employees and members to follow when sharing important information.
- Security Analytics Platforms: Invest in a next-generation security and compliance automation platform to help monitor your networks 24/7 and provide detection alerts on account activity in real-time.
- Proper Onboarding and Offboarding Practices: Ensure that any new or prior access to information is handled appropriately when an employee begins or ends their employment. For example, if an employee is being offboarded, have steps to revoke any former account (or network) privileges. Also, passwords need to be changed, keycards deactivated, etc.
At the end of the day, the goal is simple: prevent data breaches. It is every employee’s job to do their part in protecting both private and personal information. Insider data breaches are only as powerful as the source of its initial breach, so use this time to proactively prepare the consequences that could follow a simple human error.