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Security Tips for Small Businesses to Detect Insider Threats

The majority of small businesses today have security measures in place to combat external threats. But threats that surface from within the company, whether unintentional or malicious, can be challenging to identify and more problematic to prevent.

Insider threats come in several forms, but they can be narrowed down to intentional threats, or those that originate from the lack of security awareness or knowledge within your company. For instance:

  • An employee may become a victim of a social engineering attack and end up providing business credentials to a malicious outsider.
  • An employee with malicious intent can steal or wipe out your valuable assets because they may be affiliated secretly with a competing company or disgruntled.
  • There could be a staffer who thinks that it’s fine to place the confidential data on their favorite cloud program and later download it at their convenience.

If not detected and addressed at an early stage, these insider threats could result in significant financial and reputational damage.

Measures Small Businesses Can Take To Combat Insider Threats

Fortunately, you can secure your customer information and business data from insider threats by considering the following options:

1. Digital Forensics

Digital forensic services help identify insider threats in a multitude of ways. For instance, if there are malicious insiders within your company, the forensic team can investigate theft of trade secrets by spotting unauthorized transfer, printing or copying of valuable or sensitive information. Small business owners can click here for more insight on digital forensics. Then the forensic team has the ability to identify activity logs, emails, or files pertaining to the individual under suspicion. The subtle clues can be tied together to gain clear insight. The evidence can be presented in court.

2. Adequate Storage

Don’t keep sensitive customer details like credit card numbers and social security numbers just to have it on your systems. Work with the IT department to purge the records when they’re no longer needed or relevant for your business operations. Employees with malicious intent won’t be able to succeed when they have nothing to steal. If you can’t do without storing sensitive details of every single customer, make sure to have access privileges. For instance, only senior level employees (who have been rigorously vetted) should be allowed to access sensitive data on their own, while others should be required to request access.

3. Employee Training

Several breaches occur because staffers unknowingly or unintentionally transfer sensitive company data to adversaries who are presenting themselves as reputable organizations, or because they download malicious attachments or click links inside emails. Invest in an employee training or security awareness program where your employees are equipped with best practices – such as using secure networks and researching a company that’s asking for business information – whenever they deal with business data.

When developing an employee training program, it’s important to make sure they’re aware of all changes in the industry. These changes may introduce new threats and opportunities for digital security. For example, changes in the search marketplace make it easier for hackers to conduct social engineering and find information to penetrate your systems, so make sure your employees stay on top of them.

4. Monitor Activity

Perhaps one of the most viable strategies to combat insider threats is to deploy an ongoing monitoring system that keeps an eye on all activities. This will require you to create profiles of what a certain activity appears like for certain staffers. For example, marketing people have different functions than people in the finance department. So monitoring could be used for red flags. Why is the marketing guy trying to access files that is relevant to the finance team? Unusual activity can be detected and investigated.

With these tips, small businesses can significantly minimize their risk exposure to insider threats.