Insights

Are there Internal IT Security Threats, as Opposed to Outside Security Attacks?

Contrary to certain theories, the US Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert) has found that around 40% of digital security breaches come from company insiders. In fact, cyber crimes are also committed by employees – they have insider knowledge and access. Further, many small and midsize businesses are more vulnerable to IT security breaches as they may not have the resources to implement sophisticated intrusion detection systems or to hire an expensive, specialized, and full-time IT department. So, yes, there are internal IT security threats. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Social engineering

One of the most common forms of IT security threats is through social engineering – using trust as a weapon. For instance, if an employee messaged another employee asking for sensitive credentials – they do have a chance to obtain the information they need simply because they work for the company. Even if an organization has the best technical systems in place, it will not be effective if employees are not aware of the risks arising from social engineering. It’s crucial for staff to understand that they should not share their passwords over the phone, and they should also receive training on how to identify a phishing message. The good news is cyber security providers can provide this type of training so that even the most personalized and targeted phishing emails are stopped in their tracks before any damage is done.

Malicious cyberattacks

Unfortunately, many companies have fallen victim to malicious cyberattacks at the hands of their IT staff. If the IT employee is motivated and proficient enough, they can certainly open back doors to business systems. There are many reasons. Perhaps the employee planned to instigate a malicious cyberattack all along. On the other hand, they could be disgruntled by new company policies. Maybe they were laid off and wanted revenge. In any case, this type of threat is real. However, if you work with an IT security services provider, you will have the peace of mind knowing your systems are protected by a reputable company who cannot risk damage to their reputation either.

IT security services during a pandemic

With the onset of COVID-19 throughout the world, the workspace has also changed dramatically in response. Formerly on-site offices, devices, and networks have transitioned to a remote working environment with remote employees. The shift in cyber security is currently focused on protecting work-from-anywhere employees and company data access. The best protection against any cyber attack in this scenario is to set up employee monitoring systems. Moreover, companies should be aware of any potentially disgruntled employees. When employees leave the company, their passwords and network access should get cancelled immediately.

Leaking information

There are a wide variety of ways employees can download and leak information. If the price is right, some employees may do just that. Take a simple USB stick for instance. Any employee can download up to 60GB of data on a memory stick. And, in the remote working environment, many employees naturally copy PC data onto mobile devices to take with them anywhere. In addition, employees do reveal their passwords to third parties they feel they can trust.

But, it’s critical to realize that internal IT security threats abound and to have a plan of action such as partnering with cyber security service providers to keep your company data safe from any potential breach. And, companies should institute software policies around which devices are allowed or not allowed to connect to the corporate network and what types of information employees are allowed to download.

To ensure compliance, organizations should educate staff about why these policies are in place. There should be a working relationship with the company, employees, and cyber security providers to reduce internal IT security threats. Some organizations go as far as blocking access to web-based email.

Protect your company from illegal activities

Some employees look great on paper and know how to ace the interviews, but they really have nefarious plans. Unfortunately, companies are responsible for anything employees do on the company systems and while at work. Employees may sell illegal items over the company network, they may also distribute illegal and/or offensive material. Further, they might post offensive topics from the company’s social media accounts. For organizations to relieve responsibility, they have to prove they have taken reasonable steps to prevent the activities listed above.

To protect your company, hire a cyber security services provider to install monitoring software for email and Internet traffic. Then, create an Acceptable Use Policy that designates employees as partially responsible for network security.

Downloading malicious internet content

When the workload is light, but employees are still on the clock, they might spend an hour or more surfing the web for personal use. Yet, they might be on video and file sharing sites and unknowingly download malware. Most malware is introduced, inadvertently, by company employees. Malware can be hidden in a video clip or a game. The best thing to do is to work with your cyber security services provider to ensure your IT systems are all patched and updated. Don’t wait for the next security patch to arrive. Also, work with your IT security services provider to filter, monitor, and block suspicious video and gaming content on company networks.

Prepare a comprehensive response

Time is of the essence, it’s important to prepare and implement thorough cyber security policies now. A cyber security services provider can ensure cyber threats do not get past your defenses and offer on-demand responses. It’s necessary to have a comprehensive response in place. By following these steps, you can be confident you have the right internal IT security system in place.

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