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Combating Insider Threats: The New Data Loss Prevention Strategies

In 2022, insider attacks significantly increased with 74 per cent of organisations reporting that attacks had grown more regular (a 6 per cent rise over the previous year), with 60 per cent having experienced at least one attack and 25 per cent having experienced more than six attacks

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Insiders have specific access to systems to carry out tasks associated with their job responsibilities. Combining all the information they possess can eventually result in insider threats to enterprises and harm to the organisation. It can also result in the compromise of their access credentials through a variety of hacking techniques. Intellectual property theft, identity theft, fraud and diminished data integrity are all insider risks.

The prevalence and sophistication of insider threats are increasing, making it difficult for enterprises to keep up. In 2022, insider attacks significantly increased, according to Gurucul's 2023 Insider Threat report, with 74 per cent of organisations reporting that attacks had grown more regular (a 6 per cent rise over the previous year), with 60 per cent having experienced at least one attack and 25 per cent having experienced more than six attacks.

The Zero Trust concept emphasises the necessity of not blindly trusting anyone who attempts to enter a system or conduct a transaction, even those who have already been granted access privileges, and is one method that corporations can use to reduce insider threats.

Understand And Address Your Insiders 

Uncontrolled insider threats can result in ransomware, loss of sensitive data, downtime, and reputational damage. Leaders must deal with three primary categories of insider threats since their approaches can vary greatly.

Irresponsible employees

The majority of insider threats are the result of carelessness, making them entirely preventable. By educating people about "good" security behaviour and outlining employer expectations for security, businesses need to foster a strong security culture. Business executives might designate "security champions" as cybersecurity ambassadors in their departments.

Malicious workers

A dedicated employee can do much harm, whether out of greed or feeling mistreated. Businesses need monitoring tools to stop dangerous insider threats as soon as they arise. Employers must be open and honest about what they document and how to ensure integrity in employee behaviour. 

Compromised insiders

Attackers can steal data by using employee credentials as a target and then exfiltrate it covertly. Strong security rules and employee training are the best ways to prevent insider threats. Alternatives to relying on users to handle text-based passwords include biometric passwords and two-factor authentication via mobile devices. 

How to spot insider threats?

Unusually high system or network activity, the appearance of unexpected software, or aberrant user behaviour like logging in repeatedly from different IP addresses within a short period are all common signs of a data breach. 

However, relying on a team to manually identify and react to such indications significantly lengthens the time it takes to find, contain, and look into an incident. Instead, Organisations depend on data loss prevention (DLP) tools to continuously monitor, identify, and stop data leaks and insider threats. 

A data security firewall is a proactive first step towards preventing insider threats

The environment of online security threats has rapidly evolved. Traditional firewalls can never handle infinite network connections. Although they work well to restrict traffic from particular IP numbers, anyone with a basic understanding of IT may fake an IP address. Using a data-first approach, a data security firewall scans and gathers contextual data. 

Data Security Firewall provides visibility into data threats, essential for ensuring Data Security. To better comprehend the threat surface, it adopts a two-stage categorisation. To build business and Data Security Policies for better data handling, it discovers policy violations and provides an overall indication of data security health. It has a Threat Heat Map that tracks infractions and builds a real-time threat pattern that aids in the early detection of abnormalities to act on, leading to more effective Data Threat Surface Monitoring and management.

Strategies Like UEBA To Prevent A Data Leak

Pattern detection and offering insights into potential insider threats are made possible by technologies like UEBA (User and Entity Behaviour analytics) and machine learning. UEBA analyses user and entity behaviour across various data sources to find abnormalities and deviations from expected patterns. By implementing machine learning algorithms, these tools can use previous data to learn, spot small behavioural changes and spot potential insider threats. Data access, network activity and system interactions are all considered in the analysis, allowing for the early detection of suspicious activity and warning indicators. This proactive strategy equips firms to take precautions, reduce risks and strengthen their security against insider threats.

Here are four ways businesses may stop data leaks now that we know what they are, how they can happen, and how to stop them.

Monitor data access and movement along with user activity

Organisations can develop more precise insights into the risks of data leakage by knowing which approved individuals have access to and how they use sensitive information.

Understand where is the critical data stored

Your security team will be more effective if organisations separate sensitive data from other sorts of data. Transfer existing investments into data classification and create new ones utilising standard content detectors across email, cloud, web and endpoint channels.

Employ data encryption whenever feasible

Data encryption prevents data exfiltration through emails and attachments. Use email encryption technologies to automatically encrypt communications and lessen the risk involved with manual encryption procedures.

Implement the best insider risk practices

Users can connect various endpoint devices to the network, including laptops, printers, and cell phones. To advance your cybersecurity programme, use a human-centred strategy to protect the network and these endpoints against data loss.

A Holistic Approach To Combating Insider Threats: Technology, Policies and Training

It is essential to have an extensive insider threat programme, including regulations, processes, and technologies, to identify and stop insider threats. Organisations should also monitor employee activity, set access controls, deploy encryption and DLP technology, do background checks, implement incident response protocols, and conduct regular security awareness training.

By taking these actions, companies can lower the risk of insider threats and safeguard their sensitive information, systems, and reputation. The best defence against insider threats is a proactive, comprehensive strategy encompassing all organisational levels, from the executive team to the front-line staff.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Sonit Jain

The author is CEO at GajShield Infotech

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