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What is Insider Threat?

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[fa icon="calendar"] Aug 22, 2018 10:43:12 AM / by Elizabeth Vincent

In the cybersecurity industry, we often talk about the ‘Insider Threat’ that organizations face in security their most critical data and assets. From manufacturing to healthcare, every business encounters the challenge of both preventing and detecting these risks. But what exactly is Insider Threat? What does it mean for business?

what-is-insider-threat-pam

Defining Insider Threat

Your insiders are all the employees and internal people who have access to your company assets. Anyone who has privileged access (e.g. login credentials) to sensitive servers, data, and systems can be considered an Insider Threat, as each person’s access is a point of vulnerability. These insiders can be CEOs, HR managers, system administrators – insider threat can exist at every level of the organization.

Insider Threat can also come in the form of external providers, contractors, and 3rd-party vendors who have access to your infrastructure. Anyone with privileged access to critical systems represents an insider threat to your business.

Why are Insiders a Threat?

So your employees and consultants have administrative access to your infrastructure… so what? They are valued team members and need that access to do their jobs. How do their basic job functions become a threat to your IT security?

The risk comes in the form of privileged access itself. Each set of access credentials represents a new point of vulnerability, where a user’s login and password could be lost, stolen, or passwords shared with someone less trustworthy.

Insider threat is the leading cause of cyber attack. Not all breaches are intentional, however. The vast majority of cybersecurity incidents are, in fact, accidental. That’s what makes insider threat just so risky. Trustworthy, valued employees can make a mistake or have their credentials stolen through no fault of their own. Employee error and negligence are the leading causes of data breaches, not malicious intent.

Protecting Against Insider Threat

Data breaches come in all shapes and sizes, and threats can be intentional or accidental. Regardless of cause or approach, you need to protect your organization’s critical assets.

A Privileged Access Management solution provides comprehensive control over insiders’ access to all company infrastructure, including cloud-based systems and on-premise servers. Having a strong PAM solution in place provides peace of mind that all privileged insiders pass through secure channels to access the necessary systems.

  • Password Management – for full-time employees and external contractors alike, no one ever needs to know the root passwords to critical systems. All access is routed through the Bastion, and passwords rotate to ensure complete security (and no loose password post-its!)
  • Real-Time Event Analysis – Ongoing session monitoring automatically identifies, alerts, and terminates suspicious activity in sensitive resources. Privileged user sessions are monitored and can be audited for review and compliance.
  • Consolidated Access Control – Streamline all administrative access – granting and revoking privileges – through a single console. Limit a user’s access to only those resources necessary to do his or her job, no more and no less.

Insider Threat is an insidious and sensitive subject, as even the most valued internal staff members can represent a risk to your organization if adequate IT security protocols are not in place to control who has access to what, when, and how. Privileged Access Management (PAM) mitigates risk and streamlines productivity, ensuring robust cybersecurity for your entire IT infrastructure whether in the cloud or on the ground.

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Topics: Preventing Insider Threat

Elizabeth Vincent

Written by Elizabeth Vincent