Insider threats to businesses: How company owners can stay on top

We tend to think of major IT security threats coming from people or groups from outside the company.

But, in reality, insider threats to businesses are real and as an owner it is up to you to protect your company as best you can.

To help you stay as safe as possible we’ve put together everything you need to know about insider threats.

What types of inside attacks do owners need to watch out for?

The Government’s Centre For The Protection of National Infrastructure has divided insider incidents into five main groupings – unauthorised disclosure of sensitive information, process corruption, facilitation of third party access to an organisation’s assets, physical sabotage and electronic or IT sabotage.

Of these five groups a 2013 study found that unauthorised disclosure of sensitive information was the most frequent form of incident (47%) with process corruption a close second (42%).

Why would a worker want to attack their own company?

Unsurprisingly, the main motivation for an attack is financial.

However, there a number of other reasons why someone might be driven to commit the act and, in many cases, there is more than one motivating factor.

For example, attacks have been prompted by a desire for revenge – although these make up a relatively low amount.

Other factors include desire for recognition and loyalty to someone outside of the company.

It is also worth noting the type of crime committed and the reason behind it are often linked.

For example those who were looking for financial gain were much more likely to corrupt processes and facilitate access to assets.

What are the common security flaws which are found in companies?

A good way to protect your own organisation is to take a look at mistakes made by others.

Common weaknesses include a lack of engagement between management and staff.

Owners or managers can pick up on irregular activity from insider threats to businesses but if management does not pay close attention to its staff then they can go unnoticed.

Bad managers can also increase the risk as workers who are ignored can feel disengaged and are more likely to commit an attack.

Other flaws include poor security checks before staff are employed and low levels of IT security within the company with workers not sticking to policy.

How can company owners stay on top of insider threats to businesses?

As the owner of the company it’s up to you to take action against insider threats.

Before you hire anyone you should comprehensively check their backgrounds. If anyone seems like a potential risk to your IT security and therefore business be very cautious about giving them a job.

You should also introduce a tough and continuing IT security policy and make sure that your current employees stick to it.

You should make sure that private information is only known and accessible to workers on a need-to-know basis.

Finally, you need to have a good relationship with the staff as, not only will it reduce the risk of an attack, but it will also help you identify any irregular activity.