5 Ways To Stop Insider Threats And Prevent Data Breaches

by Sunny Hoi


Insider threats comprised 37% of cybersecurity intrusions in 2017. Solely 40% of intrusions derived from outsiders. It’s evident that insiders are swiftly emerging as a substantial burden for enterprises. More significantly, such insider threats are the most arduous to hinder.  Regarding IT security, insiders may be anyone ranging from employees to third-party contractors. Whenever such legitimate users leak data, data breaches cost enterprises millions in penalties and remediation fees. Such damages to an enterprise’s reputation may be virtually irreversible.

One prevalent cause for massive data breaches is permission aggregation.

What is Permission Aggregation?

Few trusted employees will stay with the enterprise for years, nevertheless, during this time they will switch positions, usually to other divisions and subsequently to the administration. As these trusted and valued employees shift to distinct situations, it’s typical to increase their account permissions for freshly required access to data accompanying their job function.

Old permissions left untouched are frequently superfluous for the new job role which is recognized as permission aggregation.

How To Stop Insider Threats

Permissions ought to continually be granted on a ‘need to know’ justification. Whenever permission aggregation ensues, an employee that has been with the company for years may possess access to nearly all corporate data. That renders it effortless for them to acquire access to intellectual property, trade secrets, and client records. As a user holds this much access, it renders the increased privileges a potential IT security catastrophe.

5 Effective Ways To Stop Insider Threats And Prevent Data Breaches In Your Organization

When allocating permissions, deploy the following insider threat reduction guidelines:

1. Only permit access when a user needs it carry out their job role.
2. Rescind permissions when users shift to distinct positions within the enterprise.
3. Add permissions only when necessary on a need-to-know basis.
4. Deactivate user accounts when they are no longer an employee of the company.
5. Instruct the user manager to sign off on access. Therefore, they take accountability.

Types Of Insider Threats, Permission Aggregation, And Data Breaches

Insider threats are comprised of two types: malevolent intent and negligence. Either one of these classifications may serve as an issue when a user possesses aggregated permissions. The majority of negligent insider attacks are derived from phishing emails or malware unintentionally installed on the target’s computer. The magnitude of the damage is contingent upon the type of malware. Ransomware was rampant in 2017. Hence, the expense was in data loss not breached data. Organizations were halted when employees installed malware on their systems and supplied access to crucial data, which ransomware managed to encrypt successfully.

Aggregate permissions are particularly hazardous with malevolent intent. Employees that hold legitimate access to data may openly steal, move, and disclose data without inducing security notifications. Not merely do they hold legitimate access to data, but malicious insiders usually possess long-term access providing them time to accumulate immense amounts of information from the corporate network.

When a user possesses aggregated permissions, and they turn into malicious insider threats, they hold unrestrained access to many data sets. It’s not unusual for businesses to have not implemented monitoring on their networks. Thus, IT admins never perceive peculiar traffic and access. Since there is no monitoring, insider threats from malicious attacks occasionally last for months or perhaps a year.

Reducing The Possibilities Of A Insider Threat

The solution to permission aggregation security issues is to rescind access privileges when a user shifts to a new job position where previously granted permissions are not required anymore. The employee, the new and preceding managers, and IT security personnel may evaluate annulment of access privileges. The majority of users will imply that all privileges remain just to make it convenient. Nevertheless, it’s indispensable for the IT security personnel to assist users in comprehending the significance of allocating privileges on a need-to-know basis.

The ‘need-to-know’ principle states that permissions are allocated to users when they need to possess access to documents and data to carry out job roles. Any access to data that isn’t part of job roles ought to be rescinded.

Networks that retain customer data ought to have monitoring appliances installed. Such tools do not only apply a benchmark on every document and data set but also notify the IT security staff if questionable traffic access any of these vital network assets. These monitoring apparatuses may recognize malware that accesses data or a malicious adversary that acquires access under user credentials.


User permissions are pivotal when handling insider threats. Businesses can halt data leaks by arranging their permissions and access with the assistance of the IT security department. Permitting permissions to aggregate corresponds to a potential risk to a business’s precious data.

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