When you think of cybersecurity threats, you’re probably picturing a guy in a black hoodie hunched over a computer, typing away while code scrolls over his screen. A more accurate picture, however, could be of the typical employee. After all, the negligent insider is the root cause of most incidents, with 56% of attacks caused by employee or contractor negligence. This is not to say that users are threats, though—but they do account for insider risk. The best way to get ahead of it? Proactive insider risk management.
Proactive insider risk management refers to your organization’s ability to protect against unintentional insider risks by identifying the users most likely to trigger account breaches, data loss threats, or even ransomware attacks. With the right technology, your enterprise can bolster their insider risk management to protect your organization from the inside out. The key here is prevention: it’s better to stop a cybersecurity threat before it happens, rather than picking up the pieces after the fact. Read on to see how your organization can implement and benefit from insider risk management technology.
Why is Proactive Insider Risk Management Important?
Proactive insider risk management takes user risk into account before it can lead to damages. Consider this example from July 2020, when hackers compromised 130 Twitter accounts via phishing emails to employees. Each account had at least one million followers. 45 of those accounts—including those of Former President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Uber—were used to perpetuate a Bitcoin scam. The hackers compromised several employees’ accounts with access to internal systems and used that access to tweet their scam across notable accounts. This resulted in the transferring of $180,000 in Bitcoin to threat actor accounts. With proactive insider risk management technology, security leaders could lower the risk of a workforce user falling for a phishing scam or other user targeted attack.
According to a 2022 study by the Ponemon Institute, 57% of organizations are leveraging user and entity behavior analytic tools to monitor risky user actions like downloading malware and clicking on dangerous links. Additionally, 60% of organizations are using privileged access management tools to better understand which users have access to confidential or proprietary information.
The right proactive insider risk management tool will do all the above and more offering:
- Heightened visibility into employee behaviors
- Adjustable access levels and permissions
- A deep understanding of a user’s attackability level
Now, your organization can stay secure without bogging employees down with unnecessary roadblocks. With a user risk profile, your security team can learn where the risk in your enterprise lies, either on a departmental, company-wide, or individual level. With this information, security teams can make adjustments to only risky accounts, ensuring that employees with low levels of risk remain productive and unencumbered by extra security features.
Unveiling the Top Three Use Cases of Proactive Insider Risk Management
There are three main use cases for proactive insider risk management: account takeover, ransomware, and data loss. Each of these cases comes with its own unique challenges and obstacles, and the right technology can help you make it through all three with ease. Elevate Security tackles these incidents with five main functions: visibility, control orchestration, employee feedback/executive communication, decision support, and continuous improvement. Read on to see how proper insider risk management tools, like Elevate Security, can help guard your organization against cyberattacks and insider risk.
Account Takeover Risk
Account takeover typically follows the same three steps: recon, delivery, and exploit. Recon refers to when an account is targeted, delivery to when the hacker picks an attack, and exploit to when the victim falls for it. Any effective cybersecurity defenses need to account for each of these steps. Once the account is compromised, threat actors have access to anything the owner of the account does, including credentials and confidential information.
Insider risk leads to account compromise when risky users engage in behaviors that might leave their account vulnerable to threat actors, like sending an email containing company data to a personal, unsecure account. The right technology takes these behaviors into account and enables security teams to:
- Build individual risk profiles to identify users most likely to have their account compromised
- Tighten and loosen security controls as needed per user or department
- Provide near real-time feedback for users and managers to alert them about risky actions
Remote work has worsened Ransomware attacks as payouts have grown. Ransomware attackers succeed by providing victims with an enticing reason to click a link or download. Once the malicious software is executed, the threat actor gains control over the victim’s computer and often encrypts data.
It’s easy to see why high-risk users might fall for such an attack. They could be trusting enough to open the link without verification, or just aren’t paying attention to what they’re clicking on. That is where insider risk management technology comes into play, providing:
- Enhanced visibility into the frequency a user gets targeted attacks
- A deeper understanding of a user’s actions that could trigger a ransomware attack
- The ability to reduce access levels and permissions for the riskiest users
Data Loss Risk
65% of Ponemon’s survey respondents say email is where employees store their organizations’ most sensitive data. With Intellectual property and customer personally identifiable information (PII) as the two most targeted records, email is probably not the safest place for them. Once threat actors have established a foothold within the system, they can then use the victim’s identity and access levels to find the data they want and exfiltrate it.
Given the devastating nature of data loss attacks, it is of paramount importance to control permissions and access levels of risky employees. With the right insider risk management technology, your organization can adjust permissions on a dime, ensuring the safety of confidential business and customer information. What else can the right technology do to mitigate data loss risk? Check it out:
- Control orchestration is the automated creation of user risk profiles that allow security controls to tighten or loosen at will on any user or group of users.
- With automated notifications, the security platform can inform the riskiest users (and their managers) on how to protect confidential or sensitive data.
- Security analysts, response teams, and more can make educated security decisions based on near real-time user risk insights.
With the prevalence and frequency of cyberattacks on the rise, there is no better time than now to mitigate insider risk throughout your organization. Insider risk management technology, like Elevate Security, will help your enterprise improve your security posture and keep track of the riskiest users within your organization. Individual user risk profiles provide heightened visibility while automated notifications, access level adjustments, playbooks and more allow for your enterprise to be prepared for anything. With this level of control and visibility, cyberattacks won’t stand a chance!
Still not sure if your insider risk management stacks up to industry best practices? Fill out our checklist detailing the 10 signs your organization has an increased risk of unintentional insider risk and find out!