The Biggest Security Threat to your business might be on your payroll

Your biggest security threat may well be on your payroll right now.

Without proper training, your own well-intentioned employees can unknowingly open you up to attack. Rarer (but much worse), someone on your payroll could be intentionally working against you as a malicious insider.

Here are five strategies to mitigate internal threats and increase your overall cybersecurity health.

1. Commit to Ongoing Cybersecurity Education

Investing in ongoing cybersecurity education for your team is the most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of accidental exposure. In today’s connected environment, there are more bad actors out there than ever before.

Scammers are getting more sophisticated, too. One 10-minute training session once a year isn’t going to cut it.

Cybersecurity training must be thorough, and it must be carried out frequently. Most importantly, though: everyone — and we mean everyone — in your organization must participate.

Senior and C-level staff sometimes resist this training, but they’re the group that needs it the most. The more senior the employee, the more access that employee has, and the more valuable their credentials will be to bad actors.

Your team needs to know the red flags that signal possible phishing or spear-phishing campaigns. And these red flags are always changing, so you need regular, thorough training to keep up with the latest developments.

2. Implement Customized Multi-layer Security (with Multifactor Authentication)

It’s one thing if someone breaks through your secure front door. It’s another if you leave the front door unlocked and unattended.

The same goes for your digital infrastructure. Bad actors look for systems that can be easily compromised. The more layers of security you implement, the less attractive you look to would-be digital thieves.

Every business is different, with its own mix of systems and differing levels of sensitive data. The best way to craft an ideal multi-layer security plan for your organization is to work with a firm like Blue Ridge Technology.

One practical tip: the simplest upgrade you can make to your systems is to implement two-factor or multifactor authentication. It’s exponentially harder for bad actors to crack a 2FA system than one that requires only a simple username and password combination.

Curious to see how 2FA can secure your business? We can help.

3. Implement Access Control

Many small businesses treat their networks like a free-for-all. Anyone in the company can access any files, no matter where they’re stored or how sensitive they are. One recent study showed that over 50% of surveyed employers kept sensitive files in openly accessible locations.

That’s a recipe for a security disaster! The more people that have access to a file, the more likely that file is to be breached, leaked or stolen outright.

Access control is the process of limiting access to those who need that access. While access control can be complex to set up, the system is easy to maintain once it’s in place.

4. Establish a Business Exit Protocol

What happens to an employee’s digital access when that employee leaves the company? If you don’t have a plan in place, you’re putting your business at risk of a breach.

No matter how tight your team is, eventually, you’ll deal with an employee who’s leaving angry — or you’ll need to dismiss or terminate an employee with cause. It’s not very pleasant to think about, but disgruntled employees (or ex-employees) can become a security threat if you don’t have a business exit protocol in place.

You need to establish policies and procedures for removing any and all network access privileges when an employee leaves the company. As a part of this policy, make sure you retake possession of any company-owned devices used by the employee.

Even if the employee doesn’t have malicious intent, there’s still a danger to having a bunch of old accounts active. Every set of active credentials poses a risk of theft. A bad actor could obtain credentials from an employee that’s long gone and still do plenty of damage if the account is left active.

5. Communicate Proactively About These Initiatives

We cannot overstate the importance of clear communication. This ties back to the education point earlier: if people don’t understand why you’ve implemented two-factor authentication or access control, they may try to sidestep or circumvent these measures.

When you communicate clearly the reasons for these mild inconveniences, more employees will buy in and follow the correct procedures. But when people don’t understand what’s at stake, they’re more likely to cut corners.

Blue Ridge Technology Is Your Partner for Insider Threat Strategy

Following these five steps will significantly improve your readiness for insider threats, both accidental and malicious. Some of these are steps you can take right now, while others are more complex. If you need help forming or implementing a security strategy, our team at Blue Ridge Technology is ready to help. Reach out today to see how we can help you secure your digital infrastructure from threats on all fronts.

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