Identity Governance Blog

11 Steps to Prevent Insider Threats Using Identity Governance (IGA)

April 1, 2019

Insider threats whether accidental or targeted, are recognized as one of the root causes of data breaches.

Insider threats cover a wide array of cyberattacks initiated by somebody inside the traditional security perimeter enforced by firewalls and intrusion prevention systems. Many organizations are still neglecting the insider threat, despite this threat source being recognized as one of the root causes of data beaches. Read our tips for preventing insider threats and keeping your organization secure.

While external attacks are nearly always intentional, insider attacks can be both intentionally targeted at an individual, malicious intent, or a breach caused by accident. Human error, negligence, compromised credentials, loss of devices, or broken IT processes leading to \’workarounds\’ put the organization at risk and has the potential to cause harm to both reputational image and bottom line.

Insider Threats are Still Neglected

Organizations tend to be better at providing protection against external cybersecurity threats rather than focusing on internal threats according to reports, and many organizations are therefore still neglecting the insider threat, despite this threat source being recognized as one of the root causes of data beaches

The insider threat can be prevented, but to do so, organizations need to apply robust processes to better control what employees have access to, why they need that level of access, and who assigned it to them. You need to know your joiners and leavers, and those transferring within the organization and apply policies to ensure access compliance. The combination of such processes and access policies, means you always have a transparent overview of access to the systems and applications your organization uses which will help keep potential security gaps closed. This will enable you to act quickly, if a data breach does happen, which is also crucial in relation to regulatory compliance such as GDPR.

How the Insider Threat Differs from the External Threat

Unlike external hackers, insiders do not need to infiltrate the perimeter defenses such as firewalls and intrusion prevention systems.

The insider threat could be anyone who has (or has had) access to the systems, such as full-time employees, contractors, partners, or those who have left the organization but still have active accounts.

The damage could be caused by accidental access if someone happened to come across some information that they probably should not have access to, negligence where an insider failed to adhere to policies that were in place to prevent them from accessing sensitive data, or malicious intent when somebody actively set out to steal data or bring down systems.

Balancing Robust Security and User Efficiency

Protecting critical assets against insider threats is a balancing act between locking down systems so employees and other insiders cannot get access to information outside of their remit and allowing users sufficient access so that they can do their jobs unhindered. Implementing a robust identity and access management solution combined with rigorous enforcement of policies and procedures will ensure that business operations are able to continue without exposing the company to unnecessary risk.


Learn more

Identity governance and administration can help your organization keep insider threats at bay. Find out much more about how you can bring your identity management and access governance to match you evolving needs or get in touch with us to learn more about how we have helped organizations like yours.

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