Internal IT Threats: How to Protect Your Business With Proactive Support

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Your security is under threat. Every year, the risk of security breaches, data exposure, and hacking grows. Cybercrime is a lucrative business, with the average cybersecurity breach in 2022 costing U.S. businesses $9.44 million. In addition to financial losses, breaches can result in the theft of classified and personal information, compliance violations, lawsuits, and bad PR.

Technical vulnerabilities can open the backdoor for cybercriminals to access critical systems and information. However, even with robust cybersecurity measures, you may be overlooking one crucial element: internal IT threats.

Internal Security Risks

Endpoint Detection and Response systems, VPNs, independent network servers, encryption, Multi-Factor Authentication—you may have all the bells and whistles to protect your business from outside attacks, but what happens when an employee compromises your systems?

Many companies focus on outsider attacks but forget about insider threats. Unfortunately, a considerable portion of cybersecurity breaches can be traced to internal IT threats. According to IBM’s most recent Cost of a Data Breach in 2022 report, human error and negligence result in 21% of organizational data breaches. In addition, the average cost of malicious insider attacks was $4.18 million.

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency acknowledges four main types of insider threats, unintentional (negligence and accidental), intentional, collusive, and third-party.

  • Unintentional Threats: Unintentional threats can occur through negligence or by accident. For example, employees may fall for a phishing attack, ignore a notice to update their devices to the most current security software, or accidentally send sensitive information to the wrong person.
  • Intentional Threats: An intentional threat occurs when an employee purposely compromises their company’s systems or documents for financial gain or to act on a personal grievance. They may leak sensitive information, steal proprietary data, or sabotage devices.
  • Collusive Threats: Insider collusion occurs when a member of your organization collaborates with external threats to compromise company systems or information.
  • Third-Party Threats: Third-party threats may include contractors, vendors, and other third-party organizations with access to systems and sensitive information. Providing more access than required for third parties to do their jobs opens the door to theft.

Every day your employees interact with and have access to critical information. Education and training, while helpful, are often not enough to protect your organization. In many cases, it only takes one click for your database to be compromised. Unfortunately, without continuous monitoring, you may not realize your systems have been hacked until it is too late.

According to IBM, in 2022, it took an average of 277 days to identify and contain a breach. Conversely, companies that were able to resecure their systems within 200 days or less saved an average of $1.12 million.

To protect yourself, your employees, and your sensitive information, you must be aware of insider threats, institute safeguards, and continuously monitor systems to look for signs of a breach. Unfortunately, most internal IT teams do not have the time or skillset to do this in-house. Instead, the best way to protect your systems is to work with a trusted security managed services partner.

Proactive Managed Services Support

When it comes to cybersecurity, prevention is the best medicine. The best security measures protect all aspects of a business, including its network, servers, and endpoints. Unfortunately, as technology changes and becomes more advanced, it is easier than ever for employees to fall for a scam or leak sensitive documents accidentally. According to IBM, phishing alone accounts for 16% of security breaches.

Educating employees on security best practices is only one piece of the puzzle. You must also continuously monitor systems to ensure:

  • Devices are always up to date with the most recent updates and security software patches
  • Sensitive information is disposed of correctly
  • Employees are following password and MFA policies
  • Viruses are identified and contained quickly
  • Third parties have limited access to company information
  • Documents are secure when moving between individuals or departments

Many organizations find the most effective and efficient way to achieve this is by partnering with an experienced Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) to assess your organization’s IT security, monitor systems, and execute the heavy lifting. These security professionals provide high-level vulnerability detection and prevention services, risk mitigation, fraud management, IT auditing, continuous monitoring, and consulting.

Partnering with a trusted MSSP ensures optimal health and performance of hardware, servers, systems, platforms, and applications. Partnerships also make it easier to standardize security measures and maintenance across the company, further reducing the risk of an insider attack.

A security partner will begin by conducting a risk analysis to determine the maturity of your cybersecurity efforts. After this, they will develop an in-depth roadmap to guide you through all of the steps required to solidify your efforts and prevent insider threats. An MSSP will also offer ongoing monitoring and support to ensure your systems are secure 24/7.

To learn more about internal IT threats and working with an MSSP, contact one of our skilled experts to schedule a consultation.

This publication contains general information only and Sikich is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or any other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should you use it as a basis for any decision, action or omission that may affect you or your business. Before making any decision, taking any action or omitting an action that may affect you or your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. In addition, this publication may contain certain content generated by an artificial intelligence (AI) language model. You acknowledge that Sikich shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by you or any person who relies on this publication.


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