5 Steps to Prevent an Internal Attack

5 Steps to Prevent an Internal Attack

We all know that maintaining a secure network is the first defense against cyber attacks from external threats, but what about an internal breach?

According to the Grand Theft Data report from Intel “internal actors were responsible for more than 40% of the serious data breach incidents…and external actors were responsible for just under 60% of data breaches”.

While we are focused on our external defense, are we overlooking who is already in our house?

Create stronger internal security protocols today with these five preventative measures:

Inform and Empower Your Employees

Approximately 49% of workers are either unaware of or don’t understand the cybersecurity policies of the companies for which they work according to Forrester Research.

Start by educating employees on how their behavior affects the business and can expose the company to vulnerabilities. Remind them that they are the first line of defense when it comes to internal security and stress the importance of following best practices such as complex passwords and logging out of the network when they are finished work.

Make these good habits easy to follow and have your IT department be accessible to work with employees, letting them know that it’s ok to ask questions and that IT is here to help.

Make Inspections and Assessments Routine

Cybersecurity protocols can not afford to fall into a ‘set it and forget it’ mindset. Once you have established internal processes and trained employees on the importance of best practices, revisit the topic each quarter. Test your networks regularly and perform spot checks and audits to identify any weak spots or errors.

Alerting your employees to the different tactics that hackers use regularly will help to ensure that everyone knows what to watch out for.

Employees Aren’t the Only “Insiders”

Third party associates such as off-site employees, contractors, consultants and other vendors with temporary access to your network can also expose your to internal breaches. Mitigate this risk by connecting with these business partners to ensure that the appropriate security measures are being followed.

Include Advanced Automation Technology

Safeguards such as SIEM technology, encryption and firewalls are excellent tools to prevent an external attack but these measures may not be enough to prevent an internal threat. Consider adding advanced automation technology to your security arsenal.

These automated methods can “identify emerging anomalies much faster than using threat signatures, and may be able to prevent substantial breaches before they occur.” (Deloitte). Some vendors are now offering these services, take SentryWise’s Free Risk Assessment to see how secure your network is.

Establish a Crisis Plan

Cyberattacks are no longer a question of ‘what if’ but when. Develop a response plan that outlines critical steps to be taken when your network is breached. Working with the leadership teams, establish a point of contact within each department and share with them what is expected when a crisis occurs. Provide them with a written document that they can refer to so that everyone is on the same page, ensure the breach is handled as quickly as possible.

Protect your network from the inside out. Including employees in your security efforts has never been more important. Be as vigilant about internal protocols as you are your external efforts, defend your business and keep your data safe.