The COVID-19 pandemic forced organization to work remotely. By allowing employees to work remotely, they put themselves at greater risk of being exposed to insider threats. Staff could be distracted by personal online activities and mix them with work-related ones due to today’s global state of affairs. Because of this, tailored phishing campaigns and other cybercrime attacks are more effective. While working away from the office, employees are more likely to neglect cybersecurity protocols, exposing remote devices to cyber attacks. Working remotely increases the risk of being a target for cyber criminals because of the additional technical vulnerabilities it introduces, such as insecure network connections. However, security professionals must encounter threats or attacks from the insiders. Dissatisfied or angry staff members are exploiting the fact that many companies do not provide secure access to off-site networks. They are also taking advantage of their co-workers who may unknowingly cause damage.

New methods of prioritizing and reducing cyber risk are needed because of the insider threat phenomenon. A process improvement plan is needed for security teams to resolve deliberate or accidental misuse of resources. They should be equipped with better and specific solutions like insider threats to deal with threats and gain insight into attacks.

Malicious insider activity poses the following risks to firms:

Data loss or corruption — Insider activities can include making changes to or deleting confidential information. Trying to recover deleted or corrupted files can be time consuming and frustrating.

Financial loss — This includes costs for cleaning up after an attack like system upgrade and making restitution to those who were harmed like clients and vendors. The more damage an attack causes, the more money a company has to spend to fix the damage it causes.

Brand Image loss — Customers’ confidence in a firm will be disturbed if it fails to protect their data, and that trust is difficult to restore.

Employee Monitoring

As part of an insider threat risk mitigation program, companies should limit and control user access. Organisations should restrict and minimize access by only authorizing employees the level of privilege required for them to do their tasks. Likewise, businesses should reassess staff members’ access rights on a regular basis and remove access that are not required for staff to fulfil their work roles. 

Employee Access Restrictions and Control

It is important for companies to incorporate controls for restricting staff access and managing insider threat risks into their overall risk mitigation strategies. Businesses should restrict and minimize access by only authorizing staff members the access required for them to do their functions and carry out responsibilities. The implementation of the Zero-Trust model can benefit the organisation. Likewise, organisations should reassess staff members’ access rights on a frequent basis and remove any access that are not required for staff members to fulfil their work tasks.

Teleworking Policy

Businesses should begin by creating a proper teleworking policy that outlines network and data security issues. Developing a strong teleworking policy is an effective way to prevent insider threats, especially those that arise from negligence. It is essential for teleworking policies to include several key elements. Teleworking policy must tackle the problem of remote access. Employees working from home should be able to connect to business networks using company-owned systems as long as they follow remote access rules that define permitted BYOD practices like the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) passwords.

Employee education and training

Staff members must be extensively trained and educated about using, organisational resources securely as part of their work. Staff members must also be equipped with knowledge of the latest cyberattack techniques, like phishing and social engineering. They should be taught the best practices to avoid cyberattacks.

To detect insider threats effectively, companies must have centralised security visibility and management to monitor their remote and distributed staff.  The crux of detecting an insider threat lies in the ability to clearly define “normal” in the new scenario of work from home policy. User behaviour analysis can help a company better mitigate insider threats and protect its key resources when used with zero-trust access.