Hacker using laptop. Hacking the Internet.

By Isaac Kohen

You’ve been doing an excellent job so far getting your business off the ground and managing it. Seems like there is always something new that must be kept up with. In this case we’re talking about cybersecurity, specifically insider threats. Numerous experts and reports all indicate that insider threats still remain a top cybersecurity challenge, year over year. This means even if you have the best security suite protecting you from outside attackers, someone inside your company can be your greatest threat; including yourself! When it comes to insider threat no one poses a greater threat to the company than unaware or uncommitted owners.

Insider Threat Awareness & Best Practices

First let’s dispel the popular myth that hackers only go after larger targets and that small businesses are not relevant. This is false. When it comes to data, hackers do not discriminate. What’s important to these thieves is not the size of the business but the data it holds. While you may have even purchased a security suite, technology alone is not a solution to insider threat; as phishing incidents often demonstrate. The act of phishing which is simply tricking people into providing sensitive information with deceptive tactics, can bypass all security measures to keep insiders out. Having an up-to-date awareness about insider threats can do a lot to prevent these situations. Below are some of the cost-effective practices that you as a small business owner can implement.

Create an Insider Threat Program

One of the most effective measures an organization could take it to mitigate insider threat is the development of an insider threat program. An insider threat program is an organization wide effort that is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team. Each member should receive specialized insider awareness training. These programs are intended to detect, prevent, and respond to insider incidents. Establishing this program would coordinate departments to have an understanding of insider threat and form synchronized processes to counter it.

Anticipate Negative Incidents in the Work Environment

Turns out a healthy work environment is not just good for productivity but it helps to mitigate insider threats as well. As the leader of your organization your role here is the foundation of good relations between your employees and their managers. People, the insiders, in your company can become a threat if certain stresses develop in their lives. Such stresses can include personal financial issues, toxic work environment, or process frustration. Your goal as leader here is to anticipate negative incidents or environments and prevent them if you can. Being proactive and checking in on your employees about their work performance, health, and well-being will be rewarded with more loyalty in the long run.

Access Management & Monitoring Policies

When business owners implement new systems for employees to use they often do not take enough time to minimum needed access by role. Due to the many pressures a business faces they just get right to work. Threats from within increase as access to everything is left open for employees. If a disgruntled employee feels like they want to sabotage operations before they leave, they would have the ability to with unrestricted access to company databases. It is important to conduct periodic reviews to ensure each role has the minimum amount of privilege necessary to perform their job. When there is a negative incident, be very vigilant of attempted breaches and unusual user behavior.

With these few best practices in place you’ll be more prepared for insider threat than many companies. There is always much more to be done for security and as leader, it is up to you to ensure it happens.

Isaac Kohen is the founder and CEO of Teramind , an employee monitoring and insider threat prevention platform that detects, records, and prevents, malicious user behavior. Isaac can be reached at ikohen@teramind.co