Hackers! Hackers everywhere! Whenever a business experiences a data breach, one can’t help but think of a determined-looking computer hacker trying to pump key codes to access confidential files. We can’t help but think that they are the ones primarily responsible for every data breach or information leak.
Hackers are major players in an external threat. It is true that they can target your business’ protected data. But are hackers the only threat to data security? What about internal data breaches?
Hackers are not the ones solely responsible for every data breach experienced by companies. Employees too can breach sensitive business information.
Should you be alarmed by the possibility of an internal data breach? Of course, you should be. Internal threats are still one of the biggest threats to losing important business data, intentionally or not. Let’s take a look at what the internal threats to your data’s security are and why you should be alarmed.
What is an Internal Threat to data security?
It can be a misguided move for a business to exclusively focus its attention and resources towards warding off external threats only. Yes, hackers are always on the prowl for companies with vulnerable security, but disregarding internal threats can cause your business irreparable damages too.
Internal threats contribute to a potential loss or breach of data caused by internal actors such as employees, contractors, or even third-party vendors. Once an employee exposes sensitive data to untrustworthy parties who are not supposed to gain access to it, the internal threat can then be classified as an internal data breach.
Why should you consider Internal Threats on data security?
Keeping your business data safe is paramount to maintaining the confidence, trust, and satisfaction of your clients. Boosting security measures against external attacks can achieve this goal. But what about internal threats, should you consider taking action against it?
Let’s take a look at what the numbers say. In a 2015 report on security and data breach, internal threats contributed 43% on the overall factors causing data breach. 22% was caused by intentionally breaking data security while the other 21% was caused unintentionally. In another 2017 report by Verizon, 25% of data breach incidents can be attributed to internal actors.
Internal threats are worth taking into account. Every business must be able to identify internal threats at the earliest opportunity. The consequences of ignoring the capabilities of internal actors breaching data security can be a huge price to pay.
How can Internal Threats affect your data security?
Internal threats occur within the business organization. It doesn’t stem from an outside attack or a cyber hacking. You should keep in mind that internal actors do not necessarily need to hack into your business system since they already have the privilege of accessing it. Here are some of the ways on how internal threats can affect your data security and cause a data breach:
- Internal actors such as employees are exposed to vast sources of information.
- Internal actors can put the security of your business at risk intentionally or unintentionally.
- An unhappy or disgruntled employee can use his/her privileged access to leak important information.
- A former employee can still use his knowledge on the workings of the company to circumvent its data security.
- A terminated employee can steal important or confidential company data and hand it over to your competitor.
- An untrained or irresponsible employee can fail to comply with the security guidelines set by the company.
- Any of the abovementioned internal actors can accidentally cause data breach through sending a sensitive business-related message or an attachment to the wrong person, responding to phishing tactics, misplacing USB device or even laptop with unsecured information, and more.
Internal Threats as an Alarming Cause of a Data Breach
Internal threats exist within every business organization. We’re not saying that you should not trust the people you work with, but rather we encourage you to nurture trustworthiness within the organization.
With that said, it is also better to create security policies and get data security solutions. Identify the threats and take precautionary measures against internal data breach. Balancing between fortifying your business against internal and external data breach may not be an easy task, but it is a task that must be done.