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Cyber crime

How to Protect Your Business Against Insider Threats

Niek Dekker
4 Min

Safeguarding against insider threats, such as malicious Accounts Payable (AP) staff defrauding your organisation, is a hugely challenging issue for business owners and managers. All businesses must ensure they are able to identify what an insider threat is, including all its various manifestations. Businesses must also ensure they are constantly protected by implementing a range of preventative measures.

According to Proofpoint, spending on insider threats is up 80% over the past 8 years. On average, organisations spend $184,548 annually on insider threat containment. In addition to this, organisations are also spending heavily on insider threat investigation and prevention.

In this blog, we’ll explore how you can protect your business against insider threats through strengthening internal controls and implementing tech solutions.

Defending Against Insider Threats

Insider Threat Training

To defend against the rise of internal threats, such as employee fraud, organisations are conducting insider threat awareness training. Every organisation should be aware of these dangers and act before it’s too late.

Implementing insider threat training helps your employees identify malicious practices that may be occurring within your organisation. This is crucial in enabling staff to better recognise and report suspicious behaviour.

For effective insider threat training, businesses should include:

  1. Defining what an insider threat is
  2. The different types of insider threats
  3. What techniques and tactics are used by malicious insiders
  4. How to spot malicious behaviour
  5. How to report a suspicious individual
  6. Insider threat simulations
  7. Learning about data security on devices and networks
  8. Why user privileges and permissions are important
  9. Policies around threat mitigation

To achieve a significant uplift in your organisation’s resilience against potential insider threats, the training program must be personalised and interactive. Such training will give staff confidence to recognise potential threats, as well as the ability to make critical decisions around reporting any suspected internal fraud.

Learn what it takes to develop a fraud awareness culture in your organisation.

Establishing Policies & Procedures

Although there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to creating an anti-fraud policy, you need to have a clear outline of the prevention, detection, protection, response and recovery steps. The Commonwealth Fraud Prevention Centre provides several warning signs to be mindful of when putting together a fraud prevention policy.

Businesses should start by clearly defining which stakeholders should collaborate to identify critical assets, security risk indicators, data sources, compliance requirements, privacy implications, communication protocols & training curriculums.

A comprehensive insider fraud mitigation policy must outline the following:

  • Definitions of an insider threat, unauthorised disclosure, classified information
  • Asset management and governance
  • Employee training and awareness
  • Cloud data protection
  • Prevention and detection processes
  • Data security controls
  • Situation analysis and mitigation
  • Incident response service
  • Threat reports

Implement these 3 key fraud prevention policies.

Managing Accounts & Assigning User Roles

Another way to combat insider threats is through the implementation of restricted user roles and managing access to sensitive data.

In every business, you must assign user roles where each employee has restricted access to sensitive information and limited account privileges. Restricting privileges should be implemented at both the executive and frontline employee level according to a ‘need-to-know‘ basis.

For example, an AP clerk may have access to low-level supplier data and reports. Whereas, the CFO will have access to all levels of supplier management data, reporting, customer setup, and more.

By implementing management procedures with documented and segregated requests and authorisations, you minimise the risk of internal threats, particularly fraud.

insider-threat-role-based-access-management

 

Source: Cloudflare

Implementing Password Best Practices

Every organisation must ensure its network, devices, applications and critical data are protected by strong, secure passwords. If your systems are not adequately protected, an insider could corrupt company data as a pretext for committing fraud.

In some cases, an employee might take advantage of exposed passwords in the office, guessing weak passwords or accessing data after they depart the business.

The following password best practices can help ensure no data is stolen or corrupted:

  • Create strong passwords that involve a combination of numbers, special characters, lower and upper case letters
  • Change passwords regularly – every 2-3 months is recommended
  • Set passwords to expire if they are not changed
  • Implement a procedure whenever an employee or user leaves the organisation (network access should be removed immediately)
  • For shared passwords, store passwords in a third-party password toll or secure password-protected location
  • Implement multi-factor authentication

Importantly, you should also ensure that any shared folders used by AP staff are password protected. This will allow your security team to identify who accessed the data in the folder should a breach occur.

How can Eftsure help?

Preventing insider threats, particularly internal fraud, is a huge challenge for businesses.

The threat is particularly acute when it comes to AP staff who have access to your organisation’s financial resources and know any loopholes in internal controls that may be exploited.

With Eftsure sitting on top of your accounting processes, you can identify and stop suspicious payments to illegitimate third parties. You also have a detailed audit trail, allowing you to investigate and take action against any malicious activities.

To learn more about Eftsure and how we can help your organisation stay protected from insider threats and internal fraud, contact us today.

The Essential Cyber Security Guide for CFOs
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