Cybersecurity Threats From Within

Joe Weinlick
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Businesses today face a huge range of cybersecurity threats, so security professionals must be on their guard against a range of innovative tactics that criminals use to get their hands on valuable company data. In many cases, the biggest threat does not come from an outside the organization, but from a worker employed by the company. As a result, companies must take action to guard against insider threats.

Research suggests that insider threats are responsible for between 60 and 75 percent of data breaches. The cost per incident can range from $100,000 to $500,000, which means that companies have a clear financial incentive to address this type of cybersecurity threat.

While 90 percent of organizations feel vulnerable to insider attacks, many companies do not know how to tackle cybersecurity threats that come from within. The first step in addressing this deficiency is to understand the types of insiders that can cause problems, along with their motivations for compromising the security of the company's data.

Insiders include not only employees, but also third-party contractors, former employees who still have access to the company networks and business partners. They also include privileged IT users and managers who have administrative access on the network. Companies must consider all these groups of people when designing strategies to combat insider cybersecurity threats.

Many cybersecurity threats arise from the sheer carelessness of employees. By failing to follow or understand the company's cybersecurity policies, employees can accidentally expose sensitive data. Better training that teaches employees about the importance of cybersecurity can help to overcome this problem.

In other cases, insiders who pose cybersecurity threats often have malicious intent. Some hope to gain a financial or business advantage by stealing data, while others simply want to get back at the company for a grievance that has not been properly resolved. To protect their data, companies must take action to protect against both careless and malicious employee actions. They must put in place solid security policies, monitor employee activities and ensure that employees do not have access to sensitive data if they do not need it to carry out their roles within the organization.

All types of businesses are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. While financial and healthcare organizations have long been aware of the need to protect their data, sectors such as manufacturing lag behind when it comes to cybersecurity awareness. These businesses need to learn about the dangers posed by insider attacks and put policies in place to protect company and customer data.

In today's digital age, businesses in all sectors must protect themselves against both outsider and insider cybersecurity threats. Employee training and robust company security policies can help to reduce the risk of insider actions that may lead to a data breach.

Photo courtesy of Richard Patterson at


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