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Internal IT Threats: How to Protect Your Business

May 04, 2021 BY DATAPRISE

Internal IT Threats: How to Protect Your Business

In the modern hybrid workplace, it’s more important than ever to be on the lookout for internal IT threat indicators. Insider threats come in many shapes and sizes, which makes preventing, identifying and resolving these types of attacks difficult without a managed security service provider at your disposal; some insider threat indicators are more apparent than others. 


Internal IT Threat Indicators: What Should You Look For? 

Internal IT threat indicators may become more prominent after an employee feels mistreated in some way. As defined by The Social Engineering Framework, an employee could become a malicious insider as a result of being overworked, underpaid, underappreciated, or passed up for a promotion. If that employee has privileged access to information, they can use those negative motivators to cause intentional damage.

Often, a disgruntled employee may exhibit some behavioral changes which can serve as internal threat indicators. Examples of these indicators include voicing disapproval about the company on social media or in the virtual workplace as well as isolating themselves from other employees.

Identifying disgruntled employees in a remote world adds additional complexity, which is why it is even more important for organizations to have the deep layers of security in place.


What Can I Do to Prevent Internal IT Threats? 

When it comes to information security risk management, there are several steps you can take that help align your organization with security industry best practices: 

  • Apply the principle of least privilege, which states that user accounts should have the least amount of access necessary for their jobs.
  • Document proper employee onboarding and offboarding procedures; offboarding procedures are especially important to ensure that former employees can no longer access company data.
  • Identify and inventory critical assets (e.g., data, processes, hardware) and ensure they are properly protected.
  • Conduct regular security awareness training to educate staff on insider and other cyber threats.
  • Institute 24x7 security monitoring to detect unusual outbound data traffic. 
  • Segment your network and separate critical data.


Depending on the individual’s situation, work strain and job pressure can also be internal IT threat indicators. There are also steps that your organization can take to help alleviate employee stress, including: 

  • Holding stress relief seminars to educate your staff on ways to manage work-related and personal stress.
  • Enforcing mandatory time off and job rotation, where possible.


When we think of modern IT cyber security threats, we often think of a distant hacker probing for security vulnerability gaps in our network, but we may not consider the threat down the hall or on the other side of a virtual meeting. Successful internal attacks are extremely damaging but implementing security best practices can help protect your environment.


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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2019 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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