September 9th 2020 – By Anna Cotton

Businesses Fear Insider Enabled Data Breaches

Originally published in Infosecurity Magazine

Businesses fear suffering insider enabled data breaches,  a survey of 500 IT professionals by Exonar found. 94% of respondents have experienced a data breach, and 79% were worried their organisation could be next.

In an email to Infosecurity, Niamh Muldoon, senior director of trust and security at OneLogin, said the fear associated with breaches stems from the security culture within the organisation, along with the security reporting structure.

“Having security teams in close dialogue with executive leadership, supporting the leadership to make informed risk-based decisions and driving the business strategy, including the technologies used, reduces this fear significantly,” she said.

“Secondly, not understanding information security, its components and principles drives fear and anxiety of the unknown, so having security education training, and developing awareness and consciousness of threats, will enable and empower the entire organization to act with a ‘security first’ mindset.

“Finally, recognizing the importance of access control to protect systems and data is a foundational level control that organizations can apply to reduce the risk of a data breach. Hand in hand with this is partnering with trusted identity and access control platform providers who can provide enterprises with that security expertise and industry leadership.”

In terms of what is causing the breaches, 40% of respondents to the Exonar survey said accidental employee incidents were to blame, compared to 21% who said it is external attackers. Asked if this is a case of businesses not having a handle on what leaves their organisations (either intentionally or accidentally), Sammy Migues, principal scientist at Synopsys, said insiders already have access and can leave with data invisibly, which might turn up somewhere embarrassing later.

Migues added: “Insiders make bad decisions to temporarily put data in the cloud without knowing how to secure it. Insiders are pretty sure it is okay to just tell a few people about that new thing that no one should know about. Insiders know exactly how to hurt the organisation if they want to. Between accidents and malicious intent, insiders are a major concern.”

Muldoon said: “Firstly, always remember your employees are your biggest information asset. Security is the biggest enabler supporting business moves forward, especially during times of uncertainty, and fostering and growing good working relationships with your organisation’s security team will help to bring diversity and inclusion to business strategy and decisions, while creating and maintaining highly-performing teams.

“Secondly, as the saying goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link, so working with an organisation to ensure access to systems and data is provisioned only on a need-to-know basis will go a long way. This is where working with a trusted identity and access control partner really benefits an organisation as a single access view of access for internally housed systems and/or cloud-based systems.”