7 Ways To Protect Your Network From Internal Threats

Since 2020, cybercrime rates and cybercrime damage costs have doubled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This dramatic increase in cybercrimes obliges companies to strengthen their cybersecurity policies, and procedures to handle upcoming cyber threats. Today, internal cybersecurity threats possess the highest risk to organizations.

The majority of data breaches happen due to human error, reckless employees, or fraudulent employee activities. Insider-related data breach costs can rise up to 17 million dollars annually. The worst part is insider threat-related incidents can happen every day. Companies should better be prepared for protecting their networks from internal threats by using the 7 ways below.

1. Adopt Multi-factor Authentication

The simplest way to solve the problem related to compromised employee accounts is to adopt a multi-factor authentication (MFA) tool. So, data theft won’t be a problem if the info is related to employee credentials. Because MFA has at least two other ways than passwords, and IDs to verify users’ identities before accepting their access request to your network. Simply verification methods demand unique characteristics that can’t be replicated by cyber criminals.

2. Use Email Filtering

Phishing emails are quite common, and by accident, employees can download infected attachments, and pose a threat to your network security. Keep in mind phishing emails will always target your employees if you don’t have tools to detect spam emails.

But, these tools can’t eliminate the risks associated with phishing attacks altogether. You still need to educate your employees about suspicious emails, false security alerts, or unreal offers that are coming from unknown sources.

3. Prohibit Transferring & Copywriting Data

Fraudulent employee activity is one of the core reasons behind data breaches associated with insider threats. By prohibiting data transferring to external email addresses, USBs, or outside any location of the company premises, you will be able to stop employees from leaking data on purpose, or unintentionally. So, restricting transferring and copywriting data is the least you can do to prevent malicious activities, but you still need more enhanced methods to deal with insider threats.

4. Put Session Timeouts

Setting session timeouts means that employees’ access will expire after a certain amount of time, so they will need to log in again. This is beneficial because any third-party entity or malicious insider can’t use others’ access to steal or leak confidential data because their session will end.

5. Prohibit Access to Vital Systems & Resources

The best practice to reduce the possibility of insider attacks is to prohibit access to vital systems and resources. This policy will keep your sensitive information, critical systems, and resources safe against insider threats.

Also, this will prevent cyber criminals from using employees’ access to perform their malicious goals. But, maintaining robust security in network spots that have vital systems and resources requires endless monitoring and surveillance. When you don’t have tools to detect suspicious behavior and activities, you can’t really know if the policy is working or not.

6. Apply Network Segmentation

Network segmentation is an effective way to mitigate internal security risks. Network segmentation is the procedure of separating a network into subnets and creating much smaller surface areas for upcoming cyber attacks. Also, with network segmentation, you can prohibit lateral movement between subnets, and separate vital systems and resources from the resources and applications that are widely used by employees.

But, while applying this procedure you should follow network segmentation best practices and avoid over & under segmenting, combine similar resources, and conduct regular audits. Over & under segmenting a network can either make your system vulnerable to attacks or make your system too complicated and difficult to protect. That’s why interconnecting similar resources is critical for not doing over & under segmentation.

Lastly, you should conduct regular network audits to see if network segmentation works properly or not. Regular audits can help you spot vulnerabilities or weaknesses in your network.

7. Consider Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) Solutions

If you want to keep insider security risks at the minimum you need a comprehensive approach for robust network security. That’s when you need to consider integrating Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solutions. Zero Trust framework offers enhanced network and end-point security. Also, it employs network segmentation, MFA, network monitoring, surveillance, and the least access privilege principle.

Zero Trust sees everyone is hostile and they can’t be trusted, so frequent authentication is required. This architecture can request authentication after a specific period of time or new resources are requested to access. Also, in the shed of least access privilege, Zero Trust controls and reduces employees’ access to resources and systems. This way, employees can’t access resources and systems above their access privileges.

On top of these, users’ behaviors and activities are strictly monitored by this framework, and Zero Trust continuously searches for unusual or suspicious activities of users so that an upcoming insider attack can be prevented from spreading.

Last Words

Insider security threats will always be present. Human error, employee negligence, and fraudulent employee activities can be named as the main internal security threats. To cope with these internal threats, you can use the 7 ways that are explained above to protect your network and establish robust security.