A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
This proverb emphasizes the significance and consequence of a human error in cybersecurity. Every employee represents a link, and that makes a lot of potential weak points. It is the main reason why insider threat awareness is so critical in the organization.
Unfortunately, the sudden change to mass remote working culture due to pandemics initiated a challenge for cybersecurity teams. Now that organizations are adjusting to a hybrid mixture of home and office-based work for most employees. Insider threats are becoming a serious concern amongst businesses. As insider threat statistics show, these occurrences have been rising, and an overwhelming number of organizations are not prepared to tackle them.
According to insider threat statistics, there is a huge hike in insider threats up to 47% between 2018 and 2020. Cybersecurity Insiders report 2021 also shows that 57% of organizations experienced insider threats frequently over the past 12 months. It is a challenge that we can not ignore anymore.
Applying some of the best insider threat prevention systems will, of course, help but educating employees about these issues is crucial, especially when the enemy is right inside your backyard. In this article, we will discuss what insider threat awareness is? What is the importance? And How to reduce insider threats?
WHAT IS INSIDER THREAT AWARENESS?
Companies go through lots of effort to ensure the safety of sensitive data from insider threats and attacks. And then, an employee emails financial details to the wrong recipient by mistake or ignores a policy because it may seem inconvenient. Sounds familiar?
To bypass such incidents, you need to have a cybersecurity system and educate employees on the security risks of their actions. Insider threat awareness refers to educating employees about insider-caused security risks and threats and the attentiveness of employees to these threats.
According to some insider threat cybersecurity statistics, It is one of the essential pillars of the human-centric approach to cybersecurity. This strategy helps build a cybersecurity culture in the organization and shifts the attention of security officers from machines and software to people. But one question arises: how to reduce insider threats? Before knowing about the best practices, let’s discuss the importance of insider threats awareness.
WHY IS THE INSIDER THREAT AWARENESS IMPORTANT?
Educating employees about insider threats enhance the cybersecurity of an organization because they:
- SUPPORT IMPLEMENTED SECURITY TOOLS AND PROTOCOLS:
Employee activity monitoring, access constraints, and strict password management protocols can emphasize inconvenience for employees if they don’t understand the reasons to implement these methods. Sometimes, they might feel that employers do not have faith in them and look for an opportunity to deceive the cybersecurity system. The Employees who are aware of insider threats are more responsive to changes in security procedures and the implementation of new tools.
- ALWAYS FOLLOW CYBERSECURITY RULES:
According to the Ponemon Institute, 63% of insider threats are induced by employee or contractor carelessness. Raising awareness using samples and attesting to the possible consequences of inattentive mistakes makes employees and contractors more careful and reduces security threats.
- ARE CAUTIOUS ABOUT INSIDER THREATS:
When employees are aware of specific insider threat indicators, the possibility of noticing them increases, some alerts raised by employees may surely be wrong. But on the bright side, employees can recognize suspicious activity even before software does.
- HELP TO IMPROVE THE CYBERSECURITY SYSTEM:
Employees who interact with cybersecurity tools definitely know the way to trick them. If employees realize the possible consequences of abusing such cybersecurity loopholes, they will provide valuable insights on improving the current system.
THE BEST PRACTICES FOR CONDUCTING EFFECTIVE INSIDER THREAT AWARENESS TRAINING:
Insider threat awareness training is crucial for companies to achieve compliance. Following are the best practices for insider threat awareness training:
#1 SET THE AUDIENCE & SCOPE OF TRAINING:
Before starting an insider threat awareness program, you need to determine who you need to educate. Different types of employees need distinct training. Regular users need a general comprehension of insider threats and hazards, while system administrators and security officers require an in-depth comprehension.
Also, define which types of security events are most obvious in your organization. You can also prepare each user department depending on the most common breaches. Then, focus the training on extensive user errors or security rule violations. Make sure employees understand why these rules are crucial and the consequences of violating them.
#2 DETERMINE THE TYPE OF TRAINING:
There are three common practices to administer insider threat awareness training. Each requires a different amount of resources and has different goals. Combining these training programs according to your requirements can be more efficient.
- TRAINING WITH AN INSTRUCTOR:
Training with an instructor can be beneficial for employees that don’t know much about insider threats. An instructor can modify the training course to the audience, respond to questions, and confirm that the audience truly gets the sense of insider threat protection.
This type of training requires a lot of time and effort. You can prepare an instructor or hire one and set a group meeting with employees that need training.
- TRAINING WITH SOFTWARE:
This method includes tests, quizzes, and advanced simulations that help employees get practical knowledge of insider threat protection. This training method is beneficial for the employees who already have an understanding of insider threats.
Resources required in software-based training are less compared to the other methods. There are various free and paid tools available in the market. Also, group meetings are not required, as each employee can pass the tests at their convenience.
- TRAINING WITH DOCUMENTATION:
This method requires the use of notes, instructions, mailouts, etc. It is suitable for employees that already have a deep understanding of insider threat protection and only need to learn about new types of threats.
The key challenge here is preparing documentation for such training. It requires extensive research and attention to detail.
#3 MAKE THE TRAINING PROCESS ENGAGING AND RELEVANT:
Making the training process engaging is vital because it can distract the employees from their tasks. If employees find the training irrelevant, they might see it as another way to kill time. If the training course is not engaging or has nothing similar to their daily methods, they might not learn anything from it. There are several ideas to indulge employees in the educational process:
- Try not to use non proprietary materials for insider threat awareness training.
- Add engaging and visual content: images, videos, articles, quizzes, etc.
- Try to create scenarios and deliver practical knowledge. Explain how insider threats and not following cybersecurity protocols may affect them.
- Develop relevant models of insider threats and their consequences.
Analyzing examples of cybersecurity incidents that have already happened in the organization is the best way to illustrate the importance of insider threat protection and teach employees basic dos and don’ts.
#4 CREATE AN ENCOURAGING ENVIRONMENT:
Creating a friendly and encouraging environment is crucial for insider threat discussion. Asking questions and making mistakes is an essential part of any learning process. If employees are not comfortable, they might not ask many questions and training would be of no use.
Try to make an environment where employees are comfortable to ask anything about insider threats during or after the training. Also, try to solve their queries in the best possible ways. If any employee does not pass the test, don’t punish them. It could lead to various complications.
After training, equip employees with contact information of a person they can reach out to if they have added questions or notice something suspicious.
#5 SIMULATE AN INSIDER ATTACK:
It is the final stage of the training where you can see what employees have learned. By simulating an insider attack, you can check their knowledge and skills. Usually, training sequences are checked with tests or interviews. But it will be more efficient to carry out an experiment and see how your employees will respond during a cybersecurity incident after having the training.
You can perform one or several bogus attacks with your IT team: send out a phishing email, attempt to use social communications to gain employee credentials, ask them to share sensitive data, etc. Then analyze the results, mistakes, and reasons behind those mistakes.
Don’t expect to achieve the perfect results. There is always someone who unwittingly opens a phishing letter or tries to visit a prohibited website. But the goal of insider threat awareness training is to reduce the number of people to a minimum who make such errors.
#6 MONITOR THEIR DAILY ACTIVITIES:
You need to know that the training program is effective and employees are productive, efficient, and aware of the threats. You have to monitor their daily activities. You need an employee monitoring system such as EmpMonitor, which can ensure the safety of your business data. And also provide crucial details about employees’ productivity, efficiency, and other activities during office hours.
EmpMonitor employee monitoring software provides the ability to track down every activity of your remote workers. Also, it has an alert-based feature that notifies you about any insider activity that may harm the productivity of your business. EmpMonitor is the all-in-one cloud-based employee monitoring solution for businesses. Here are the key features!
- Timesheet Management
- Productivity Measurement
- Keystroke Logger
- Stealth Mode
- Automated Screenshot Monitoring
- Employee Engagement Details
- Project Management
- Activity Report Generation and Analytics
#7 GET READY FOR THE NEXT TRAINING:
You need to remember that it is a never-ending process. A single training can not provide a long-lasting effect. Employees might easily forget what they have learned. You always need to make sure that employees are aware of the new and advanced threats. To keep a high level of awareness, it will be best to make employee training a regular event. It will help employees be up to date with new security threats and keep an eye open for suspicious activity.
Following are the best practices to prepare for the next awareness training:
- Analyze the previous results and find out the area that needs improvement in the training program.
- Add updated insider threat indicators and guides.
- Update data on the status of insider threat prevention in your organization.
- Prepare new methods to test the success of the training.
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In this article, we discussed why insider threat awareness is crucial for building an effective cybersecurity culture in your organization? Knowing the nature and the consequences of insider threats enables employees to make more trustworthy choices and overcome the number of cybersecurity mistakes they make.
To establish a strong cybersecurity culture in your company. It is essential to conduct an insider threat awareness training program. It assists you to educate employees, make them understand the true significance of insider threat protection measures, and improve employee behavior. Security awareness training is also a necessity of many IT-related laws, regulations, and standards.
With the help of EmpMonitor, you can both protect your organization from insider threats and boost the productivity and efficiency of employees. And don’t forget to share your valuable thoughts in the comment section below!
Originally Published On: EmpMonitor