Study after study continues to reveal a fundamental truth about the shifting landscape
of IT security today—the biggest threat to proprietary systems and information
is not the traditional cyber criminal writing malicious code in a virtual location,
but rather, trusted employees.
Savvy administrators recognize that because end users are privy to an organization's
sensitive data, they represent a significant risk factor. However, mitigating
this threat is something that security pros continue to struggle with. While
no single, "silver bullet" solution exists, there are steps organizations
can take to ensure that corporate policies are effectively enforced and the
insider threat is neutralized.
Where the Risks Lie
Users represent a security risk for several reasons. Corporate boundaries continue
to expand as the number of mobile workers increase, which also ties in with
the convergence of personal and professional use of corporate endpoints. Laptops
and PCs are becoming more personal, loaded with non-business applications that
potentially expose an organization to spyware, keyloggers and other threats.
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There are also mounting threats that prey on end-user curiosity. Tactics include
Web site or email spoofing designed to trick employees into performing actions
detrimental to the organization's security or divulging confidential information.
What's more, employees are constantly moving between competitive organizations,
and competitors' angle to hire key personnel for their skills as much as for
the confidential information they can bring with them. Overall, the insider
threat—whether malicious or inadvertent—is something that cannot be
Safeguarding organizations against insiders with malicious intent requires
effectively enforcing data-access policies and auditing user activity with sensitive
and confidential data and systems. The stories that have surfaced about company
insiders stealing sensitive data worth millions—if not billions of dollars—is
a non-stop cycle. As a result, security administrators must proactively take
action to protect their organizations against these threats.