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Monday June 5th 2017 | 17:32

Tackling the insider threat with Egress Switch

Organisations invest in data security software to prevent a data breach, because if a breach occurs the consequences can be severe, from damaged reputation and revenue to devaluing the business as a whole. Nonetheless, data breaches continue to become more prevalent. Last year for example, data breach incidents increased by 15%, and there was a 31% increase in the number of records breached.

But why?

Mistakes were made

It’s true that hacking and phishing pose a threat to the security of your data. Malicious outsiders can indeed cause havoc, but what about the insider threat? As our recent research demonstrates, data breaches caused by the actions, or inaction, of internal users are becoming much more common, but this increased risk continues to go underappreciated. Indeed, human error was the main cause of breaches occurring between October and December 2016.

Insider data breaches usually occur via accidental loss of data. To get an idea of the scale, the Breach Level Index Report states that nearly half of all breached records were the result of accidental loss, and that in total this amounts to 257,189,614 records.

Accidents happen, and the defining feature of accidental loss is just how unpredictable it is. Insider-related breaches are hard to defend against, if they are even noticed in the first place, but at the same time it is imperative that we do defend against it. A change of approach is needed.

Technology and users working together

Human error is the leading cause of these internal breaches, due to a lack of user training or a misunderstanding of what sensitive data entails. In addition, technology that professes to secure data automatically doesn’t educate users, and when it fails – and it does fail – users are left without the training they need.

The answer: use technology to educate users. Reducing the chance for mistakes is crucial, and so classifying data is essential. The right classification solution is one that works with the user in an intelligent, user-friendly way, helping them understand how to treat their data securely and compliantly.

This classification information should then integrate with secure data transfer technology to help users make good decisions in the real-world, so that they:

  • Send data to the right person
  • Appropriately secure data and manage access
  • Keep control of the data

Leverage your data, defend against the insider threat

Technology can also go further when it comes to protecting information and reducing risk. Use of analytics and intelligence can provide a vital picture of data sharing habits, further strengthening an organisation’s security strategy:

  • Analysing email activity helps you understand patterns between users and build a picture of data sharing habits. Leveraging this data can ensure users are sending data to the right person before they make a mistake, as well as enable compliance officers to address potential threats.
  • Monitoring end-user activity with machine learning and threat intelligence technology can deliver insights and improve how end-users classify, secure, share and manage access to sensitive data.

Data security that works for everyone

So despite the challenges, there is a way to protect your organisation from internal threats. Helping users understand how to treat sensitive data, and ensuring they send it to the right recipient while always being able to revoke that access, means organisations never relinquish control of their sensitive information. Leveraging intelligent analytics can further improve this process.

The most crucial approach for tackling the insider threat, though, is this:

Data security needs to be effective across every part of an organisation, across every method of data sharing and storage. Only flexible and intelligent technology can do this. The holistic approach to data security offered by the Switch platform provides user friendly, comprehensive security and analytics for tackling the insider threat.

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