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How to Limit Insider Threats

People are any company’s greatest asset. People build the systems, people run the systems, and people are responsible for keeping a computer network safe. People can also pose many types of threats – whether accidentally or intentionally. Because of this, it’s important to be aware of and limit insider threats in your organization.

We have a few ideas about how to do this. All of them are standard best practices in cybersecurity, so you may have heard them before, but here we also include the reasons why this matters.

Build trust. Keep building trust. Make it a culture.

Building trust is a common discussion for a reason. It is crucial to the survival of teams and organizations. Without it, communication is often fragmented and employees are more likely to become disgruntled. For leaders, this includes:

  • Clearly casting your company vision and communicating with employees. Setting the security culture with your actions.

  • Helping team members to see their role in the mission, and to see their role in security – whether their title is technology-related or not.

  • Listening when people provide feedback. Leaders who listen and collaborate with their teams are building relationships of trust.

Security culture has been a hot topic lately. This is because insider threats are very real. All of these practices above are designed to build trust and create a culture where the team’s ideas, customs, and social behaviors make a company more secure (definition thanks to Perry Carpenter and Ki Roer via the National Cybersecurity Alliance).

Carpenter and Roer say that security culture can be measured by:







And Responsibilities.

These terms lay out a process for engaging employee mindsets that lead to action.

User Training

We should not assume that every device user has the proper tools to stay safe online. In fact, 62% of users surveyed say they do not have access to cyber training. To limit insider threats, we must give the right tools and training to those insiders.

Cybersecurity training has been proven to increase user awareness and security behaviors. For example, 58% of participants surveyed report they are better at recognizing phishing messages, and 40% started using MFA (multi-factor authentication).


Separation of Duties

Separation of duties is a way to provide protection for everyone involved inside the organization. This ensures that no single person or group has full control over the network, so it protects the company.

The individuals within the organization are also protected from accusations of improper action, since accountability is provided and one person or team does not have complete control. Separating duties will ensure that business operations can continue smoothly if a team member departs or is on vacation.