You’ve built up your business and over the years and have started to employ more and more people.

Then one of those employees decides to leave and start their own competitive business, taking important data from your server to give them a head start. Or a disgruntled employee provides a rival business with your trade secrets. This kind of ‘insider threat’ is becoming more and more common. Despite contracts outlining that employees can’t go after your clients or use your business information can you prove it or stop them from doing so?

That’s where your I.T consultant can turn out to be a P.I.

As data and technology are essential in business and work, and with these types of internal threats on the rise, it is important that businesses consider internal IT security as well as external.

So firstly, what is classed as an insider threat?

When malicious activity against a business comes from the people within. This can be employees or contractor who have access to applications, databases and the network.

Are insider threats just theft of information?

Mostly, but can also include sabotage and fraud. Basically, insiders who abuse their access rights to information the business holds.

How could I potentially stop an insider threat?

Motivations are very different for people inside your business. So, as motivations are different, so is how to stop it.

There may be an employee or contractor who is actively looking to steal data or disrupt your business. For example, someone looking to advance their career or someone looking to upset their current employer in some way.

The other way an insider threat may happen is simply an employee who doesn’t follow correct IT procedures, so it is considered negligent. A simple example of this is someone who leaves their computer without logging out or doesn’t change their password when instructed to.

At Greystone, we ensure that we detail proper procedures that the whole company has to adhere too, that ensure straight from the start, employees manage your IT system securely.

How can I find out if someone has stolen my information?

Your IT consultancy can put systems in place to ensure proactive monitoring and alerting that will notify them if there are any attempts to hack into certain systems and accounts. Then your IT consultant could swiftly take action to protect or shut down the areas of the business that are compromised.

Detailed audit logging of activity like file access and emails can to used to track what staff and contractors are accessing and potentially be used in investigations.

A further system that can be put in place is DLP (Data Loss Prevention). A technology that your IT consultancy can put into place to help monitor and block certain information from leaving the business. Which is helpful if you have someone leaving to starting a rival business.

Finally, your IT consultancy can install an Employee Monitoring System, which can track what staff are accessing and alert them if they try to remove information from an organisation.

Greystone: Making sense of IT and software solutions