Although many companies believe the biggest cybersecurity threat is external, internal employees and can pose just as big of a threat. In fact, because they have such open access to the company’s most important data, they can actually pose a much bigger threat.
There are three main types of employees whose actions can lead to a data breach:
Malicious Intent: Some attacks and breaches are the results of employees with a grudge or a different agenda. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to spot these types of employees, current or former, due to their inside knowledge of the security system.
Human Error: The actions of innocent employees can cause as much damage as malicious hackers. These actions can include things like losing cell phones, misplacing important information, or giving out information to the wrong person. These actions are unintentional, but can have monumental consequences for the organization.
Carelessness: If an employee is lacking the proper technical knowledge, it can be easy for her or him to ignore security warnings or not take action quickly enough. In doing this, a breach can happen that could have easily been prevented had the employee been trained on what action should be taken
If an attack is caused by accident or negligence, your company should take this as a warning sign that your cybersecurity training is not as good as it should be. Proper corporate training is necessary for your employees so that they understand not only how to avoid making the mistake of falling for a scam, but also what to look for and exactly how to prevent those mistakes from happening.
Likewise, whenever employees leave your company, for any reason, it’s important to have protocols in place to lock them out of all computer systems. That could entail shutting down their company email or changing passwords they were privy to. You wouldn’t send a former employee out the door with a key to the safe, nor should you leave the digital doors open to a potentially disgruntled ex-employee.
Author Bio: Anthony R. Grijalva, Jr. is the EVP of marketing at G&A Partners, a human resource consulting firm, where he leads all demand generation and brand awareness activities for the company. Anthony is a graduate of University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business.