Is your business protected from employee sabotage? Are you concerned with letting a key employee go for fear of reprisal? As a business owner, your job is to protect your company from threats. And, as hard as it may be to hear, one of the most persistent and concerning dangers is a threat from within.
An internal cyber threat is not a hypothetical scenario. It’s a sobering reality that can strike any organization, regardless of size or industry. Recent reports, including the 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon, paint a vivid picture of the trends in internal data breaches.
The landscape is stark for business owners looking to fire key employees as those who are bored, overworked, or harboring unresolved grievances are more likely to become the perpetrators of cybersabotage.
With such data, it’s clear that protecting your company against this insidious threat demands a multifaceted approach. Regular employee training, coupled with the active involvement of IT professionals (internal or external), is crucial. But by fostering a culture of security awareness and collaboration, you can strengthen defenses against insider threats and enhance your overall cybersecurity health.
In this blog, we will explore how a strong threat prevention strategy can help shield your business from employee sabotage.
Develop a Plan of Action
According to IBM, 60% of data breaches are carried out by insiders. That’s why a comprehensive plan of action is a vital part of any smart cyber threat prevention strategy. It has a pivotal role in ensuring the effectiveness, coordination, and adaptability of an organization’s cybersecurity efforts. Here’s why such a plan is essential:
- Strategic Alignment: A comprehensive plan aligns cybersecurity initiatives with your overall business goals. It ensures that cybersecurity measures are not implemented in isolation but are integrated into your company’s broader safety strategies.
- A Proactive Approach: It can also enable your organizations to take a proactive stance against cyber threats. By identifying vulnerabilities, assessing risks, and implementing preventive measures, your business can reduce its attack surface and minimize potential breaches.
- Coordination and Consistency: Without a plan, cybersecurity efforts may be fragmented, leading to inconsistencies and gaps in protection. A well-thought-out plan ensures that various security measures work together cohesively, enhancing overall security.
In short, a comprehensive plan of action is the foundation a solid cyber threat prevention strategy is built on. It ensures that cybersecurity efforts are strategic, integrated, and adaptable, allowing you to effectively safeguard your organization’s digital assets, reputation, and long-term success.
Enforce a User Termination Checklist
A user termination checklist is a comprehensive list of tasks and actions that need to be performed when a key employee is let go. It exists to ensure a smooth and secure transition when an employee, contractor, or user leaves your organization or no longer requires access to certain business resources.
The exact items on your user termination checklist can vary. Truly, it depends on your organization’s policies, the nature of the user’s role, the systems they have access to, and the consultation of either your internal IT department or an external IT specialist. Below are a few of the many items that you can include:
- Disable or deactivate user accounts in all relevant systems, applications, and platforms.
- Revoke physical access permissions (e.g., building entry, keycards).
- Disable VPN or remote access accounts.
- Disable or redirect the user’s email account.
- Transfer ownership of files and documents to appropriate individuals or teams.
- Disable physical access to office equipment.
- Revoke access from any third-party services or tools the user was using.
- Remove the user’s access from cloud platforms or external applications.
- Change passwords for shared accounts or services the user had access to.
- Review and update security policies, ensuring that no lingering permissions exist.
- Back up and secure any important data created or accessed by the user.
- Collect and secure company-owned hardware (laptops, phones, tablets).
- Monitor user accounts and systems for any unusual or unauthorized activity after termination.
- Conduct periodic audits to ensure all access has been properly revoked.
Remember, your user termination checklist should be tailored to your organization’s specific needs and security requirements. Regularly updating and reviewing the checklist will help ensure that your processes remain effective and up-to-date with any changes in technology or policies. If you are unsure about what to include, you can also consult with IT or cybersecurity professionals who can help guide you through the process.
Utilize Additional Applications, Tools, and Support
When it comes to safeguarding your company from potential employee sabotage and ensuring data protection, another essential aspect to consider is the effective utilization of additional applications, tools, and support mechanisms.
These resources not only reinforce your cybersecurity efforts but also ensure a proactive and comprehensive approach to mitigating risks associated with user terminations. With this, we’ll move beyond a user termination checklist & round out a solid cyber threats plan of action:
Adherence to the “Principle of Least Privilege”
A fundamental principle in cybersecurity is the “Principle of Least Privilege” (PoLP), which advocates granting users only the minimum level of access necessary to perform their roles effectively. By limiting access to critical systems and sensitive data, you reduce the potential for unauthorized use or sabotage by employees who are leaving the company.
Privileged Account Management (PAM) Software
PAM solutions enable you to manage and control privileged access to critical systems and applications. An important feature of PAM is the automated rotation of passwords at regular intervals, such as weekly. This practice ensures that even if a departing employee possesses the credentials, they become useless after the password changes.
Pro Password Manager
Implementing a professional password manager such as LastPass can be a game-changer in your cybersecurity strategy. It empowers you to create groups and assign permissions to those groups, thereby facilitating controlled access to various resources. This tool not only streamlines access management but also contributes to the overall security posture of your company.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
One of the strongest defenses against unauthorized access is the implementation of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). MFA requires users to provide multiple forms of verification before gaining access to systems or data. Enforcing MFA prevents password sharing and ensures that even if a password is compromised, an additional layer of verification is necessary, enhancing your company’s data protection.
Immediate User Termination Support
Having a dedicated 24/7 employee or team available to promptly implement the user termination plan is crucial. This ensures that when an immediate or unexpected termination occurs, access revocation and data security measures can be swiftly enacted.
Centralized Identity Management
Centralized identity management solutions, whether an on-premises server or cloud-based, play a pivotal role in maintaining control over user identities and access rights. These solutions often include Mobile Device Management (MDM) capabilities that enable remote wipe functionality. In case of a termination, the ability to remotely wipe company data from devices ensures that sensitive information remains secure.
By integrating these additional applications, tools, and support mechanisms into your user termination checklist, you demonstrate a commitment to protecting your company from employee sabotage and enhancing your cybersecurity efforts.
Strengthen Your Organization’s Security with ANAX
For modern business cybersecurity, where threats often lurk from within, a robust defense against insider threats has never been more critical.
By developing a solid cybersecurity plan of action, implementing a user termination checklist, and utilizing additional applications, tools, and support, your organization can thrive amidst the complexities of the digital age. For more information on how you can protect your organization — even from internal threats, contact us today!