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The Extent of the Insider Threat

While on the face of it may not be so apparent, a common theme that is racing through the unending march of data thefts, breaches and disclosures is that of the insider threat.

In the conventional sense, an insider threat meant an individual who had access to privileged information within the organisation. In a classic scenario, one can visualise the cashier escaping with all the money. Today’s definition of an insider threat encompasses all privileged users who might be privy to certain kinds of classified data and the compromise of accounts to unlawfully get hold of such sensitive information.

To give a few examples that took place recently — in South Korea, over 45% of the credit cards in the nation were exposed at the Central Credit Bureau. In this case, it was reported that an insider clandestinely escaped with the data. The incident at Target is another eye opener. Accounts were exposed at a supplier who had permission to access the network at Target. Hereon, the entry into the network was leveraged and exclusive account information was stolen. What’s more, not only were the point of sale terminals endangered but back end depositories that contained e-mails and other important customer data were also stolen. And who can forget Edward Snowden? Snowden took advantage of all his influences and authorized user status to expose additional documents and run off with a host of data whose depths we are still reeling from.

The extent of insider threats continues to expand as new technologies are introduced; these include mobile technologies, big data, cloud services and more.

With regards to cloud services, the problems arise with individuals who have accessibility to information, the kind of infrastructure provided by the cloud provider, individuals who have access ability to the hardware, ambiguities surrounding admin roles, and various other additional threat vectors arising from a combination of these factors.

In the area of mobile technology, hackers are constantly looking to seize access to back-end data as organisations are battling with controlling secure access without compromising on productivity.

Big data brings along with it its own set of problems. There is minimal security controls integrated within big data environments, and the colossal amount of information that is present in the big data comprises private and sensitive information. When the data is used for security purposes, it becomes part of the solution. Since big data varies from organisation to organisation, getting skilful people for analysing the data as well as getting the right security experts to handle big data security can be a huge task as solutions for this kind of environment is not available ‘ready-made’.
Which brings us to — what are the solutions for these issues?

First and foremost it is important to focus on safeguarding classified information as a primary focus.
Although securing the perimeter is important, it is no longer relevant to today’s scenario as attacks cannot be warded off only on the basis of perimeter defences. Core defences must be added to directly around the data repositories and the areas within the network with the goal of ensuring that only permitted users can avail of the data and that the person in control solely understands which patterns of the data.

LockLizard PDF DRM software accomplishes all the factors required in safeguarding sensitive information. Access control is only given to those who have a ‘need to know’ access to data. Furthermore, LockLizard encrypts all classified data on Word files and PDF documents for added security. As robust document protection software, LockLizard is a highly effective solution that addresses numerous organisational security requirements on a common platform while keeping resource requirements to a minimum.

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