With how strictly regulated today’s environment is, financial services organizations hold more than just your money. They have all sorts of important, vital personal information. Privacy legislations exist to make sure that these organizations do their job diligently in making sure all of this sensitive data is kept secure. With all the publicity around data breaches and security failures, we as individuals become all the more aware of how important and valuable our data is, and why it is so important to protect it.
Unfortunately, with our growing awareness, cybercriminals are also growing more and more aware of the sensitivity of our data, which is why financial organizations are now the prime targets for malicious cyberattacks. However, worrying about outsiders breaching their networks isn’t their only concern, and definitely not their largest. The most dangerous threat they could face is their own employees putting their data at risk.
The Potential for Damage
To reduce overall risk of breach, employees would be represented as the low-hanging fruit – that is, that it is easier to control the actions of their employees than to defend against attackers. Research shows that when it comes to the cybersecurity challenges faced by financial institutions, insider threat is cited by a good one-third of respondents as a major threat that has the potential to cause damage. The challenge of dealing with insider threat is a much larger one than that of external attackers, regardless of whether it is intentional or not. In fact, unlike outsider attacks which are always malicious in intent, insider risk has more nuance to it which makes gauging and mitigating it a more tedious and time-consuming process.
It is crucial for financial services organizations to start working on the risk posed by insiders and reduce the frequency of breach, because failing to do so could have catastrophic consequences. Before you can get to defense, you need to know what you have, where it is stored and why. When you determine these things, you’ll be able to identify what data is sensitive and how you want to protect it.
Of course, cybersecurity is a complex problem and there is no one answer, but the simplest solution to a problem like this would be to make sure your employees are educated. After all, with the amount of risk that falls in their hands, it is important that they understand the impact of their actions, and thus organizations should provide regular cybersecurity awareness training to their workers to make sure their sensitive information remains secure and protected. This could involve user training sessions or education programs. Users are the most important and the largest security resource any organization can have, so training them to be an asset and not a liability is the best way to keep insider threat to a minimum.
Of course, you can’t eliminate risks entirely, but by making sure employees are aware of risks and how to fight them, you can reduce them as much as possible.