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What are Insider Threats to SMBs?

Preava Prevent offers a solution to mitigate insider threats to SMBs in their email communications. Read on to discover ...


Preava Prevent offers a solution to mitigate insider threats to SMBs in their email communications. Read on to discover what insider threats to SMBs exist, and how to identify as well as prevent insider threats to SMBs.

Identify and prevent these 3 insider threats to SMBs

Insider threats to SMBs and major enterprises are on the rise. In 2020 alone, the Insider Threat Report from Cybersecurity Insiders found that 68% of organizations felt moderately to extremely vulnerable to insider threats.

Another 68% stated insider attacks were becoming more frequent. This includes actions taken by both:

  •  negligent insiders - ie. the accidental or unintentional misuse or destruction of data by employees;

  • and malicious insiders - meaning deliberate actions taken by insiders (employees or former employees), in order to harm the an organization.

Cyberthreats that impact businesses can include sophisticated hacking, malware, and phishing attacks. Users can misuse system privileges. It can even be something as simple as an employee working on an unsecured computer, opening a malicious file, or sending an email to the wrong recipient

This post will focus on SMBs and the 3 most common insider threats they face. Discover: What are insider threats to SMBs? How do you identify insider threats to SMBs? And most importantly, how do you prevent insider threats to SMBs?

worried businessman in a home office

1. Phishing attacks, malware, and ransomware

Topping the list of insider threats to SMBs are accidental breaches due to phishing, malware, or ransomware attacks. These attacks often occur when an attacker poses as a credible source to convince a user to click on a malicious link, download a malicious file, or grant access to sensitive information, account details, or usernames and passwords.

External threats have become extremely sophisticated in this regard, making it harder for employees to distinguish between reliable business contacts and bad actors. Attackers sometimes go to extreme lengths to appear legitimate, and when successful steal business account emails, distribute malware, or completely take over networks with ransomware.

This is where today’s IT teams as well as everybody on staff, executives and employees, need to be on guard. While part of the responsibility lies with the security team, much of it is in the hands of the network users. Each user must learn how to identify possible attacks or breaches of the system, so these can be immediately reported to mitigate threats to your company.

A single weak link in any team is enough for cyberattacks to succeed. Oftentimes, negligent insiders are a bigger threat to an organization’s  security posture than deliberate malice.

2. Weak passwords

Another major insider threat to SMBs is employees using weak, easily-guessed, or duplicate passwords. There seems to be an overall lack of awareness around the damage that weak passwords can truly cause. Even though bad practices are widespread, it’s vital that every user on the network uses strong and unguessable passwords that are unique from one service to the next.

Oftentimes, employees have multiple accounts across different cloud services, each housing sensitive data and financial information. Users should have unique, strong passwords for each service they use, and there also shouldn’t be any account sharing to mitigate threats.

a lock combination spelling out the word 'password'

One way for SMBs to ensure employees are following password safe practices is deploying 2-factor authentication. This can be implemented at an administrator level, and it is a reliable barrier against smaller-scale attacks.

It is also worth considering Business Password Management technologies. These help employees to manage their accounts, use strong and unique passwords, and provide multi-factor authentication. Security controls such as these can protect business accounts, even if one password is compromised. 

3. Orphaned accounts

This final insider threat is often overlooked: security teams ignoring orphaned accounts. In fact, many security teams might not deem them a risk at all. Orphaned accounts are however attack vectors for bad actors to get inside your organization, as nobody is actively keeping track of these accounts.

Orphaned accounts tend to happen in larger organizations with higher turnover, but they should also be a consideration for SMBs. Create a process to clean up internal and external system access whenever employees exit the company. It’s important not to overlook these employees and their system roles, even if they don’t have high-level user permissions.

Even with limited access rights, one bad actor can do serious damage to the entire network. Be sure your internal security teams are keeping up with cleanup, and that all user permission levels are up-to-date. 

Do more to defend against insider threats

There are a wide range of internal threats facing SMBs today, with these 3 among the most common. The only way to mitigate damage from these threats is with a comprehensive set of security tools, awareness training for all network users, and security teams with effective and innovative solutions. 

Tools for data loss prevention (DLP), strong endpoint security, along with email best practices, and routine audits of user accounts and privileges all help ensure security. Beyond this, there are many tools to help businesses take a more active role in preventing threats.

Preava Prevent is one of these tools, providing a DLP solution for Gmail for Business. With our technology, Preava helps defend against the insider threat of emails going to unintentional or unauthorized recipients. We want to help prevent employee-borne mistakes, and ensure your sensitive data never falls into the wrong hands.

businessman offering his hand

Learn more about Preava

To discover if Preava Prevent is right for your business, contact us today. You can count on our seasoned team of cybersecurity, privacy, and operational security experts to answer all your questions, introduce you to Preava, and book a demo of our solution for yourself.

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