High-risk users, within the context of data security, are defined as users that could potentially turn into a damaging insider threat due to factors generally revolving around their data access permissions. While it is certainly true that not every high-risk user will eventually turn into a full-on insider threat, identifying and managing these users effectively should be a major priority for your insider risk management program. No organization has unlimited resources to work with, so it’s important to allocate the resources you do have smartly, prioritizing user activity monitoring based on level of risk. Here are some basic strategies to help you and your team identify and manage these high-risk users.
Identifying High-Risk Users
High-risk users tend to fall within one of two categories. The first, your privileged user base, should be fairly easy to identify if you’ve established a working access management program. In every organization, there will be users that require higher-level access to your data than others due to job responsibilities or rank. Studies have shown that privileged users pose the biggest security risk at a majority of corporations, so managing these users is crucial to successfully secure your data.
The second category is that of the vulnerable user base, who may be compromised by an outsider for various reasons – usually financial in nature. It is more difficult to identify these users because the tells and motivations aren’t always clear. However, with some training, your team will be able to monitor and identify these potential risks before a serious event occurs.
Managing High-Risk Users
Now that we’ve seen what makes someone a high-risk user, it’s time to strategize and develop protocols designed to manage these high-risk users and protect your corporate data.
- Monitor Activity Proactively: It’s a good idea to know exactly who your high-risk users are and what they are doing within your network on a daily basis. This baseline allows you to take a more proactive approach to monitoring activity.
- Auditing Privileges: One of the best practices that we recommend is to monitor and audit privileges frequently. The principle of least privilege is the standard through which you should determine how much access to open up to any particular user. This can take the form of role segmentation, time access limitation, and more.
- Employee Education: The Ponemon Cost of an Insider Threat report determined that 63% of insider incidents involved negligence in some form. The best way to prevent mistakes from happening is to ensure that your user base is fully trained on data management best practices both during onboarding and at frequent intervals.
- Activity Visibility: User and data activity monitoring are key tools in your kit that require visibility in order to be effective. So your organization should strive to gain visibility into user activities, especially those that a high-risk user might use to harm the organization, such as unauthorized cloud storage, moving data into portable storage, printing, and more.
Contact ITMG to Assess Your Current Capabilities and Develop Strategies and Protocols Designed to Help Your Company Mitigate Your Insider Risk
ITMG is an industry leader in helping organizations throughout the United States strengthen their insider risk management programs and secure sensitive data and intellectual property. Our team of bona fide experts has the real-world experience necessary to plan out and create holistic security solutions tailored to the special needs and risks in your industry. Contact ITMG today to learn more about how we can help! You can also visit our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages for more updates and insights into the world of insider risk management.