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Updated: Feb 8, 2024   |   Fergal Glynn

Insider threat software: What to look for when choosing a platform

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Protecting an IT environment from insider threats requires a comprehensive approach. Unfortunately, the issue is complicated by the need for an organization to make sensitive data available to a limited subset of privileged user accounts to maintain business operations. 

It’s almost impossible to totally lock down data resources without impacting the efficiency of a business. In this article, we’ll look at how to find the right insider threat software platform to minimize insider risk without compromising efficiency.

Ho‎w can you defend against insider threats?

Three people looking at a computer screen and having a discussion

‎Companies have to defend themselves against deliberate and accidental insider threats. Some of the defensive measures address both types of insider risk, while others are more focused on a specific group. 

Organizations should implement all the following measures to afford themselves the best protection from insider threats.

Develop a data handling policy

This essential step determines who can use specific types of data, when it can be used, and how it can be used. Ideally, the policy will be enforced to ensure there are no violations and that all data is used appropriately.

Train employees on the data handling policy

This step is meant to minimize the risk of accidental insider threats. Employees who understand how corporate data resources should be used will make fewer mistakes that present risk. Security awareness training may not be effective against intentional insider threats.

Monitor systems and personnel

Systems need to be monitored for signs of suspicious activity to detect insider threats. For example, repeated attempts to access restricted data may indicate a malicious insider. Alternatively, it might also indicate that more training is necessary for trusted employees. 

Personnel must also be monitored to ascertain if there are substantial risks of deliberate insider threats. Unfortunately, individuals who are suddenly burdened with financial responsibilities may try to compromise resources for personal gain.

Deploy insider threat software

Insider risk management software, specifically a data loss prevention (DLP) software solution, is instrumental in minimizing the risk of all types of insider threats. A DLP platform performs a variety of functions, the most important of which is monitoring user behavior for insider threat indicators and automatically prohibiting activities that violate the company’s data handling policy.

Ch‎oosing the right insider threat software platform

Laptop with a graphic overlay illustrating uploading data to the cloud

‎It’s essential to choose the right insider threat software platform to minimize the risks of intentional or unintentional violations of a company’s data handling policy and reduce the risk of data breaches. However, with the wide variety of solutions available in the market, making this selection can be challenging. 

You should strongly consider the following factors when making your decision to ensure the software you choose meets your expectations.

  • Ease of use - The software package you choose should be easy to use. You’re not trying to add complexity to the environment, you’re attempting to control insider threats. A platform that is easy to use will be more effective than one that is difficult and slows down productivity.
  • Simple installation - You want a platform that is easy to install across the entire IT environment. To be effective, all aspects of the infrastructure need to be monitored by the DLP solution.
  • Flexibility and adaptability - The platform should be adaptable so it aligns with your business requirements. Security teams need the ability to configure the tool so it takes defined actions when faced with user actions that violate the data handling policy.
  • Automated data classification - An effective tool can classify data as it is ingested into the environment so it immediately receives the level of protection it requires.
  • Cutting-edge technology - Look for a solution that is built with cutting-edge technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. These technologies enable the solution to act autonomously in real time to address data handling issues and prevent potential threats from becoming business-impacting problems.
  • Automation to enforce the data handling policy - Here’s the heart of a DLP solution. The tool must be able to automatically enforce your data handling policy to avoid accidental or deliberate insider threats. All attempts to misuse data should be prohibited and logged so the offending party can be identified.
  • Reinforced user training - A tool that continuously reinforces user training regarding data handling will go a long way toward preventing insider threats. Users should be notified when they violate the policy with information that helps reduce future occurrences of the issue.

Re‎veal checks all the boxes

‎When it comes to insider threat software, the Reveal platform by Next addresses all the important factors discussed above. It’s a cloud-native solution that is easy to use and supports fast deployment. It also includes next-gen endpoint agents, powered by machine learning, to classify data as it enters the environment.

Reveal stops data handling policy violations and takes action to protect data resources and intellectual property. It informs users when a DLP violation has occurred with timely and informative messages that builds security consciousness throughout the organization. Reveal even ensures that users make appropriate use of AI chatbots.

Start protecting your environment from the risks of insider threats today. Get in touch with the DLP experts at Next and give Reveal a test drive.

Fr‎equently asked questions
What is a insider threat program?

An insider threat program is a centralized and coordinated group of capabilities designed to detect and prevent the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information. It involves various measures such as employee monitoring, access controls, and regular insider threat risk assessments.

What is an example of an insider threat?

One example of an insider threat is an employee mistyping an email address and sending a sensitive business document to a competitor.

Another example is unknowingly or inadvertently clicking on a hyperlink that leads to a malicious website or downloads malware. Opening an attachment in a phishing email that contains a virus or other malicious software is also an example of an insider threat.

What are some signs that an individual may pose a deliberate insider threat?

Several signs may indicate that an individual poses an intentional insider threat. Employee behavior such as privilege abuse or repeatedly attempting to access restricted information may help to identify malicious insiders trying to steal data.

Managers should be aware of employees whose financial situation has suddenly changed and who may be desperate to compromise resources for personal gain. Disgruntled employees may also try to damage the business by causing a data breach or corrupting information.

Can a data handling policy be enforced manually?

No, you need an automated tool that continuously monitors data usage and restricts activities that violate the policy. The tool needs to take action each time a data element is accessed to determine if it complies with the policy.

Creating a data handling policy without automated enforcement is not an effective data protection method, and it does not help to limit internal threats.

How do machine learning and artificial intelligence strengthen a DLP platform?

Machine learning and artificial intelligence strengthen a DLP platform by continually updating baselines and identifying suspicious or prohibited activities. Over time, the platform improves its performance and makes more effective decisions when classifying new data.

The inclusion of ML and AI capabilities is virtually essential to handle the demands of a DLP tool.


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