DLP: Internal vs External Threats

DLP: Internal vs External Threats

What’s the biggest threat facing your business? It’s a big question and most likely one you’ve given a lot of thought to. 

The World Economic Forum recently put out a report that highlighted the top business risks in various regions throughout the world. When it came to the Top 10 risks across all regions, two stood out: Cyberattacks, and Data Fraud or Theft.

These threats face all businesses, across the globe, all the time. Join us as we explore the different types of data breaches – including internal and external threats – and what you can do right now to protect yourself against these threat vectors. 

Types Of Data Loss

There are many types of data loss. Generally, they can be broken down into the following:

  • External penetration
  • Insider exfiltration
  • Data on the move
  • Physical theft
  • Negligence or error
  • Accidental exposure
  • Unauthorized access

External penetration

Pretty self-explanatory; someone from outside of your organization gains access to your data.

Insider exfiltration

In this case, someone from within your organization manages to remove sensitive information from within the company’s systems.

Data on the move

Data on the move (as opposed to data at rest or data in use) is generally more vulnerable to interception. 

Physical theft

This could be the theft of a laptop or USB drive. 

Negligence or error

For example, if information is not backed up correctly.

Accidental exposure

A recent example is where millions of Facebook user names and phone numbers were exposed by a server with no password.

Unauthorized access

Someone without the necessary authorization levels or credentials gains access to data. 

How A Data Breach Occurs

When assessing risk, and the response required, it helps to map out the most likely ways that the risks are going to occur. When it comes to more general data loss and a specific data breach, there are 6 main ways they’re likely to occur, according to Verizon. 

  1. Criminal hacking
  2. Malware
  3. Human error
  4. Social engineering
  5. Privilege misuse 
  6. Physical Actions

 

  1. Criminal hacking

This ranges from complex government-sponsored attacks to something as simple as credential theft. In many organizations, if credentials are compromised and used by a bad actor, that person or group can access almost any data stored by the compromised organization. 

  1. Malware

Easily deployed via phishing emails for example, malware – including ransomware – can play havoc with systems it infects. Malware has also been known to remain within an organization for months without being picked up – allowing criminals free reign to use organizational data as they wish.

  1. Human error

According to Verizon, around one in five incidents of data breach or data loss, or unauthorized access, was the result of an error made by an employee. 

This could be sending information to the wrong person, or not correctly setting up and configuring security access to sensitive information. 

  1. Social engineering

Again generally perpetrated via email, social engineering often directs users to a dummy website of a well-known brand, such as Microsoft, Apple or even the company’s own intranet. The employee unknowingly gives over their login details for instance, and it’s game over.

  1. Privilege misuse 

This could be when information is not treated correctly – for example when sensitive information is sent using private email addresses or free email clients – or when non-authorized employees access information they’re not supposed to (even in error).

  1. Physical actions 

This includes theft or destruction of physical devices that hold information.

Generally, the threats that most organizations want to address most urgently can be categorized into internal threats and external threats.

Internal Threats

In April 2012, a disaffected Dell employee working the CIA began downloading classified documents. According to U.S. officials, a total of 200,000 sensitive documents were taken and then leaked, by a young man named Edward Snowden. 

Internal threats, or insider threats, are some of the most difficult to guard against. People can be motivated by politics, monetary gain, or any number of other motivations to steal, leak or destroy data. 

As in the Snowden case, sometimes it’s employees with authorization that are the ones stealing data. In any event, insider threats are a serious risk to any business. One thinks one can trust all employees, but unfortunately, history has shown that it’s not always the case. 

External Threats

Picture the following scenario: it’s Friday afternoon, half the office has left already and the other half are already planning their weekend activities. You get an email from a colleague. It’s a “breaking news” piece by one of the country’s largest publications. Your customers’ details have been leaked, and they’re available for sale on the dark web. The phones start ringing…

This type of scenario is a lot more common that it should be. Some of the world’s best-known companies have been affected, from Marriott to Yahoo. 

Malicious actors will target any size company. Customer data, credit card information, and other data sources will be analyzed and any vulnerabilities seized upon. Unfortunately, by the time the breach has been discovered, it’s already too late.

The Best DLP Solution

A Data Loss Prevention solution is how you protect your data against all these threats. The best DLP solution will guard against both internal and external threats, and be constantly on guard against any attempts to access your data. 

The best DLP solutions will be automated, and easy to set up and maintain. They also should not interfere with employee productivity. For example, you can always go ahead and put passwords and 2FA on everything – but this will prevent you team from doing their work.

DLP And Protecting Against Data Loss

ITsMine’s Beyond DLP™️ is a leading Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solution used by organizations to protect against internal and external threats automatically. The ITsMine solution monitors, protects and verifies information, using a proactive approach to protect data within company boundaries and beyond.

In addition, the solution offers the following unique benefits:

Plug & play

AI-based solution automatically protects against internal and external threats

Fully transparent

Zero inline network appliances or endpoint agents needed on employee devices

No Impact On Employee productivity

No effect on employee productivity, while real-time education keeps them aware

Meet regulations

Meets top regulation requirements such as GDPR, CCPA, PCI, and HIPAA.

When it comes to the biggest risks to your organization, tackle the easiest one first. Get ITsMine’s Beyond DLP™️ in place and protect data within company boundaries and beyond. 

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